Tag Archives: teacher

The Missing Student

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Buses

So I know often I see and think things differently. So while I was walking this morning I saw this and the empty slot made me think of the missing student.

That missing student comes in various forms and with a variety of reasons.

The most obvious missing student is the one who is absent. The reasons they are missing span an area wider than the Sahara Desert. Maybe they are home sick, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. It maybe that they lack the confidence to face the assignment in class. Or maybe this student lacks the skills to face the bully. Sometimes the student hides in fear at home unable to attend class until the bruises can be hidden and the tears can be dried up. Often one is absent because at a young age they have had to take on an adult world-due to an absent parent who has abandon the family and is busy working to make ends meet. And there is even the possibility that they are missing just because the value of education is not recognized by them or the ones who care for them.

But what about the student whose physical body is in the classroom but they are missing. Once again the reasons why are wide. It maybe that they are the quiet one overshadowed by the squeaky wheel who needs some oil. Or maybe the child who has already mastered the concept who must wait in silence for their classmates to understand. Frequently it is the child who is lost to what is being taught because although they are at a different learning level they are required to struggle through often to the point of frustration at their instructional grade level.  Sadly even sometimes maybe it is the student the teacher just can’t take anymore and no longer sees due to the frustration and stress the educational field has.

My prayer as a teacher is that the missing students in my classroom never go unseen and that I can meet them where they are with their needs.

Teaching a Teacher’s Child

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Being a teacher, I know that teachers invest a lot of time, energy, emotion, sweat, etc. into their students and that often it goes unnoticed and unappreciated.  So I attempt to be the parent to my daughter’s teachers that I think I would like to have in my classroom.  The problem is that like every thing in my life I tend to do it to the extreme.

 

Because of that, I think my daughter’s teachers tend to fear that I don’t think they are doing a job that I am happy with.  When in all honesty nothing could be further from the truth.  So in the new way of healthy living that I am trying to maintain in my life, with the start of this new school year, I am trying to take about a 1,000 steps back and be that typical classroom parent.

 

We are 21 days into the school year and I have only been to the classroom once and send 2 emails- one to let her know that I was changing how my daughter was going home and the second to find out if I could place a book order online.

No elliptical or jog tonight due to open house.

 

 

 

Remembering…

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Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty ’cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on “I Love Lucy” reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

 

By Alan Jackson

September 11, 2001 8:46 am  I was student teaching at Rodgers Middle School.  I had just delivered my homeroom to the basketball court for intramurals and walked back to the classroom where the teacher had turned on the TV and told me that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  I was shocked and remember asking, “Is the weather bad?” and hearing “No.” I was so confused.  Then as I saw a second plane crash into the second tower fear begin to mix with the confusion.  My niece attended Rodgers at the time my instinct was to find her, sing her and take her home and keep her safe.  But I had a bigger responsibility at that time, I needed to turn of the TV, pull myself  together and make the day as normal as possible.

 

As soon as 4:05pm came, I was in my car headed home.  I curled up on the couch with my eyes fixated on the television soaking in the horror of what had happened as tears poured down my face.  For days, every free moment I spent scouring the newspaper, searching the internet, and watching the television trying to soak in all the information I could about this horrible tragedy.  After about a week,  the time came that I could cry no more and I could no longer watch or read more about it.  I began to pull out movies instead to watch on TV.

 

As a teacher one of the new mandates that has been passed down to us is that we teach about Patriot Day in remembrance of September 11, 2001.  As a teacher and a parent I realize this is a sensitive topic, so I try to share the basic facts of what happened that day and how emotional it was.  I feel it is important to let the student know what happened that day as well as how so many people worked together and the importance of working together.

 

Daily Progress 1.5 miles at 3.8 mph.
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When Plan A, B, or C don’t work…

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So what do you do when plan a, b or c don’t work out? Create a new plan a!

One of the thing that has kept me very busy and from blogging consistently this past month is I have been actively pursuing a position as an assistant principal in the district. I have been certified for the position for over 7 years but just recently started to apply for positions. Deciding to wait until my daughter had completed her kindergarten year.

