Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Projects Over Break

I decided to get some serious cleaning and organizing done over break. Before the school year started, I never had time to get rid of all the stuff left to me by the teacher whose position I filled. So I'm doing it now! 

Check out what I found in the pocket of a binder (I didn't check to see if they were winners I just threw them away). 
I'm sure the custodian loves me right now. When I got to the school yesterday, they had just waxed all the floors. Well, after all my rearranging, the floors aren't so shiny. Oh well. It was going to happen eventually anyway. 

This is how the room looked when I left yesterday. Sometimes you have to create a total disaster to actually create some order. 
And check out these cute foam penguins I found at Target! I am writing their names in metallic sharpie and will make a cute winter bulletin board with them. The boys have bow ties and the girls have hair bows. This is just an example - Fred is a make-believe student in my class :) 
Well anyway. I am getting excited about the next few months! We are going to get so much learning done!!! 

-ms. J 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Break!

Yay! Winter Break!!!! 18 days of bliss. 

We had such a calm last day today. I determined that all my students celebrate Christmas, so I brought out the Christmas music and Christmas picture books. We hosted a party for our fifth grade buddy class, then ended the day reading The Polar Express. 

Some funnies: 

- today, a little one hugged me and said, "I'm gonna miss you so much!" I silently repented for lying as I replied, "I'll miss you, too." 

- I got a Starbucks gift card today from a little girl. About four hours later, she asked me what my plans for break were. I responded that I was going to sleep in. She said, "Oh, and you can drink coffeeeeeee from Starbucks toooooo!" Haha yes. I guess I didn't make as big of a deal about her present as she was expecting. 

Today was so nice and chill. I loved it. 

Of course, after school, the party began. The teachers gathered together to sing a teacher version of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," and of course, there was the wheelie chair race down the hall. I of course, was the mature one and did not skip down the halls singing Christmas carols. 

Ok, maybe just one song... 

- Ms. J

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This time of year, teachers typically are given gifts. They also typically give out gifts. I gave each of my students a book - they got to choose the one they wanted. Much better than candy, people. Just saying. 

I thought I would share a few of the gifts I received. I chose these for various reasons, which will be explained along with each picture. 

Isn't that a cute little arrangement? My families are so creative and thoughtful! 

This snowman (with bath salts) was made by this family - how adorable is that?!? And the little sibling picked some seeds for me. Can we say awww?

This kid drives me crazy sometimes with his antics but he was so proud of his gift! And of course I love it!

I told my students that the thing I value most is little cards and notes. Here's one that makes me laugh so hard - how cute is this???
- Ms. J 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sick Day

Yeah, I know it's only 2 days before winter break, but I don't feel good, so I stayed home. 

Well, actually, I tried to stay home but no subs were available. So I went to work, only to be sent home by my principal, who said, "we have a plan." 

I guess the plan was getting our reading specialist to take my class. Which I feel really bad about, in case you wondered. 

While I was waiting for her to get there, I watched the custodian come and sanitize everything in my classroom. I guess that was part of the plan, too. 

I'm not THAT sick, but I am glad they sent me home. I've slept a lot, and been taking plenty of Vitamin C. 

Going back to sleep now, 
- Ms. J

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Third Grade Spelling

The spelling cracks me up sometimes. I asked this kid to explain why he thought this was a line not a line segment or ray. 
Derwekchuns - I can sense that there was a lot of difficulty spelling directions. Maybe that should be on the word wall... 

Oh! Btw, one of the kids told me he was giving me diamond earrings for Christmas (haha kids always say goofy things like that). One of the other kids said, "wait a minute, I've never seen you wear earrings." I said, "yeah, I don't wear earrings. My ears aren't even pierced." But I'll be glad to sell the earrings if you give them to me! Cha-Ching! 

Oh my. Such funny kids. Gotta love em.... Most of the time. 

I'm trying a new system with my most challenging student - it worked Friday! I'll have to keep going and see if it continues to be successful. And then I'll tell y'all about it. Because if it works, my life just got soooooo much easier. 

Very glad there are only four days left until winter break (we can do this, people!) 

- Ms. J 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Slight Exaggeration?

One of my darlings has a hard time deciphering between her very active imagination and reality at times. Today she was telling me about how she spilled glue on her desk in kindy and it made a big mess. It took quite a lot of work to clean it up. 

I stopped her. "I don't believe you." 

"You don't?"

"Nope. I don't believe it took the WHOLE CLASS to pull your paper off your desk, and it couldn't have taken 15 days to pull it off."

"Oh. Well, maybe that was a slight exaggeration." 

Haha. Yeah maybe so. 

- Ms. J, lie-buster 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Wanna Be a Teacher...

One of my kids told me this week, "I wanna be a teacher so I can make the kids do a bunch of work and I can sit at my desk all day and say, 'Stop talking and be quiet!'" 

Hahaha! If only it were that easy!

-Ms. J 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Note to Self

Leave blinds in classroom closed today. If it snows, all chaos breaks loose in the classroom (I've learned the hard way). 
If only it said 90% chance... I sure would love a 2 hour delay or something! 

-Ms. J, wanting to stay in my warm, cozy bed

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Our class gets Scholastic News every week, which is a newspaper for kids. The kids love it, because it usually has cool stories. I also enjoy it, because the kids enjoy it. There are also comprehension questions on the last page of the newspaper so the kids can practice the comprehension strategies I've been teaching them. We read the newspaper right before lunch, when the kids are too hungry to do much learning. 

This week's main article was about monkeys. One of the vocabulary words was primates. The kids were working independently on the questions. One vocab question on the back said, "humans, apes and monkeys are part of the _______ group." The answer they wanted was the word primates. (I didn't write the questions - I try to stay away from controversial subjects that don't really belong in third grade). 

