Saturday, March 23, 2013

Surviving the first year

I haven't written in over a year. The reason I haven't is becuase I actually got my first teaching job! I teach 2nd grade at a classical charter school. It is now spring break, and I have made it through eight whole months of teaching! Whew!

It has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time. My goal is to start documenting my journeys as a teacher more regularly. Since I am almost done with this year, (two months left!) I will be posting more this summer about getting ready for my 2nd year of teaching. I can't believe it when I hear myself say that! 2nd year of teaching 2nd grade! How fun is that:) I am so blessed to be doing what I love.

My first look at my very own classroom

Very bland to begin with

First week of organizing

getting desks ready
My very first desk arrangement I came up with. 

Here are some brief bullets of my class this year:
  • 28 students
  • huge classroom
  • I have worked an average of 100 hr work weeks. -_- omg
  • I love the kids!
  • I Love the organizing and planning portion of teaching
  • I of course am stressed 90% of the time
  • I'm looking forward to my second year of teaching because I now know more of what I'm doing! :)
  • I'm praying I don't have to switch rooms:( that would be a lot of work to redecorate
  • I am looking forward to this summer. Relaxation and also getting my classroom ready for next year! So many new ideas!
  • 2nd grade is my favorite grade by far! 
 My classroom as it looks now!:) 

 I will write more as I ride this fast paced ROLLER COASTER of a journey:)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The glorious midterm:)

I have progressed through my student teaching journey and I am proud to say that I have made it more than halfway through! My host teacher and clinical supervisor completed the midterm evaluation on me last week and I was excited to hear that I passed with flying colors. It was wonderful to receive the feedback on my performance as a teacher so far, and they are both just SO encouraging and helpful!

It is wonderful to have two people who are looking to help me succeed and grow as a teacher, and that are willing to help me achieve the highest and best. I was evaluated on all aspects of teaching, anywhere from my dress and hygiene, to management skills and, professional problem solving skills. Both gave me the highest scores possible and wrote comments about my promising future as an early childhood professional.

After many late nights, billions of lesson plans (I know, a bit exaggerated on the number), and too many sticky notes to count, I put the midterm behind me and most of my student teaching. I now have only 1 month left! I will say I am excited to be nearing the completion of this journey, but then sad at the same time to EVER have to leave my precious students! I will miss them all...even those that, at times, are "little joys." ;)

Spending Valentines Day with Kindergarteners and first graders was one of the most eventful things I have ever endured or experienced lol.

I couldn't believe what a hype it brought to the classroom. I also cannot begin to put into words how my heart felt after getting 25 little valentines from little ones who can't even afford food or proper winter clothes, let alone valentines and candy for their teacher. I treasure each of their little cards that were lovingly decorated with transformers and princesses. ;)

On an ending note, I have fully taken over all aspects of the classroom and my teacher has abandoned me. Lol jk, she has left me to experience being a teacher to the fullest and I am embracing it! Since we are nearing the end of the 3rd quarter (YIKES!) there is countless testing that needs to be done and I am having a go at it.

And I just found out that I will be allowed to video myself teaching! I am so excited to be able to watch it and learn from it. 

Quote of the week:
Shane: Mrs. Lee....(with a serious expression) am I looking sharp today?
Me: (trying not to laugh) oooo yes shane, very sharp.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Joys of Lesson Planning

My mornings and evenings are now filled with at least 2 hours of lesson planning now and I am quickly learning how to type EXTREMELY fast. 
I sent two pictures to my of my desk with all my teaching materials before the sun had come up....and one with all my lesson planning materials on my desk as the sun was going down:) Needless to say, planning is a huge part of my day!

The kids are learning about natural habitats this week and today I read "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" to them and had them pretend they were on the bear hunt as well. I always amazed at how much they love getting to be a part of a story and how quickly they are engaged through dramatic play. We used the story to talk about the natural habitat of a bear and then discussed other animals and where they live.

I had them do hand motions for going through the water and going through the mud...(some of my students GREATLY need this kinesthetic engagement and they were quite into it). 

I then had them get out their journals and I used the opportunity to develop writing skills. They wrote at least 2 sentences about what THEY would do if they were on a bear hunt and then they were allowed to illustrate it. I couldn't help but snicker to myself at some of their ideas. One of my students wrote, "I went on a bear hunt! I had to cross a field of glass to get away from the bear." Don't ask me where one would find such a thing as a field of glass but aparently...they are OUT there! lol 
Yes, we are having a lot of fun in first grade reading;) 

I have some ideas I'm mulling over, about how to create a bulletin board that will tie in with the natural habitats the students are learning about...maybe one of my next blogs will have a picture of the finished product!:) 
 Now, I must finish planning for the little 
ones that belong to these backpacks...
(and who are barely bigger than these 
particular backpacks) :)

Ta-ta for now from the land of a lesson planner.

Monday, January 23, 2012

C is for Classroom

And STILL enjoying being in the classroom. :) 

I will admit however, that Monday mornings are trying, and it's hard to get going in the rhythm of things again lol. But as soon as those little faces greet me at the door there isn't time to be tired anymore! It's hello Mrs. Lee and lots of hello's and hugs to start the day!

Last week we had some struggles for Mr. Seimers in art class (putting away our materials) and they didn't get 5 crowns. :( Up until last week we were the only Kindergarten class to get 5 crowns and heaven forbid we NOT get 5 crowns this week. So thankfully the kids picked up the slack and put it together and lo and behold ....5 crowns today! ;) It's amazing how much the concept of "getting-five-crowns-on-the-board" will motivate them to do a good job.

