Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ah The Good Ole Days

The other day I received an email about teachers that were going to Boston and the teachers that were being assigned to cover them... The only problem was these teachers work at a different school than I do. I went to ask my principal if she knew anything about it and she said yes. Apparently there is some professional development going on and because of the amount of teachers they had going to it they were scrambling for subs and my principal was like "cool borrow my building sub!" The only problem is she didn't tell me about this conversation and I wasn't notified that I was going to another school until I got that email. After I asked her about it she asked if I was comfortable with it, at that point I didn't want to be a problem. Honestly I was/am comfortable with it, when our district is in need I want to be a team player and help out any way that I can. I just would've like to have been asked or at least notified as opposed to being loaned out like a piece of furniture.


While I was talking to a teacher about being loaned out another teacher that works at my school and the school I'm on loan to so she knew the teacher I was subbing for. She said the class was good and just had one heavy hitter that they probably would keep home. Fast forward to this morning when I got there. There were no kids in the classroom yet and I was reading through the plans and saw a behavior chart with a students name on it and I immediately flashed back to a year ago, which was the last time I had been in this building, and remember this kindergartner flipping out on me. I had no idea she had any special needs, although at the beginning of the school year in kindergarten it's possible she had not been diagnosed with anything yet. So this adorable little girl, now a first grader who somehow remembers me... came in, went to special, spit on someone flipped out and was sent home before 8:15.

Meanwhile, the kids are in special and this school's building sub decided to come chat me up... clearly not noticing I'm trying to familiarize myself with the math lesson before they get back, I'm sure she was just trying to be nice and I wasn't in a bad mood but for some reason she was just rubbing me the wrong me. Later during lunch she came in again and I mentioned that I was writing an email to the teacher I was in for and she looked at me with this face and said "You have her email address? And why are you emailing her??" Like it was the strangest thing ever and I was like "Since I have a district email it's easier for me to leave a detailed account of the day than to try and write it on a piece of paper and I'm sure the teacher wants to know how the day went, I would if it was my class." And she's like "Not me, if it was my class I wouldn't care, I wasn't there so I don't wanna know." Which to me that was an insane answer, if it was my class I would want to know behaviors of my students while I was away and what work was done so I'd know where to pick up and didn't have to rely on kids because whenever you ask a group of kids something you get 100 different answers. Honestly I've been a building sub for almost a year and she's been one for less than a month and she's question how I do my job? I've never had a teacher be like "thanks for the email, next time a little less detail."


My biggest surprise came when this huge child came up and gave me a hug, didn't say a word, and walked off. After about 20 minutes of contemplation and trying to figure out where I knew that kid's eyes from I realize, he went to the school I work at last year and let's just say he's not one I'd expect to give me a hug on sight. I feel bad that I just kind of mutter out "hey" when I saw him because I didn't recognize him, I actually was happy to see him and would've been happy to talk to him and ask him how he's adjusting at this school. Maybe tomorrow when I go back I'll see him again. I later saw 2 of my other former students and couldn't immediately place their names. It weird to me that I knew their faces but after only a few months I'd dropped their names from my immediate memory. I also saw one of my former coworkers who I really admire as a teacher, and I got to hang out with a library media teacher I like, but I see her sometimes at my current job.


I was reminded of my favorite thing about working at a school where people don't see me everyday, the compliments. I'm down about my ability to be a teacher sometimes but I'm damn good at it. Other teachers and principals always come up to me and talk about how strong of a teacher I am and how I can keep the kids in line, followed by the "are you going to be applying for a job in the district soon?" It's a huge compliment when someone takes notice of how I can do my job. And the substitute principal came in the room today during a moment when the class was behaving amazingly and I was enthusiastically and confidently modelling the math lesson. He gave me a fist bump.

In the Pocket

Continuing my work with my fifth grade tutor student, she tends to not only use run on sentences, but she repeats words several times in her writing. I thought to myself, "How can I help her to come up with other words?" So I decided to have her come up with other words instead of me just telling her what to write.

We began with some commonly overused words in writing: big, small, good, fun, happy, and the dreaded said. #SaidIsDead.
We've all read those papers where every time the student wants a character to talk it's "Bob said, then Jeff said, and Bob said" on and on and on and steady as she goes.

I began by cutting out different color construction papers into the shape of pockets, like pants pockets. I intended to use popsicle sticks to write our synonyms on but I couldn't find my popsicle sticks so what do teachers do? Improvise. I cut up the index cards I had on hand. Together we worked one word at a time to come up with synonyms. It actually ended up being pretty difficult at some points. For her coming up with synonyms, for me coming up with questions to prompt appropriate synonyms. Our end results were awesome! I hung our pockets on the wall and they are available for her to use when she is writing.

Next week we start the writing process so we may be able to use the pockets during revisions!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Punctuation Project!

I am working with a fifth grade student for tutoring and I noticed in her writing she could use a bit of a refresher course in punctuation.

I began by making an anchor chart with four basic punctuation marks, period, exclamation point, question mark, and comma.

Each mark had a short phrase addressing what their job is in writing.

After that, we discussed what each one does and came up with examples. I modeled some and let her write some as well. Then I hung it up in our tutoring room!

The finished product is kind of a jumbled mess if you weren't there to see how it was made but my student was very engaged and able to verbalize what each punctuation does as well as come up with examples. She loved being a part of making the poster as opposed to me just making it and telling her what's what.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Who is that?!

Today's laugh and a half is brought to you by a fourth grade boy...

A few days ago a new family enrolled at my school. I was in the office so I went to show the daughter to her fourth grade classroom. After we got there she wanted to go with us to see where her brother's classroom would be. On the way out of the classroom a boy notices the daughter and I kid you not it was like a cartoon or a movie. He stopped in his tracks, his jaw hit the floor, his eyes popped out of his head and he goes "who is that?!" He wasn't talking to anyone in particular but he kept making comments just to the air trying to figure out if he was the only one who sees this beautiful girl. Her parents and I were trying and failing to hide our raucous laughter.