Well, they didn't get the answer they wanted from one of my students. He raised his hand, and said quite vehemently, "Ms. J, this isn't the right answer, because we did NOT evolve from monkeys!" 

I told him he could cross off the word humans so the sentence would say "apes and monkeys are part of the primate group." He used so much lead to cross that word out - it was hilarious. I also noticed he wore his cross necklace outside his shirt (instead of tucked inside) for the rest of the day. 

I must say - I am very proud of him for standing up for what he believes. Not many third graders would do that. 

I'm also kind of annoyed with Scholastic news - let's keep those discussions out of school until later years. 

-Ms. J. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's That Time of Year

Time to start dressing warmly! Being in an old school building, one never knows if it's going to be warm or cold in the classroom, so layers are a must. Brrr!
The plus side is: we might get a snow day next week! Pleeeaaaassee let it snow! :)
- ms. J

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reasons to be Thankful

A Teachers Guide to Being Thankful

1- conferences are over 
2- fall report cards are done
3- parents are being wonderfully understanding about the switch to proficiency-based grading 
4- this is the first 5 day weekend we've had since August 
5- there are only 14 school days until winter break

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! - Ms. J

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

First-ever Conferences

Our district did two 12 hour days of conferences yesterday and today. I am exhausted. 

Overall, a big majority of my families were able to attend conferences. Only one yelled at me, so I must be doing a decent job. Most people seemed happy with what we are doing in class. Many said their child is happy and progressing, which is really all that matters. One family made sure I knew, even through a language barrier, that they are grateful for what I am doing for their child. 

So my first year of conferences went well (mostly). I smiled a lot, and tried to lead parents through the new proficiency-based report cards we have to report on Common Core. (Yeah - try telling someone whose kid has always gotten S+ or A that a 2 is right where their kid should be, even on a scale of 1-4. It's a hard concept to wrap your brain around). 

Y'all that wanna be teachers, just be warned. Conferences are super stressful, because you never know how a family is going to act, react or overreact. Conferences can also be really awesome ways to connect with your families and let them know you care about their kid. 

I enjoyed meeting my families. I'm glad the majority of them were not angry about the new report cards. I'm glad I only have about 5 conferences that I need to reachedule. And I'm really especially glad that I'm now officially on a five day break. 

- Ms. J 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Little House in the Big Woods

Doing some grading, and came across this. 
Not quite sure what that means, but ok! 

-Ms. J, laughing

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's a Girl Thing

I wore a belt over my sweater today. It was a super cute outfit. 

One little boy asked me, "Ms. J why are you wearing a belt like that?" 

I said, "it matches my boots." 

He still looked totally puzzled, "I don't get it."

A little girl said, "I get it. It's cute, Ms. J." 

It must be a girl thing. 

- Ms. J

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Celebrate Success

Sometimes, in the middle of craziness (can anyone say report cards?), there is a perfectly bright spot to light up a stressful world. 

Like today. I was so worried that our first field trip would be a huge issue. I mean, y'all have heard about my class and the crazy stunts they pull - and typically, kids act out on a field trip. So I was pretty worried. 

And yet, it was a fabulous trip. We had a ton of fun (who doesn't love a Magic Treehouse book dramatized into a musical featuring jazz music and haunted blacksmith shops?), and they were so well-behaved! We came back, and even got some meaningful learning in! 

I was so happy. I managed to look like a competent teacher in front of the parent chaperones! There was no blood, throwing up, or fighting. It was so nice. 

Sometimes, I feel like I'm actually a good teacher. Sometimes. 

- Ms. J, the competent one

Monday, November 11, 2013

Avoidance Tactics

Some people will do anything to get out of a task. Like clean the whole house, do fifteen loads of laundry, and cook up a bunch of food to avoid doing grading. And then, when they've done all that, they start texting people and seeing what they're doing, "hey you busy? I'm bored." 


- Ms. J (anyone up for a game of parcheesi?)

Report Cards

Did you know teachers don't get a lot of time off? In fact, there is no such thing as vacation time. Probably because we get Thanksgiving break and Winter break and Spring break and Summer break. 

Anyway, teachers get a lot of sick leave (our district gives us 10 paid sick days), and we have 3 personal days. The personal days have to be approved by the building administrator. They are not supposed to be "vacation," but can fall under various categories including family or religious. 

Well, in my family, it is not an option about whether we attend West Coast Conference. We always go. I haven't missed one in over ten years. (Btw shout out to those that read my blog and want to enter the teaching profession even after all the stories I share!) So when I requested the time off, I listed it as religious (because it is). 

The problem was, I missed an in service day/work day about how to fill out the new report cards and time to do them. They were supposed to be due first thing Tuesday morning. 

I didn't totally procrastinate, but the kids didn't finish their narrative writing samples before I left, so I knew I would be spending several hours on Veterans Day grading and doing report cards. I also wouldn't get any of the training on how to fill the report cards out. 

Well, guess what? The district had some difficulties along the way, so they moved the report card deadline to Friday. 
Wahoo! Now I don't have to grade 27 narrative writing samples in one sitting today. (Because, let's be honest, that's just painful). 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Consider the Source

During a lesson by the counselor, one of my students announced to her that, "Our teacher yells at us all the time!" 

Pan to the teacher, sitting at her desk, thinking, "great, now the counselor is going to think all I do is yell at these kids and I totally don't!"

But remember to consider the source, teacher. This kid accusing you of yelling "all the time," is the same kid who never finishes any work in class, is always off task, and distracts the class. This is the kid who, this morning during an open textbook test, sat on his textbook and scooted across the floor, and then when you said something to him, said, "You said to take the test - I'm taking a driving test!" 