This first school I applied for was just 5 minutes from my house. I had worked at the school for summer reading camp. I interviewed with the principal and felt things went okay. I didn’t get that position and I was okay with that.

Then a positioned open this summer that was ideal. It was at a school where the principal was good friends with the principal who mentored me during my Educational Leadership master’s program. It was close to my house. The minute I met with the principal it seemed we instantly connected. I left the interview feeling very good and that the chance of being called for a school committee interview were good. I was wrong and didn’t get that position either.

I began to question whether I was doing the right thing and maybe I should just stay in the classroom At the encouragement of a good friend, when the next round of assistant principal openings came I applied to those not only those close to me but 4 schools throughout the county.

I heard back from one school for an interview with the principal. Just a few days before returning to work I interviewed at a school 20 minutes from my house. I was the first interview that this new principal had done. We worked through it together well and enjoyed ourself while we did. I was a bit upset when I found out that the position wouldn’t start until September 11th. That was one of the biggest things I didn’t want when I took an assistant principal position…to leave a group of students that I had established a relationship with. I figured with my luck this would be the job I landed. On the day before the student’s returned I received a phone call asking me to come in that Thursday for a 2nd interview with the school committee. The staff was welcoming and it seemed like a place where I would enjoy working. I did hear back from the principal and was thrilled to know I was one of her top 2 picks for the position. Unfortunately neither of her top 2 picks were picked by the school committee.

Although extremely disappointed, I completely understood and would not have wanted the position without having the backing of the staff.

The next morning back at work it was if a light bulb appear above my head. I haven’t obtained an assistant principal position yet because I haven’t found the right school yet. I need a school where the students need me. The school where I teach is hard but I have stayed for 11 years because it is where I belong. It is where the students need me. It is where my heart is.

One day soon an elementary school assistant principal position will open at a school where the students are similar to the ones I have now and they will need me and that is where my heart will go. Until then my plan is teaching at the same school where I have been and loving it and loving every one of the 859 little kiddos that cross my path.

Today’s journey – 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Jogging, Bowling and Swimming

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Started the morning with another sunrise jog.  Did the first mile of 60 second jog/60 second walk in 11:52.  I then walked another 2 miles.

Wanting to have a fun-filled summer day; my mom, my grandma, my best friend, my princess,the princess’ friend and I headed to the bowling alley.  We had a great time bowling two games, singing to radio Disney, dancing and eating french fries.

After bowling we grabbed a bite to eat at Pizza Hut.  Then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool pretending to be mermaids and diving for jewels.

What a wonderful day! Can’t wait for summer school to be over so I can spend every day like this.

Last day=Tons of Emotions

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No I haven’t fallen of the earth…as a teacher the last week of school is insane!!!!!!!!!  There are six post sitting in my dashboard waiting for me to finish and post.  So why did this one get completed?  Because I once was told that writing is cathartic.

I am completing my 10th year of teaching…which means I have had 10 last days of school.  So why does this one seem so much more difficult?  I thought maybe penning some thoughts would help me put things in perspective before heading out the door.

So here are some things I am thinking maybe contributing.

Reason 1 – My precious princess has completed kindergarten.  She is my only child so with the happiness of all her firsts also comes the sadness of all the lasts because their isn’t another child of mine that I will share these experiences.

Reason 2- My precocious young man will be leaving my classroom where after 7 months we have finally created a bond that works for us.  Not only will I miss him but I worry that his 5th grade teacher won’t work hard to create that bond that is so desperately needed.

Reason 3. My new little girl who transferred less than a month ago.  I am her ninth school and she is only in 4th grade.  FULL of energy and needing TONS of attention she stole my heart immediately.  Due to problems in her family she is moving yet again and will be going to yet another school next year for fifth.  Will her teacher understand that she can’t stay in her seat because she wants to be close to a loving adult.  That she talks incessantly because she can hide her fears behind it.  That she is very emotional and can go from cheerfully talking your ear off to needing to be held while tears roll down her cheeks. Because given that I am emotionally driven, I get it!

