Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy New Year of School!

The summer vacation wasn't long enough for me, so I decided to not teach this year... So I can prolong my sleeping in days.

Just kidding.

I actually did try to get a job for this year, but I'm going back to subbing this year. (just for the record, I was not fired nor did I quit my last job - it was a one-year temporary assignment, so my contract expired in June).

I am not unhappy about subbing. Even though I really wanted that 8th grade language arts position I interviewed for, I am happy to not be starting out as a full-time teacher this year. I'm looking forward to subbing and enjoying 40 hour work weeks (I have forgotten what those feel like - last year, it was 50-65 hour weeks for me).

I'm thankful my insurance lasted through August, since I managed to fracture two ribs two weeks ago, (yet another reason why I'm glad to not be setting up a classroom currently).

The coolest thing that happened to me this summer was stumbling upon an owl puppet at Ikea for $4.99. That owl is gonna be my new best friend as a sub. "Whooooo can show me how to line up quietly for lunch?"

I know you think it's corny, but little kids are gonna love it. Trust me.

- Ms. J (once again, this blog actually IS a blog with stories from a sub!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Day of Reckoning... and a little worried about it

We start state testing tomorrow.

I am not prepared for it.

Neither are my students.

3rd grade is hard; these kids have never before taken a state standardized test. Half of them will most likely fail the first attempt, just because of the "I've never done anything like this before" thing. Even though they have taken practice tests, and we've gone over all the test-taking strategies, and I've told them to take their time, and reread, etc., they will probably bomb.

Today was a really rough day; they are stressed about testing, and wanting to instead be outside in the sunshine (yes, it is sunny - shocking for April in Oregon, for sure!).

Well, it is what it is. We'll get through it, and move on.

Oh yeah, and I have a new student starting tomorrow. It'll be like, "Hi, welcome to class. Here's the state test."

Ah, working in a standardized frenzy!
~Ms J

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break Math

Ok, this is not what it sounds like. I'm not doing challenging math over break - though I am planning my fractions unit (how do you cram 2 months worth of learning into two weeks so they can pass the state test?).

Nope, nothing like that. I was just looking at our district calendar, and counting the days until Summer Vacation. Just that kinda math.

Length in weeks: 10.5
Length in school days: 59.5

I am really divided in my emotions about this. Here is the immediate reaction I had when I realized I am only teaching 3rd grade in this particular classroom and school for less than 60 days:


Not that I don't love my classroom, school, colleagues, and students. I totally do. More than could ever be expressed in words. But I'm really happy to see this year end. Mostly because every time I enter my classroom and interact with my students, I am reminded of all the mistakes I've made, the learning we didn't get accomplished, and the routines I should have established (and didn't) that really have impacted the way our classroom runs. (Just for the record, in case any prospective employer reads this and thinks perhaps you shouldn't hire me - I have done a lot of things the RIGHT way - but those things don't jump out like the mistakes do).

My second reaction to my counting:


My third reaction:

"Well, I'll be unemployed again in 10.5 weeks. Guess I should start looking for a job for next year."

My fourth reaction:

"This licorice sitting on my desk leftover from our fraction lesson last week is really tempting."

- Ms. J, soon to be unemployed (and excited, kinda)

PS: Mary, as soon as my KS purse arrives in the mail, I will send you a picture. It's navy blue and white *sigh*

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Break

Break out the celebratory exclamations - Spring Break has arrived! Let's hear a cheer- Spring is here (and for a week, students aren't).

Which is amazingly hard.

We need this break so badly. A time to rejuvenate, clean the house, see friends, and sleep in. I personally will be spending a lot of time at school, getting things accomplished for after break. We start OAKS testing after break (our state standardized test), and my kids are so not ready for it. If I spend a lot of time at school over break, I won't have to spend 10+ hours a day at school after break. It's a pretty good system I've worked out.

But the hard part is knowing some of my kids are going to have a rough spring break. Before I started teaching full time, I always knew the week before break was hard, but I always thought it was because kids were so worked up about having no school for a week. With my group, though, in the low SES area our school is in, the kids that had a really rough week this week are the kids whose only stable place is school. They were acting out because a week without school means being at home for a week.

Which makes me feel bad that I was so glad to see them leave today. I should feel bad for rejoicing by going and getting my favorite coffee and shopping at Nordstrom Rack. Oh yeah, and I bought that Kate Spade purse yesterday.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Kindness

No school on Valentine's Day, so we celebrated today. It was such fun (though crazy at times).  

I didn't want to celebrate the day at all, just because I dislike the idea of candy anywhere near my delightful sugar-happy children. However, I knew I had to do something. 

We started out the day wrapping single tulips in tissue paper and tying them with ribbon. Then we went on a delivery parade. 

Their job was to deliver tulips to every adult in the building. They had to go in pairs- one boy, one girl. They entered the classroom or office, walked up to the teacher or instructional assistant or staff person in the room, handed them the tulip and said, "Thank you for everything you do for our school." 

The adults loved it. They raved about how sweet it was, and how wonderful the kids acted. They also thought it was awesome that I was modeling for the kids the concept of making others happy and thereby being happy yourself. 

Hey, I totally didn't even realize I was doing that - I just wanted to do something nice for my coworkers, and thought it would be cute to have the kids help. I LOVE it when I do awesome teacher-y things without realizing it! :)

We continued the amazing "make others happy" stuff by sneaking into our buddy class' classroom while they were at recess and leaving handmade valentines and candy on their desks. 

I got lots of chocolate and candy today. I was also presented with a handmade card saying "I wish I could spend more time with you at school." Awww... Wait, I'm constantly telling you to stop shouting out and you want more of that?!?!?

Speaking of handmade, one little girl presented me with a scarf her mother made for me! So thoughtful and sweet. Those kinds of things mean so much to me. 

Happy Valentine's Day (and four day weekend! Woot woot!)

- Ms. J 

Friday, February 7, 2014


They say that February is the longest month of the year. Which makes no sense mathematically; the month is 28 days long, while every other month is 30 or 31 days. 

I suppose it's because February is that funny month where the end of winter is nowhere in sight, and the end of the school year seems so far away. 

I thought February wouldn't be too bad. Our school calendar only has 1 five-day school week in February, due to President's Day and some furlough days. And once February is over, it's March, which is so close to Spring Break! So I really was happy about the month of February. 

And then February hit. Hard. My darling students, who had miraculously grown up and matured over Winter Break, lost their minds. I suddenly started wondering if there was a way to legally break my contract and go back to subbing. My fellow teachers told me no one is allowed to quit in February because it's a crazy month. Our hallway mantra this last week has been "is it June yet?" 

Then, yesterday, we had early dismissal due to the Winter Storm warnings issued for the Metro area. I drove home amid flurries, and hoped for a snow day today. Sure enough, every school in the Metro area is closed today. Admittedly, our two-five inches of snow is nothing compared to what some places in the country are going through, but it seems like a big deal to us. 

Looking out my living room window at the snowflakes and enjoying the coziness of my blanket, couch and fireplace makes me happy. 

I still wish it was June, though. Like, the third week of June. 

- Ms. J 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Groups of Two

Doing the multiplication thing currently. Talking about groups of two today. Asked "What are some things that come in groups of two?" 

Got some pretty typical answers. Gloves. Earrings. Hands. Eyes. Legs. Ears. 


.......... Ah yes, thank you, Hostess, for helping my students understand multiplication. 

- ms. J