Just for the record, I do not yell. There are times I have to talk loudly, but I do not yell. DID YOU HEAR ME?? I. DONT. YELLLLLLLL!!!!

- Ms. J :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


We were having a serious discussion today before lunch. The kids were focused and engaged. One of the kids was sharing his opinion, when all of a sudden I hear....


I looked over, and one of my students, Bob* had spilled some water from his water bottle on his desk. He had his head down on the desk, trying to slurp up the water. 

I couldn't help it. I laughed. I laughed myself to tears. 

Teaching 3rd grade is definitely not boring. 

- Ms. "Slurrrrp" J

Monday, October 21, 2013

Where's the camera when I need it??

I wish I had gotten a picture of this one...

I was teaching reading today, and one of the kids says, "Ms. J, Fred* is under your desk, painting!" So I get to a stopping place and walk over to my desk. Lo and behold, Fred* was under my desk, painting. Fred* had gotten into the classroom supplies, pulled out some paints, and was painting a masterpiece.  

The best part? Fred was painting the floor. Literally. The tile was pink and blue. 

So I took the paint away, and said, "Fred*, we do not paint the floor!" So Fred* cleaned up the mess (before I got a picture!), and I went back to teaching. 

About five minutes later, I caught Fred* under my desk, painting again. I was pretty upset at this point, because Fred* was being a distraction. When I scolded Fred*, he got a wounded look on his face. "Ms. J, you said I couldn't paint the floor. I got paper this time!" 

You're right. I should have said, "we are not painting today." 

It's really not funny, but after they went to music, I laughed myself silly. 

-Ms. J

*names, dates, places, and all other incriminating evidence (just kidding about that part) changed for obvious reasons of keeping the teacher's sanity

Friday, October 18, 2013


My students crack me up. 

I've started charging them "paws" (our PBIS tickets - they get them for being safe, respectful and responsible) to go to the bathroom. Yesterday, a boy came up to me, "Ms. J, I really have to go to the bathroom but I don't have a paw." I said, "oh, really? What happened to the fistful you had this morning?" And he said, "Man! You're good at this!" 

Hahahaha! Yes, I have superpowers. 

The best part was that he tried it again today! 

Ahhhh, third grade. 

-Ms. J 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's Gonna be a Brighter Day

I hope y'all are be-bopping to that song playing in your mind right now. 

Today was a brighter day. The day after a horrible day is usually really good - probably because the kids are scared of what you might do if they are naughty. 

I did sign my contract, in case anyone's wondering. 

I'm still frustrated, though. Frustrated with the stuff that teachers go through all the time - the stuff that we have to deal with so we can do what we want to do (in case you dont know what that is, the answer is teach). 

Well, the problem may not be fixed by what I am currently eating and drinking, but I sure am happy at the moment!

-Ms. J

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No bad days...?

I wish I could say that I am such a positive person that days like today wouldn't be so frustrating to me. Unfortunately, I am human (at least that's what my birth certificate says), and days like today really get me upset. 

When kids blatantly disregard directions, encourage others to do the wrong thing, and have no respect for authority, it makes me mad. Probably because they influence others to make bad choices, with no regard for the consequences. I've met 5th graders at the end of the school year with this attitude, but it's always a little concerning when a young student displays this attitude so early in the school year. 

I just got my contract today, and (I'll be honest), the first thought that crossed my mind was, "if I don't sign it, I can quit tomorrow." 

I'm just glad I am surrounded by such a supportive staff, a great principal, and my wonderful family. 

I'm still tired of writing referrals, though. 

- exhausted and in need of chocolate (send it to my classroom by the truckload, please), Ms. J

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


In my class, I give compliments to kids doing the right thing. They get a star on their star chart whenever they get a compliment. I also have times when students are allowed to give compliments to their classmates. The kids have a ton of buy in with this, and it's really helped my classroom management. 

Last night, I dreamt that we were giving compliments, and one kid raised their hand and said, "I want to compliment the teacher, because she's not crabby today." 

I told the class today, and they laughed and said, "well, yeah." Like I'm crabby all the time? I guess I need to work on that... I thought I was a positive, upbeat teacher! Guess I thought wrong. 

I must not be too horrible, though, because I got a poem today. 
"Roses are red, violets are blue, candy is sweet, and I love you! P.s. As my teacher." Hahahaha she wanted to clarify that she loved me as her teacher - love it! 

- crabby ms. J :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bad Sub

I was out sick today. Nasty virus. Yuck. 

The sub I got was randomly selected by our sub finding system. Heard some bad reports.... Kids completely out of control, screaming, etc. He had the IAs round up the kids after lunch so he could take recess time away from all of them. 

Really?? That's ridiculous. Makes me not want to be out ever again. 

- ms. J

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

For me??

Look at this! My own personal, signed copy of "ivy and bean"! A student got it for me. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Teacher planning day

We had a planning day today. I met with my mentor for 4 hours during this time. She really is amazing. I don't think I'll ever be that great. 

Because I met with her for part of the day, I had to get work done before today. I spent 10 hours Saturday planning and working, and then today totaled 12 hours. 

Yet I'm still not prepared for this week. How is this possible? 

Coffee. Need coffee. 

-Ms. J 

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's hard sometimes...

Teaching can be so hard for ones heart. I work with such disadvantaged kids, and they need so much love and attention and support. I have a couple boys that beg to hold my hand every time we walk in a line. A girl that needs constant affirmation or she starts being naughty. A little one who has a rough home life and draws pictures of me constantly. 