Reason 4-The fifth graders are leaving. Many of them I have been involved with for 6 years since they started as kindergartners.  As elementary teachers we think of them as our babies and treat them as so, but they are off to middle school where I know the view is different.  They will have a hard time adjusting, but they will make it.  They will bring me such pleasure when they come back to visit.

Reason 5- Maybe it is just because I am a highly emotionally driven individual!

Whatever the reason, I am sure tears will fall(like they have as I have written this), prides will swell, email addresses will be exchanged, and tons of hugs given!

Rain+Students=Crazy Fun

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The heavens opened this morning and rain fell.  I was thrilled! I even contemplated calling in and going to a local nature park exploring and planting my bottom by the river.  Responsibility of course won out and off to school I went.

Due to my love of rain I was bursting with energy.  And for some reason rain produces excess energy in students.  The rain would come in surges: rain hard, slow to a drizzle, stop and repeat.  Being the first of the month every student was required to complete a reading assignment on the computer.  Getting everyone settled, we were off to a great start when the next surge of rain rolled in…all of a sudden my precocious boy belts out, “It’s raining men…hallelujah!”  I could not help but bust out laughing.

To the energy my students already had, I  loaded them with sugar.  Today was national donut day.  Trying to keep students engaged up to the last day, I decided today’s writing lesson would be an object elaboration about a donut.  What better way to write and object elaboration then to have the object there.  Each student chose either a powdered or chocolate donut.  They then were allowed to eat half of the donut and create their plan for their writing…having to save their other half until they had written an elaborated middle.  Just that little bit of sugar mixed with their energy opened their flood gates of talking.  I enjoyed the day but was glad when the buses rolled out at 2:30 pm.

I stayed for while after school and began packing up my classroom for the end of the year.  But was eager to get home as the rain was coming in and I knew the Princess would want to play in the rain.  For about a half hour we jumped and ran through puddles, kicked water on each other and jumped on the trampoline.

After putting the princess down, I went for  a mile jog keeping the same intervals.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any pent-up energy and it took 13:49 to do 1 mile.  But at least I DID IT!

Pride

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Such pride filled my heart when my students were so proud of their work that they wanted to share with their poems.  In turn I will share them with you all and hope you enjoy.  These were written by 9 and 10 year olds.

Dancing

Drum Beat

Flowing Music

Leaping, Twirling, Plie’

Tip-toe, Strength, Imagination

Spotlight

By: Olivia

Flower

So beautiful smell

Outside the smell carries me

Making my nose sneeze

By: Juan

Snakes

Silent Slithering

Choking prey in an instant

Toxic, Poison, SNAP!

By: Rashad

Headed back to the park today but it was a very hot 95 degrees.  I did a mile sticking with the 1:30 walk and 1:00 jog in 13:09.  Due to the heat and trying to fight off a hormonal headache, I abandoned the heat and did 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Call me crazy…

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What a wonderful day with my students!  Today we had an extra practice for their performance.  All of the 4th grade classes loaded into the cafeteria where the singing and dancing began.  My kids enjoyed watching me bust out my famous dance moves and listening to  belt out “I put my hands up in the air sometimes…”

Looking back on the day, the end of the year sadness began to creep in.  Each year I forget the emotions that flood my soul at the end of the year.  Call me crazy…but I am going to miss my babies(students).  The end of the year is also very emotional for many of my students as we are their stability.

My greatest joy is when my students come back after leaving my class to visit!

It was another 95 degree afternoon so I only did 1.5 miles today keeping the same intervals in 22:33.

1 month and 18 days in….

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After 2 days off it felt good to pound the pavement again.  Headed back to the park but the gates were locked so parked and took a different path.  The path was a nice change with a few inclines.  A little slow after 2 days off but did 2.8 in 45:50.

My students have asked to spend some more time on poetry so I thought I would share another that I have attempted.

It broke last night in the dark stillness

With the moonlight streaming in.

As it broke the water rushed up…

out of the heart…

past the throat…

through the brain…

down to the eyes.

It poured like a faucet,

Until sleep overtook it.

Yet with the dawn’s light,

It began again.

Bless the plumber with the magic pill who can make it stop.