TOMORROW!!! Ah! This is my first observation by my clinical supervisor. She will observe me teach my reading block to 25 Kindergarten students from not only my classroom but two other classes. I am eager to see how it goes and I already know that my clinical supervisor is extremely nice and is there to help me succeed and that is what counts! I just have to will myself to not be nervous. However, one can't help being a little more self conscious when they are being watched by someone who is sitting in the back taking notes on all you do lol.

Night all... I have some more lesson planning to accomplish and then it's off to bed for me. (ahhh I can't wait for bed) :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

1st week down!

My new teaching bag came in with my name on it:) I can't tell you how much it has saved my life! I love all the pockets. The pockets are now filled with hand sanitizer (a must for any teacher), pencils/pens, sticky notes, and quick cosmetics and small brush.

My first week has blown by. It has been a little confusing because I started on a Thursday so technically I'm in the middle of my second week now. So far I am LOVING being in the classroom. What amazed me every day is how much I am loving it. You know that you are in the right profession when you look FORward to waking up at 5am every day. :)

I have gotten many planners and calendars to keep up with my schedule, and since I have to be at school and leave school when my host teacher does I have a very busy and full day! In about two weeks I will take complete control over the classroom and my host teacher will leave, so I am working really hard to be ready for that time.

The first two days I had planned on just sitting back, observing, learning my way around the school, and learning the names of the children, however, my teacher had encouraged me to go ahead and start assuming some responsibilities in the classroom when I felt comfortable. I was surprised that even on day 1 I was actually helping in the halls, correcting children, and even overseeing work. Needless to say, I fit right in and the children were quickly viewing me as one of their teachers!

Speaking of the children, I fell in love the moment those 22 little ones came bounding in the door. They were all eager to learn and eager to share with us how their Christmas breaks had gone. They say the sweetest and cutest things! :) Within just a few days I discovered their personalities and knew which ones wanted more independence, and which ones were more needy. Sadly, since this is a title 1 school, they are all low income and some have pretty disturbing family lives. This also means that the majority of the students are very emotionally needy. It is hard to see and hear stories that involve the children, but I know that all I can do is be there for them in the classroom and control that little haven we can provide for them.

What an opportunity it is to speak into these little ones lives and to be a good example for them?! I am so excited to see what this semester brings and how they will grow and learn. I am extremely proud to be a part of that.

By the end of the week I had taken control of the hallways, had taken them to different classes, (Art, P.E., Music, and library), had taken over story time, and had even taught the reading block to not only my students but other students who join our classroom for reading. The number of students total for that reading block is 25 Kindergarteners. I definitely had to think on my feet and use a lot of management skills I have learned! For the most part things went well and I kept their attention. I will continue teaching that 45 minute reading block for this next week and will take over 1st grade math next week as well.

Well, I have rambled on long enough and will have to write more later.

Excited about starting another week tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thinking Maps Teacher Training!

A packet from my Host Teacher!
The Starbucks card was very sweet of her;) 

The thinking maps training was today and was the first time I got to meet all the other teachers in the building.  The training was from 12-3 and we basically had a seminar on thinking maps. We took notes, and got into groups and did group exercises that will all be applicable to teaching. It was interesting for me to attend one of these for the first time and see how all the teachers and faculty interacted together. I did my part and stayed close to my host teacher and tried not to be in the way and actually learned some useful ideas along the way!
Tomorrow is a teacher work day and I will be going in and helping get the classroom in order. 

Until then I have some student's names to learn! My teacher printed out their pictures along with their names and I will try and put some names with faces before I see them day after tomorrow:) 

In other news, I turned our side bedroom (that is more like an over-sized walk-in closet) , that wasn't being used, into my study/planning nook. I have a comfy chair, some candles, a table, some shelves, lamps, etc. and will retreat my hideout each day after work probably. I already am falling in love with it;)

My next entry will probably be on how my first day goes...Can't wait!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Journey Begins

I have awaited this time for over 4 years. It is finally here and I am all excitement! All my learning, all the coaching, teaching, mentoring, observing, and lesson planning, had made me finally ready to be in the classroom!

I have less than a week before I start my student teaching. It's THIS Thursday! How did it sneak up so fast? I can honestly say that I'm freaking out a little bit from nervousness, but MOSTLY, I am just ready to start and ready to learn and experience all that I can. I have a lot to learn from my host teacher and the 8 little first graders and 13 kindergarteners!

I have heard from many educators and fellow student teachers, that the host teacher makes or breaks your experience student teaching so I was naturally nervous about meeting her. My nervousness was quickly put to rest once I met her and the principal and realized that they were both GREAT people and that we got along really well. I EVEN have a host teacher that was willing to take me out and buy me a coffee just to get to know me and answer all my questions! Now, I would say I am already pretty lucky to be on such a good start.

My degree will be in Early Childhood Education which means that I have to student teach in a Kindergarten class and a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd as well. I fortunately was placed in a K-1 classroom and will be able to remain with that one class and teacher for the full time!

My first day in the classroom will be Jan. 5th. Tuesday I will be attending a teachers seminar with all the teachers in the school and will also attend the teachers work day on Wednesday.

I will admit that I have been just a "LITTLE" bit excited about all planning and organizing that needed to take place before I start. I have bought myself not only planners and calendars but I got my new 31 Teaching bag!

I actually got a different pattern and monogrammed--Mrs. Lee--- on it!