Being a teacher is hard. For a lot of kids, I'm the only stable adult in their lives; the one responsible for giving them the tools they need to succeed in life; the only one that shows them positive attention; the only female figure in their life. 

I try to do my best to be positive and loving. And then, I try hard not to think about what these kids go home to... Or if they have a home to go to at all... 

I can only do so much. I didn't think it was possible to care this much about children that aren't related to me. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I've been having a really tough time with management. It's a pretty typical problem for new teachers. My principal knew how frustrated I was, and managed to snag a mentor for me (my principal is very supportive and totally non-judgmental about the challenges I'm having). It required my mentor coming and observing me (I was super stressed about it). She was in my room yesterday for 4 hours, watching me, and taking a million notes. She is a wonderful lady, with a lot of great ideas. 

I implemented a couple ideas today, and they worked! It was amazing to see how some of the kids I was starting to think of as troublemakers were making amazing choices and being strong leaders. 

One girl, who has lately been making some bad choices, offered to be my timekeeper today with her One Direction watch. She told me, "I like being responsible." I heard several kids today whispering to their neighbor, "do the right thing!" (Which happens to be our class motto right now). 

I will say, though, management is really exhausting with this group. To really get them where I want them, I have to manage with a level of energy that is extremely hard to maintain. I thought to myself, "they're reading to self - why am I tired?!?!" It will eventually get easier as they get accustomed to the "Ms. J Way." 

For now, though, I am tired. 

By the way, got that first paycheck! Hellloooooo money!

.... Hello taxes. Goodbye money. 

-Ms. J

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Discovery... Not for the faint of heart

If you're easily grossed out, don't look at the picture below of what I found on my library rug. 

For those of you that aren't quite sure what you're looking at, that's bloody snot (I'm not swearing). Someone picked their nose and smeared it on the rug. 

But then, I got the sweetest note ever, addressed to "the best teacher in the world."

So I guess I'll forgive the nose picker...

Still gross, though. 

- Ms. J

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Open House

Survived my first open house. No parent conflict so far - yay! In fact, here is a super adorable story a parent told me tonight. 

Mom and Dad were going on a date night, and one of my students told his mom he wanted to do her hair "like Ms. J's." she said he told her "mom, you should wear your hair like this more often - you look pretty." 

Isn't that adorable?!?!? 

- ms. J

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Just for the record, my class is super chatty and wiggly. We are working on silent work time and following directions the first time. It's pretty exhausting, but they are super super cute and sweet kids. They can sit and work quietly for about 6 minutes so far. 

So, just imagine my surprise and delight today when they sat down to work on unfinished work quietly, and were completely on task and focused. I didn't want to breathe for fear that the magical spell would break. 

I looked up, and noticed our superintendent peeking into the classroom (this is a common practice in our district), and then the head of the HR department stuck his head in. 

I was so happy that all my kids were working and focused! Talk about an intimidating audience! Yes, miracles do happen. 

- ms. J

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An hour isn't long...

I have a very long morning, with no recess or break. At about 10:30, the kids always start asking when lunch is. Today, a kid asked, and I responded it was an hour till lunch. He groaned, like that was an impossibly long time. A classmate didn't think it was long at all, though, because this is what she said. 

"An hour isn't long. That's two shows!" 

Ah, yes. This is how television has impacted our kids. 

-Ms. J

Monday, September 9, 2013

Funniest Compliment Ever

I get lots of compliments from my students - they usually like my hair, my skirt, my shirt, shoes, etc. 

Today I got the most hilarious compliment ever! One little girl complimented me on my left eyebrow. She said she liked how pointy the one part was. 

This is funny to me because I have a scar in my left eyebrow that makes one little part "pointy" and disconnected from the rest of the eyebrow. Most people that notice think I made a mistake plucking my eyebrows. But not this little girl - she likes my goofy eyebrow! 

Gotta love third grade observations :)
-ms. J 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 1? Done.

Finished the first day. Didn't get to half of the stuff I wanted to do. Amazed that 26 kids could talk so much (four were absent). Throat tired and sore from talking so much. Legs aching. Whole body is totally exhausted. Hungry cuz guess who didn't eat her lunch?

But I must say, MY CLASS IS SO STINKIN ADORABLE!!!!!!!!! Love em so much - so cute!

And look what I got this morning? Super fun! 
One of my boys was waiting for the bus today (his bus was over 30 minutes late) and he asked one of the teachers "you know what time it is? Time to get a new bus driver!" 

- exhausted, ms. J

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Night Before School Starts

'tis the night before school starts,
And all through my room,
Everything is in place,
Right down to the broom

The desks are labeled,
And supplies put away
And activities planned
For the very first day

At home, I finish the final preparations,
Bathroom passes,
Name sticks,
And last minute decorations

My lunch is packed,
Gas tank is full,
Teacher bag's ready,
Finally prepared for the first day of school

But what to my swirling thought process arrives,
A staggering thought that impacts my life
Something I've forgotten and can hardly bear....


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mustache Materials

When I saw the washi tape at Office Depot with mustaches on it, I knew I had to use it somehow, somewhere in my room. So I figured out Mustache Materials. 

just as a disclaimer to all of you out there that are scandalized - I do not advocate the growth or wearing of mustaches (on men or women) it is merely a fun poke at modern culture's obsession with mustaches. 

I think my "I mustache you to return your supplies" idea is really cute and fun (and as our new school counselor says, "very hip"). 

A lot of people in the building have made an effort to come visit my room at the end of the hallway that is at the end of the hallway (that's not a typo, I promise). This is a friendly and welcoming bunch, and they are all curious to see what the new girl is doing in that funny-shaped room. They all comment on how cute my room is, and usually say something about the colors, etc. 

