Sunday, September 16, 2012

Don't Believe Everything You See on T.V.

This is the type of shenanigans that occurs when you let your children watch The Pioneer Woman Cooks with you.  I really wish I could draw a Venn diagram here to compare and contrast the two cookie making experiences.  (If that last sentence doesn't prove I teach third grade, I don't know what will. ) 


Pioneer Woman
Her cookie making included a sunlit  kitchen with happy children and dough, that you know, that worked. The cookies were beautiful and sparkly with homemade icing, colored sugars and edible gems. 

My cookie making included two children that did not want help and then got mad when a finger fell off their hand. Also, I had no decorations in the pantry, so there was no decorating involved. 


*The cookies were pretty good, though.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weirdness in The Sky

Here is a picture of the white exhaust trail that was visible this morning in Phoenix. It was from a rocket they were testing all the way in New Mexico. I was walking past the back window and saw the bright white cloud. The contrast was striking and the picture really doesn't do it justice. I just thought it was a weird cloud until I heard the news on the way to work. I guess some people thought it was a UFO. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why I Love Teaching Third Grade

On Friday, I was standing off to the side of the classroom just watching the kids do their task when a little boy came up, gave me a hug, looked up and smiled and then sat back down. How can you compete with that?

Charlie at The Pet Store

Or, as I like to call it: "The Free Zoo".

Small Victories

Shawn and I recently got Rosetta Stone to teach ourselves Spanish. It has become a necessity for my job as most of my parents do not speak English and I have two students who walked into my classroom speaking only Spanish.

One of these students was so (understandably) terrified the first two weeks of school, he cried every morning. He is doing so much better now and is even answering academic questions in class. A real milestone happened the other day, though. My second non-English speaking student joined my class, and was also (understandably) struggling. I had assigned both students other students as translators and that was working ok.

The other day, my second student was asking me a question in Spanish and I obviously did not know what he was asking.  In a moment of inspiration, I asked my first non-English speaking student to be the translator for me. I think he amazed himself  (and me) that he was able to translate what his classmate was saying into English. The best part was that he was so utterly proud of himself. He now runs across the room to translate whenever he sees this other student and I trying to communicate.

The other day we had an open house. It was almost comical to watch this same student get exasperated with his mother who was trying to communicate with me in English. I could see that his mother was struggling with whether to be proud of his accomplishments, or discipline him for being so disrespectful.  It was a struggle I was excited to see.


I am having so much fun teaching third grade. This job is so much better than my last assignment. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful that that job was just a long term sub assignment. It was a pretty horrible experience. Most of my coworkers were lovely people who were just as committed to doing right by the students, as any teachers I have seen. That said, I have put it on record that I will not go back to that school unless my children are starving and it is the only option.

As bad as my last job was, I am thankful I had it. It makes me appreciate what I have now. Because I was thrown into an impossible situation in terms of behavior and expectations, I had to constantly come up with strategies on how to just make it through the day. The strategies were good ones. And you know what? They work even better in a school with a positive atmosphere and a supportive administration.

I am also so grateful that I had the experience at AJ's elementary school teaching art. It too was a positive atmosphere with a supportive administration. When I went into the long term-sub position, I had something to compare it to. It was, as you can imagine, glaringly lacking. I am so glad that I was able to recognize it because honestly, there were teachers who had worked there for 15 years who simply did not know any better. 

I hope I still feel this way in a few weeks, a few months and a few years. However, with that first horrible experience as my guide, I have a feeling I will remember to. 

Yeah, That's About Right

You know you have a 12 year old boy in the house when he picks up your garlic press and asks why you have nunchucks.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

AJ's Retreat

I don't think I have mentioned it here, but AJ started a new school this year. He LOVES it and has told us repeatedly that he loves going to school and is so grateful that there is a school where he is excited to learn and feels he fits in. 

The second week of school, they took a retreat to a camp here in AZ.  There were no electronics allowed, except for a camera. 

I told AJ to take as many pictures as he wanted and I would post them here so we would have them in the book I print out each year.  He didn't tell me much about the trip except that it was "amazing" and "incredible". 

 I don't know the significance of the places in these pictures, but they were obviously important to him, and that is good enough for me. I hope he has some good memories when he looks at them again in the years to come.