Thursday, October 12, 2017

Precious Moments

Sometimes kiddos remind you of why you became a teacher.

The other day I was filling in in kindergarten. I had been in this class a little before and these kids were pretty comfortable with me. We were working on a paper where they were tracing and writing the number 3. A little girl walked up to me and handed me her paper and I said "Sweetheart, it isn't finished, you traced the 3s but you have to write them too." She looks at me and says "I can't write 3s I don't know how to!" I said "But you traced them so I know you can do it if you try." She started to cry. She was crying because she didn't want to try. I chose to go the tough love route because I believe in challenging students and encouraging a growth mindset. You don't get to cry because you don't want to try. So I told her "This is not a reason to cry, you're not a baby." She kept crying and started getting loud. So in a calm voice I said "Well if you're going to cry you can go sit in that chair over there and when you're ready to work you can come back." She sat in the chair and cried for a while and I did NOT engage her. Eventually she stopped crying and I said "If you're ready to work you can come back over." So she came back and sat down. I said "Now if you're ready to work I can help you and we can try this together." She nodded her head yes. So I talked to her about how to make a 3 and reminded her that she had just traced a bunch of 3s. When she did one on her own I was shocked that it was almost perfect. I said "See that 3 is beautiful you don't need my help." and I left her to finish them. When she came to show me she was finished I said to her "I knew you could do it." and she gave me the biggest hug as if to say "Thank you for believing in me".

It was something as small as writing the number 3 and even though I had just made her cry a few minutes before, she knew I cared about her and believed in her. My kids get upset with me sometimes but the know I love and encourage them and they respect me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Back to the Grind

Today was my first day back in the classroom as a regular sub in my old district. I was dreading moving back to my old district for a few reasons. I feel like moving back is kind of a step backwards from the direction my life has been going, even though it really isn't, it's more of a temporary stepping stone towards the next chapter in my life.

Being a building sub meant that I went to the same school every day so I has a relationship with my kiddos and my coworkers. Being a regular sub means I go to not only a different class but a different school everyday. Up side, I get to meet a lot of different staff and students and get different experiences. Down side, I don't get to stay in a place for too long if I like it. I tried to see if I could become a building sub in this district but it looks like they don't hire them here. I checked. My next best option would be to get in good with a principal at a school I like and have them just claim me like everyday.

Today actually wasn't bad. After looking back at my resume when I was updating it, I realized I only subbed in this district for about 4 months before I took over my first daycare classroom that summer. I think I've overestimated the negative experiences I had in this district. I think for some reason I have it in my head that I only had a positive experience at one school and just really remember several negative ones at other schools so in my head I associate this district with negative times. After just working a half day today, I don't think this district is as bad as I made it out to be. I think it was the first district I subbed in so I was very new to being a sub. Maybe the experience I've gained has changed my outlook. It also might have to do with the fact that I was a reading teacher today and spent part of my time reading to preschoolers and I love Preschool and Kindergarten.

Basically I'm going to hopefully spend most of my time in elementary school and have a good time. Maybe I have a lot tougher skin after my last district and being a regular sub again won't be so bad. I'm going to try my best to have a positive outlook. Tomorrow is my first full day back even though I'm still a little sick I thought I would be feeling better by now. Hopefully my first full day back in the classroom will be a positive one. But I guess that's up to me.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Summer of Fun

This post is pretty late but over the summer I was in charge of my own kindergarten class which was amazing... and a mess at the same time. I think some of this may have been covered in my last post but I just wanted to make sure that when I look back I didn't forget this time in my life. Instead of going through a long drawn out post, I'll list a few pertinent parts of my experience.


  1. I had 13 kids on my roster but was lucky if I had 9 of them all show up on the same day.
  2. We were in a super hot building and told we were getting air conditioning, but only a few rooms got them.
  3. We were told there would be no children with extreme behavior problems in the program... there were. Several that were in self contained classes during the year, and placed with non special ed teachers with non special ed teaching assistants.
  4. I met some amazing people that I taught with and hope to stay friends with.
  5. My students were my favorite part of the program. They weren't perfect angels but I love to learn from them and gain new experiences.
  6. I had some interesting experiences with parents.
  7. We took the kids swimming one day. Lots of kids say they can swim... until they get in a pool.
  8. We had our students for 10 hours a day... 10. hours.
  9. The money I made was crazy good.
  10. I probably would do the program again in the future if I still lived in that area.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Build a Fence, but Don't Get Over It!

I was super excited to do this activity with my kinders when I thought about it. I got the idea from doing a similar activity with preschoolers a few years ago during undergrad... sort of. I looked back at my lesson from that time and it doesn't say I did this activity but I remember doing it so I'm sure it happened

... probably.

Anyway right as I was planning this I got an email from some of the district principals that said something to the effect of "If you'd like us to visit at any time let us know." So I responded asking them to come because I knew this would be one of my better lessons.

We started off by reading the story Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candance Fleming.


It's a story about a man who wants to plant a garden. One day he finally decides to but these little bunnies keep getting in and eating his crops. He tries a bunch of outrageous different ways to keep them out.

After reading the story, (and discussing it), we broke off into teams. Luckily I had a teaching assistant for the whole day today, I usually only have one for the morning. The kids worked together to draw a garden on the page provided to them. Before we read we talked about what things can grow in a garden. They drew things like carrots, tomatoes, even watermelons!

Once the gardens were drawn I told the kids they had to build a fence to keep the bunnies out. They were super excited when I told them their building materials were in my "mystery bag". I felt like I was reliving so many of the things I learned in my undergrad days like using a mystery bag as a hook. Inside the mystery bag was:

  • marshmallows
  • pipe cleaners
  • toothpicks
They were only allowed to use those items to create their fence. The real kicker was what we were using for our "bunnies" to test the effectiveness of our fences.