But only ONE person has commented on the mustache materials. 

Which makes me wonder. Do they think I have a super cheesy sense of humor? Do they think it will be lost on my 3rd graders? Do they not approve of being "hip"? Do they not get the joke?

I really shouldn't obsess about one single bulletin board and supply table like this, but I'm proud of that pun! It's always nice when people appreciate my puns... 

I guess I have to be happy with enjoying that pun all by myself. Makes me hesitant to use puns elsewhere, though. Like my bulletin board in the hallway... Our school mascot has paws, and my bulletin board almost said, "Pawsitive 3rd grade" or something cheesy like that... But I showed restraint. 

- ms. J 

Friday, August 23, 2013

More Evolving

This set-up process is exhausting. I think the biggest part is just how overwhelming everything is. Just when I think I've finally figured out what I'm supposed to do and how I will do it, something comes up that totally changes my plans. 

For example, today I felt like I was finally done papering walls, and was feeling pretty confident about the layout of the room. (Just for the record, I am being minimalistic in my decorating for several reasons - none of which are because I am too lazy to paper the whole wall). 

So here is what I had accomplished. 
Isn't my desk area cute? Yes, that is Einstein up there...

My funny wall (I plan to cover up that big gash in the wall)

Supplies desk
Mustache materials are supplies they have to return. The sign says "I mustache you to return your supplies"

So I was feeling pretty confident about how the room was looking. Then one of my team members walks in and says "don't forget, we teach calendar so you need a wall for calendar!"

Well, that was new information for me (I'm glad she told me!) so I had to find a big spot for calendar. I ended up moving my cubbies outside the classroom to make space for the calendar. 


I'm not really a fan of my calendar area, but I guess it's ok. I think it's ok for me to admit calendar is something I don't like to teach - really not my thing. But hey, if that's the only thing I don't like about my job, I am doing pretty good. 

I don't think I'll post any more pictures of the room - don't want people to get too bored :) by the way, I left the crazy corner from yesterday the way it is. I'm pretending I did it on purpose. 

-Ms. J 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Classroom Evolution

I'm sure y'all wanna see pictures of my classroom. 

I've been working on the room for a day and a half. Yesterday, I just sat and stared at the walls and the room for a solid hour. My room is not a simple rectangular room, so I have to be creative. 
Anyway, I started today with moving a bunch of stuff around, adding 6 more desks, (I have at least 31), and getting a kidney table from the custodian! 

The second picture above shows my funny corner wall. I decided to make the right side of that corner my library, and then the left side of that corner is my math wall. 

They look great don't they? Ditzy me did not think to measure properly. So the end result is this:
I don't want to think about the work it takes to redo those walls, but I keep thinking about how that corner is gonna drive me crazy this year... 

-Ms. J, tired

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's official

Thought I'd share the crazy way I got this job. It really was all orchestrated by God, and I give Him all the glory for giving me the right position at the right time. He really is amazing, and it's wonderful to know I am in His will. 

I had an interview for a 7th grade math position two weeks ago. It was my first real interview (I've had interviews with private and charter schools but not with an actual school district), and I did not interview well. When the principal called me to tell me they had hired someone else, I asked for some advice for my next interview (which was scheduled for a couple days later). He told me to brag on myself, "you are a great teacher, you've had great experiences, and you have great ideas but you didn't tell us any of that." 

I also was advised to find 5 adjectives that describe myself, and use those in the interview. 

So Thursday, 8/15, I went to that interview armed with 5 adjectives and determined to brag. They commented that the five adjectives were a great thing to add to the interview. I had no idea how the interview went, but they called me 3 hours later for a second interview the next day.

Again, it was hard to figure out how the interview went, but I could tell they really liked me (always a plus). I went home, expecting to have a suspenseful weekend of not knowing. 

At 6:30pm Friday night, one of my references texted me and said she had just been called by the principal for a reference check. Which, of course, threw me into a tizzy because I thought, "they're working on it over the weekend - maybe they'll call me before next week!"

Saturday, I got an email from the principal asking if she could call me. Of course, I said that was completely fine. She called me and offered me the 3rd grade position! I said, "oh I love it!" (I had been hoping to be hired for 3rd but was sure they were considering me for 4th). She asked, "does that mean you accept?" Haha yes!

So my paperwork is going through now. I have new teacher training Wednesday, and I'm going to be setting up my room Thursday and Friday. Monday is the beginning of teacher work days, and then school starts in just two weeks!

I still cannot believe that I am actually going to be a "real" teacher! My position is temporary for this year only, meaning I will be unemployed in June, but I finally am getting that much-sought-after, but hard-to-attain experience!!! (And consistent paychecks!)

I have so much to learn this year, and so much to do in the next two weeks, but I am flat-out loving it! 

I also have to figure out what to do with this blog, since I'm no longer a sub... Ideas welcome! 

-Ms. J, third grade teacher (did you guys know that third has always been my favorite grade? This is really and truly my ultimate dream job) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


(Insert happy dance here)

I got a job, people! A for-real job! 

Third grade :)

-ms. J, employed :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Had an interview last week, which was awesome. Sometimes, it seems like the hardest part about getting a job is landing the interview. 

(Though I was questioning my sanity for even applying for a 7th grade math position, but I think the state of my sanity is obvious...)

It was a great experience for me, and I learned a lot. The phone call came today, letting me know that they chose another person for the position. The principal was so nice, though. I could tell he had been impressed with me - kept referring to how young and knowledgable I am. He gave me some great pointers on my interview skills, mostly "be confident in your abilities, girl! Brag on yourself!"

