This is the personal narrative that I am working on alongside my students in our first unit. It’s a work in progress. We’ll be publishing by the end of the week!
Ring. Ring. Ring. I saw Jackie flash across the screen. Why is she calling me? What does she want? She only calls when she wants something.
“Hello.” I answered.
“Guess what, Jennie?!?!”
“What?” I was surprised at her excited tone. What could it be?
“I finished Twilight already!”
“The book? Didn’t you just start it the other day?” That couldn’t be right. She had barely finished a book in her life, let alone one for fun…and only in a few days!
“Yes. I couldn’t stop reading. I was picturing Bella and Edward in my head as I was reading- since I knew what they looked like from the trailers.”
“Wow…Wait, you didn’t usually see pictures in your head? With other books?”
That was the first time I truly realized that the reason I loved reading was the movie that was happening in my mind as I read. Jackie never had that before. But because of the movie trailers out for Twilight, she saw the “mind movie” and she enjoyed reading.
Because of this realization, visualizing became a much more significant part of my reading instruction.
The book changed everything for Jackie as a reader. The book changed everything for me as a teacher.
Trying out some poetry in preparation for our poetry writing unit:
What if there was no CCRAP test?
I might get to teach students what they need,
without the pressure of this test
in the background of my mind.
What if my worth as an educator
wasn’t decided by a standardized test?
I could stress less, smile more.
I could make a bigger difference.
What if there was no CCRAP test?
I would not be sitting here dreading going to school
Dreading the next few weeks of testing
And everything that goes along with it.
What if educators made the decisions?
There would be no CCRAP test.
Dear First Year Teachers,
I have never been able to complete a letter to you newbies. I have tried, but never got past drafting. This is how my letter started last summer (it was still in my unpublished posts):
Dear First-Year Teacher,
Congratulations! Your first year of being a teacher will be upon you very soon. I am sure you are full of emotions. If your emotions are anything like in Inside Out (which I suggest you see before the start of the year), I am pretty sure that Fear is at the control panel most of the time. Don’t worry, it won’t always be that way. Joy will be upfront quite often.
Be sure to ask questions.
And that is as far as I got before I couldn’t decide what to else to say. Everything in that first draft is true. And there is sooooo much more…I will try to keep it short and sweet. I know that there is a lot that you need to know, but I also know that you won’t remember most of what people tell you!
Ask for help.
Listen to your students.
Save resources and advice somewhere because you aren’t going to remember it once the school year starts. But, later after things settle down, you will know where to look to find it and you will be better ready to decide if it is useful to you.
When people start telling you more than you can handle, tune them out. Smile, nod, and say “Thank you.” You aren’t ready for what they are saying, and that is perfectly fine.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
I have so much to be thankful for, including Michelle’s Big Time Literacy Blogging Challenge and today’s “Gratitude Lately” prompt.
“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” – Robert Braathe
I am grateful to the very special group of third graders I had this past year. With all of the hate and violence across our country and the world this summer, thinking about these children that are the future of our country gives me hope.
On a similar note, I am grateful for the opportunity to listen to our First Lady’s speech tonight at the DNC. The intro video brought tears to my eyes. One young woman said, “She’s not just a woman standing next to a man.” And a young man says, “She is making her own place in history.” And then Michelle Obama gave an incredible speech that you just need to hear if you haven’t already. Thank you, Michelle Obama!
I am thankful that the project I wrote about last July, my son’s Minecraft room, is almost complete. I procrastinated for too long, but tonight I wrapped up that wall and will never again make a promise to stencil anything! However, the painting is done and the new carpet comes tomorrow. Thank goodness!
Last, but not least, I am thankful for my amazing family and every second I get to spend with my son.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
I don’t think it exists. Nope. It is a dream that we are always chasing, like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I realize this sounds very pessimistic, but I believe teacher balance does not exist. (Stick with me here, this isn’t a totally negative post…)
Balance doesn’t and can’t exist if you are dedicated to both your life outside of education and your role as an educator. There is no way to balance two things that require so much passion, so much of you.
At different points in the year, even within a week or a day, the scale tips one way or the other. Tips to School. Noooo, I have not been listening enough to my son. I haven’t seen my sister in weeks. Tips to Home. I haven’t done enough prep work for this unit and now I’m floundering, I need to spend time on this over the weekend. Tips back to School.
Balance doesn’t exist, not the balance we strive to reach. If we accept this reality, if we pay attention to the tipping scale and if we recognize when it has gone too far one way, maybe then we can find happiness, health and everything else we need…
A few tips I have found helpful…
- Don’t be afraid to say “I’m flattered that you asked, but no thank-you. I just can’t add anything else to my plate right now.” (It goes back to paying attention to the tipping scale.)
- Don’t set up your phone to get work emails automatically. If you have a smart phone, you can access your email through the internet, if you need to, when you are ready. Trust me it helps!
♥ Not only do I love the emails I have been getting from a student all summer, but one was about poop emojis! They are my favorite and she knows it!
♥ Spending time with my Best Friend!
♥ My 2016-2017 Planner and Coloring Book in one! Genius!
♥ Museum of Science and Industry with Troy
We spent over two hours in the Lego Exhibit! Troy was in heaven. My favorite is always Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle.
♥ Technically, It’s Not My Fault
This is an amazing book of concrete poems. Even the cover is a concrete poem. They are funny, engaging, and thoughtful. This is going to be part of my library in the fall!
♥ We have a dog! A sweet two year old Chihuahua mix named Milo!
♥ I found Milo online and Troy and I went to meet him on Monday. We waited in the visiting room and one of the staff at the shelter brought in Milo. The staff member said it might take him a little bit to warm up to new people, but Milo jumped straight up to the bench. He climbed on Troy’s lap and started licking his face. It was love!
♥ I created writers this past year! I miss them like crazy, but I love the emails I have been getting! (Pictures were included with each email/story!)