I scored these little monsters at party city. They're these little pop up toys with suction cups on the bottom. When you push them all the way down they stay down and jump up into the air whenever the suction cup releases. The kids get a kick out of them.

Now I did tell them we were going to use them but I did NOT give them to the kids until the fences were built and they were ready to test them. As an added incentive to stay focused I told them they could eat the leftover marshmallows if they didn't eat the ones we were to be working with.

I tried to preset them that this was a teamwork activity and they should talk to each other and work together. Telling each other their ideas and listening to one another. My group did a great job at this but I didn't know until after we were finished that my TA's group had a much harder time with the sharing. I should have paid better attention to the way I grouped them I guess, I grouped them randomly. The only thing I did intentionally was not put the twins in my class in the same group.

Here are a few pix from the building and testing process.

 

 


 
 





They came up with some pretty interesting ideas. One groups even said they built in traps to catch the bunnies 🤣. It was really wonderful to watch them interact and use their minds in a different way. Then I let them take home their "bunnies" so overall it was a great project.



Monday, July 3, 2017

500 Instagram Followers Giveaway!! [CLOSED]

I've had my instagram account for a few years now but this year is when I started to take it more seriously. I've finally reached 500 followers and I want to celebrate!

This giveaway will cost you only a $5 contribution to me on paypal, all of which will go towards a gift card for Teachers Pay Teachers. After which, your instagram name will be added to a rafflecopter giveaway in which hopefuls will need to follow your account for an entry!

If you are interested in being a part of the giveaway click here by July 7th!

If you have any physical products (not printed out digital products) you would like to contribute instead of money please email me at TheTeacherWithTheFro@gmail.com

Check out my instagram account, since you're here anyway!

Sweat Pants, Hair Tied, Chillin' wit no Make Up On

Today's laugh and a half is brought to you by a soon to be second grader.

The other day I stayed in the house most of the day. I needed to go to the mall and walmart so like everyone else at walmart, I didn't care how I dressed. I decided to go extra bummy in a shirt, basketball shorts and flip flops. I thought about if I saw my students out but that happens to me so rarely and I was heading to the next town over so I just said F it.

I go to pick up my new phone and as I'm coming out of the store I see one of my older students. I chose not to engage her because A. I'm not one of her favorites and B. because again, I was dressed like a slob and I didn't want the attention.

Of course as I'm walking out unscathed, her little brother, also one of my students, spots me. He runs up to hug me and I'm super embarrassed because of the way I was dressed but I'm honestly always happy to see one of my babies especially if they're happy to see me.

The problem was that his family didn't notice they'd walked off without him so I'm going "Bud your family is walking off without you, you need to go back to them." and he's like "No come with me and say hi to them!" Mind you I don't now his parents, I'm dressed crazy and their kid just ran off with me so no I didn't want to meet them at that particular moment.

By this point the parents looked up and are wondering where he is so as an adult I felt obligated to walk him back to them so they didn't think he was talking to a stranger and call the police on me or something. He's running up like "Mommy come say hi!" and she's like "Who's this!?" and I'm just trying to quickly introduce myself, again so that they don't think I'm a kidnapper. So I tell them I'm one of his teachers, then their other sister saw me and ran up to hug me too. It was nice and awkward but at least the kids made it clear to them who I was. 🤣

The moral of the story is, if you think you're going to leave the house and have a dress down day, be ready to run into your students.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Here Come the Water Works

Today was my last day as the building sub at my school. I thought I'd be able to make it through it okay since I'd been fine lately but oh man. When I tried to talk and thank some of my particular co-workers that really helped me out a lot, the tears started welling up. I managed to keep it together because I didn't want my students to see me like that.

It really was hard. We only had an hour and a half of school today and probably more faculty than students. I'm grateful someone took a chance on me and that I ended up at the school I did. It was a tough school but I'm a lot stronger as a teacher than I was a year and a half ago. And I've made some good friends.

My next step is I'll be teaching kindergarten for summer school in a nearby district. I'm excited to finally be the teacher and not the sub in someone else's classroom dealing with someone else's class.

I feel like I'm taking a lot of small baby steps toward becoming a teacher. Most people hop out of college and into the classroom. I went from college to daycare to subbing, back to college, then building subbing, then summer school. I sometimes wonder two things about myself:

  1. If I'm addicted to school. Almost as far back as I can remember (which is back to preschool), I've been in school and operated on school year time. Other professions work on regular January-December calendar after they're done with school. Teachers operate on the same schedule we were on throughout our years as a student. I wonder if subconsciously I became a teacher because I don't know how to function on a different time schedule. After high school I went right into college, where I was working at the same grocery store for 6 years when I would come home for breaks. I didn't like that job but I knew I was on school year time so I only had to work there for the summer and then I could be out. Would I be able to be a productive member of society if I had to work at a job like that through the whole year like other people do? Then I went to graduate school. I was also subbing which meant, I was still operating on school year time and working a different job in the summer. Then what did I do? The minute I graduated I signed up for another course to teach English as a foreign language. Do I not know how to survive without having homework to do?
  2. If I'm avoiding becoming a career teacher. I mentioned above all of the small steps I've taken since being in college. I wonder if all of those smaller steps are me trying to avoid being the full time teacher because I'm afraid. I'm afraid of all of the teacher stuff that happens behind the scenes. All of the stuff that you don't know how to do until you're in it. A lot of my teacher friends have been great with answering all of my questions but you never know what it's like until you do it and I'm scared to death. What if I become a teacher and I fail? I try to keep myself strong and confident though. Sometimes I just get a little down. So what do I do? Decide to fly to another country and teacher there -_-. Whose idea was this 🤣?