So, armed with the knowledge that I'm a great teacher, I am prepping for another interview this week. Guess what I'm doing? Making a list of things I can say to "brag on myself." One of the things I am writing down is "I have great ideas," which of course calls for examples of great ideas... Anyone have any great ideas? :)

( just kidding - I already have a list of those, too... But I'll still take yours :)

I cannot believe that I could potentially have my own room this year - how scary is that?!?! But, also, HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE?!?!?!? 

(Of course, then there would be no more stories from a sub... And I haven't been offered any position, yet... And I may not be offered a position... But I can't help thinking... And hoping... And praying... And trying not to get my hopes up too much... And failing... Haha)

- Ms. J, the one with great ideas :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


So, I am not QUITE sure what I was thinking when I agreed to do VBS at my church this summer...

Those kids are crazy! We have ages 3-12, and it's insane. The older kids spent a couple hours building a fort out of duct tape and cardboard today, and two 4-year-olds destroyed it in less than 5 minutes. Ah, life! They are definitely entertaining, and they keep my team of adult and teenage teachers on their toes!

Our theme is the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance). One cutie was trying to read the verse, and read the word goodness as "God's Knees." My teenage helpers died laughing. It was super cute.

That theme has been great, though - when my little ones get out of control, I say, "You need to work on temperance," and they say, "Self-control!" (so far no one has mentioned how I need to work on longsuffering... haha)

One little one found a bug, and was fascinated with it. Some of the older kids tried to squish it, to which a little girl cried out, "It's nature! Nature has to live or else it won't grow!"

One kid told us that at another VBS, he learned about "Jesus the Dragon Slayer." He also informed me that Jonah lived in a tent.

One little girl can't figure out all our names, so she just calls all us ladies, "Mrs." It's an effective way to getting all our attention at once, I suppose.

My teenage helpers have been so awesome - it's amazing how much influence they have on younger kids! I also have some wonderful adults that are really doing great stuff with the kids! They even took over for me this morning so I could go to an interview (yeah, I had one - first one this summer!)

I still think I was crazy to say I would do it, though.

~Ms. J (Or "Mrs." according to that little girl)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Lice and Sunday School

I had lice nightmares the other night. I had three different people check my hair three different times. I bought mayonnaise and shower caps just in case. 

Turns out, the alleged lice issue was not an issue at all. The little one that was supposedly the problem is lice-free. 


So, imagine my itchiness today, when I was a "guest speaker" at a day camp, and a kid mentioned that "I never wash my hair and I have eggs in my hair and I'm used to the itch."

I think I'll be sitting over here, thanks. Please don't hug me goodbye. 

Funny SS story. A kid asked what preaching is, and I said "it's what pastor does" and one of the kids says "it's what you're doing right now!" 

So apparently, I'm a preacher now, too. Add that to the resume, I will (Yoda speak is already on it). 

I hope you are laughing, because I'm entertaining myself quite a bit with this. 

-"preacher" J

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Subbing

This is very amusing to me - I have been subbing quite a bit this summer! But not in a typical school environment; instead, I am subbing for Sunday school teachers at my church! (And they keep going on vacation!)

One time, while talking about the "wiles of the devil," a kid said, "drinking alcohol is a wile of the devil." Another kid says, "hey, I just wanna apologize, because I didn't know when I got dressed that I was coming to church and I'm sorry I'm wearing a Coors Light shirt." 


One little girl gave me a picture frame "that's been in our family for generations!" Clearly, it hasn't been, but that's ok. 

So, I said, "well, are you sure you want to give something so special to me?" (Clever way of trying to not take this home, I thought!) 

She responded, "oh no, you're like part of our family!" I am?

"Yeah, you pick us up for church, and you give us rides home, and you're kind, and you go to our church, and you're special." 

Aww. That's really cute. 

We also had a bit of a lice scare this last week. (Everyone, start scratching NOW). I had to fumigate my car, just in case (that car has been exposed to a lot of precious little heads), and had two different people check my head. I'm clean. Whew!

Lice free and lovin life - Ms. J

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Love Pi!

Please don't try to insult me by calling me a math nerd - it's kind of a compliment in my world. 

One of my favorite days ever is Pi Day (aka March 14). I'm really excited for Pi Day in 2015, because the date will be 3.14.15!! 

Anyway. Someone sent this picture to me, and I absolutely love it! So awesome!

On vacay, Ms. J (hey that rhymes!)

Monday, June 10, 2013

1st, 6/10

Really sweet group of kids! I really enjoyed my time with them today. It was especially nice because today was my last scheduled day. It's nice to end the school year with a sweet class. They were pretty comical, too. 

One kid asked me, "do you have kids?" Nope. "Do you have a husband?" Nope. "Do you have a MOM?!?!?" Haha yes dear, I do. 

There were some problems, which included tattling. However, it was more funny than annoying. 

For instance, a little girl says, "Ms. J! Micah is bossing us around!" Then another kid says, "Ms. J! Micah is bothering us while we're reading!" And then Micah says, "Ms. J! They're tattling!" 

I couldn't help it. It probably wasn't nice of me, but I laughed. 

Then, after school, the secretary told me to go home thirty minutes early - I wasn't going to argue! 

Happy end of the school year! -Ms. J

Friday, June 7, 2013

2nd, 6/7

This class was very tiring, but very sweet. Reminded me a lot of my class last year, because it was mostly sweet kids but there were a few wild ones that made the whole class seem crazy. 

When we went outside for our extra recess, I had some kids sit on the side for most or all of the time. I have never thought of doing it this way, but it's a perfect way to award the kids that are good while the naughty ones sit and think for a while (probably about how mean Ms. J is). But hey, most of the kids loved me.

One mom told me her daughter came home yesterday and said, "Mom, we had the BEST sub ever!" Awww. 

As a sub, if you happen to get "that" class (every school has one - the class that is most challenging), it's going to be hard. However, if you do a good job, people really notice. People will come by the room and ask for your card, compliment you to the principal, and tell you they are happy to see you in the building. And you get a reputation for being a "good manager." 

(Which usually leads to more requests to sub in challenging classes, and the cycle begins again)

It's Friday - I'm tired and ready for the weekend!!!

-Ms. J

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2nd, 6/6

Same class today and tomorrow. Sweet kids, though they are very... Uh... Impulsive and energetic. 

Apparently, they've been naughty for subs in the past. I saw a little of that this afternoon, but wasn't too surprised by their behavior. Especially when I considered that it was about 90 degrees in that classroom, with no air conditioning, no outside door to prop open, and no ability to open any windows. So I pulled out my "ace up the sleeve," had them grab a silent reading book, and walked outside onto the playground. We had read to self time in the breeze, then played for a little. 

One teacher told the principal that I was a d--- good sub. Well, thank you... I think. 

-Ms. J (4 days left of school!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

1,2,3,4 6/4

I am counting my blessings that I am getting to work all this week and one day next week, considering the fact that next Wednesday is the last day of school. 

For the most part, kids have a hard time focusing at the end of the year (as do I - hello summer vacation!) but they are also really trained in the routines of the classroom, and know what is expected of them. So far, my experience with end-of-the-year subbing has been good, with just a couple students having issues. 

Today I taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades as a roving sub. Essentially, the building hires 3 or 4 subs to cover each grade level for an hour or so, to provide the teaching teams time to plan for next year. It's not too bad of a gig - the plus side is if you get a hyperactive class (like the first graders I had), you are only there for an hour. However, if you have a nice class, like the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders I had, you wish you could stay longer with them. 

-Ms. J

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cool Stuff

Instead of posting about my day of ELD with a student teacher yesterday, or my half day of kindy today, I thought I would share some pictures I took of some things I really liked in a first grade classroom I was in recently. 

This "share pass" is great - as the kids are working on writing, these can be passed out. Then, at the carpet, the people with share passes are the ones who share their writing. 

Word wall rainbow writing. They use dice, and write their word wall words in different colors. They are allowed to make colorful outlines of the words, or trace the words. It looks really fun, as you can see below!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1/2, 5/28

Same class as 5/15. They must have been really tired after this long weekend, because they were angelic!

Same kid that blatantly lied to me last time was trying to tell me something, and said, "you should believe me, because I'm not a liar." I'm sorry, did I just choke trying not to laugh?

He also tried my patience so much that I sent him into the hall. His teacher has him count to 100 and then come back into the classroom. He asked, "Ms. J, do I count to 100?" I was so frustrated I responded, "Count to 1,000!" A few minutes later, he was escorted back into the room by the teacher across the hall, who explained to me he was counting at the top of his lungs. 

The kids were all stretching a lot today, and I kept thinking they were raising their hand. Finally, I said, "you guys should have signs or something that say 'I'm stretching'." 

Well, as you can see in the picture, a cute little guy decided to make himself a sign, complete with first grade spelling. Then he proceeded to stretch constantly, just so he could use his sign. 

Gotta love em. I'm glad we had a better day today. 

-Ms. J (I forgot to tell them my new name is Ms. Jackie!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

SLC 5/23

Super cute and fun group of kids.

One little one was working on letter sounds and got to the letter G, and couldn't remember what it was. I said, G and G says "guh." Kiddo says "guh! Guitar!" and immediately started playing air guitar. So funny. 

Another one had just come back from speech. The SLP is a woman about thirty-five, about my size and height, and with light hair. This sweetheart looks at me and asks, "are you ms. B's mom?" So funny!

One kid forgot what my name was, which is pretty common. I heard a conversation with an aide, "I wanna talk to Ms. Jackie!" I had no idea who Ms. Jackie was until, surprise! Kiddo came to talk to me! 

I like my new name, it's really cute. 

-Ms. Jackie

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

1st, 5/22

Dear teachers,

Please include in your lesson plans some list of behavior challenges and ways to cope with these challenges. 

Sincerely, The Sub

No heads up about the naughty kids in this class - none! I would have liked to know that the kid who started to upend tables had a tendency to do so.... It might have helped me out some. 

I also would have liked to know some ways to handle certain kids' behavior... I asked the kids what their teacher does if they misbehave (because they did - all day long!) and one kid said, "She spanks us!" They howled with laughter over that. 

They wouldn't stop talking. 

That might explain the killer headache I have. 

Of course, being next door to the music room didn't help, either. Apparently it was xylophone day. 

All. Day. Long. 

Summer vacay's almost here - I can do this! -Ms. J 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Middle School Addendum

Sometimes, after a day like yesterday, which makes me wonder if I entered the right profession, something happens that reminds me I am a good teacher, and reminds me of the wonderful parts of my job. 

I had to stop by the middle school on my way home to pick up my iPad, which I left yesterday. The teacher I subbed for yesterday told me that the teachers involved in those incidents yesterday complimented how I handled the situations. 

A student stopped me in the hall, and said, "Ms. J, is your grandma ok?" 

Yesterday, during 6th period, I got a text saying my gramma was in a cellar, taking shelter from the tornado in Oklahoma. I had mentioned it to a couple kids. This boy, who overheard me tell those kids, was concerned about my grandma and asked if she was ok. That really touched me - how considerate of him to show concern for my family! 

And by the way, Gramma is ok - thank God!

-Ms. J

Monday, May 20, 2013

6th, 5/20

Middle school. What more needs to be said?

I am not cut out to be a middle school teacher. 

It's not that I don't like the kids. I do! And for the most part, they like me, too. 

It's just the whole middle school atmosphere. Like the 8th grader who was sent to my classroom today for a time out and flipped the whole class off when I turned around. 

Or the 6th grader who was playing hooky and standing outside my classroom door making inappropriate sexual gestures at the kids in my class. 

(I guess that sentence is redundant - any sexual gesture is inappropriate). 

Anyway... It's over. That's the important thing. 

-Ms. J

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I forgot a funny story from today. 

Student A went to the bathroom. A few minutes later, Student B asked to go to the bathroom. Student B has to have a bathroom buddy, so I sent Student C along. About five minutes later, the three of them came back. Student C came over to tell me what happened in the bathroom. 

On the way to the bathroom, C and B saw A coming back from the bathroom. A decided to go back to the bathroom with B and C because she needed to tell B about something. 

So they are all in the bathroom, and B is washing her hands while she and A talk about boys. They both decide to sit on the sink. 

Now let me pause and explain how these sinks work. They are big basin-type sinks, and there is a big bar on the floor that, when pushed with a foot, makes the faucets turn on. 

Back to the story. So the two girls are sitting on the sink talking about boys when A jumps off the sink and her foot lands on the bar below. 

Student B's backside got soaked. 

I was wondering why she kept tugging her shirt down...

I guess the moral of the story is: Be sure your sins will find you out. 

Either that, or don't sit on the sink. 

Still laughing, 
- Ms. J

3rd, 5/16

It was crazy hair day. The teacher left me a note saying some girls were coming in early to do her hair crazy and that I should tell the girls she would make it up to them. 

"Sorry girls!"

"Ms. J can we do your hair?"

"Uh, I guess."

"Cool! Here's some hair ties that look slightly ominous, and lets braid Ms. J's hair into a million little braids, but we aren't very good at braids, so we will end up tying her hair in knots! Ms. J is gonna look fabulous!"

Ok, slight elaboration on their part of the dialogue. But hey, this is called creative writing, right??

Wish I had taken a picture of my "braids" that really looked like dreadlocks. Took me about 20 minutes to take it all out. 

Oh, yeah, and I'm super paranoid about lice. My head's been itching all day. It's probably all psychological, but I ain't taking any chances. 

Pardon me while I go wash my hair with kerosene. 

-Ms. J

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

1/2, 5/15

Wow today was chaotic and exhausting. I haven't had a day with this much talking, fighting, tattling and lying in quite a while. 

As a disclaimer, I am not an uncaring, unfeeling teacher. I simply do not have patience for misbehaving, lying and pity parties. (I like to think of it as tough love).

I spent a lot of time saying the things mentioned below. 

"you are being rude/disrespectful."
"mind your own business"
"keep your hands to yourself."
"give me the toy." 
"stop building things with the reading textbooks."
"do you understand what it means to work quietly?"
"how do you think that makes me/your classmates feel?" 
"Why are you lying to me?" 
"I cannot trust you in this spot. Please move."
"Make a good choice or I will make one for you."
"Did you hit him?!?!?"
"Ignore him/her."

I try my best not to simply rant on the bad behavior. I also did a lot of "Freddie is ready to go." "Susie has her book out." "I have five friends who are following directions."

One kid was being awesome all day. I complimented him, and said, "you have had a great day!" His table partner piped up, "he always has great days." I said, "well, I am glad. Sometimes it's good to celebrate that." It was like he didn't think we should honor his friend's awesome behavior because he's always awesome. 

I also had a lot of "substitutitis" today - kids who are "sick" because there is a sub. One girl was laying on the carpet moaning about her stomach. You're fine. Sit up, you're blocking traffic. 

One kid was blatantly lying to me. "Ms. J, my heart is racing and my mom said if that happens I should go to the office." So I checked his pulse. I'm no nurse, but I'm smart enough to know when someone's a chronic health room visitor. "You're fine, go do your work." He protested and I said he could check back with me in five minutes. Five minutes later, "Ms. J, my mom told me that if you told me to wait five minutes that I should listen to you and then go to the office." Um hello, kid??? Your mom didn't know I was going to be here today, you are so lying! Next time at least make your lie believable! 

Tattling was a huge problem, too. Kids tattle about the most ridiculous things! He accidentally knocked over your book? Big deal!

One little cutie pie professed his love for me during math to his table group. I got several students running up to me, "Ms. J, Greg just said he LOVES you!" 

See? Tattling. I hate tattling. Did they think I was going to write him up for saying he loves me?!?!?!? 

Crazy kids. I still love them, though. 

-Ms. J

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2nd, 5/13-14

Same class two days in a row. Super cute kids, and well-behaved (good thing, since they have open classrooms - meaning there are no walls between classrooms - so it's kind of important to be quiet). 

- Two little girls were reading their Bibles during reading time. They refer to them (for fun) as their "Bibbles" (rhymes with kibbles), and were sharing factoids from Moses' law (Ms. J, did you know that if you don't follow the Bible, there will be a famine?)

- One boy noticed a classroom stuffed animal's leg was ripped and the stuffing was coming out. He brought it to me, "teacher, it's bleeding."

- I noticed some kids sitting around doing nothing, "Hey guys, what should you be doing right now?" One kid replies, "Well, I really just want to wander around the room." 

Brownie points for style and honesty, kid, but get back to work. 

-Ms. J

Friday, May 10, 2013

5th, 3rd 5/10

So I did a half day in fifth grade this morning, then drove over to another school to do a half day in third this afternoon. 

I had such fun with those 5th graders - such a great class! Gave them a logical thinking test for fun and told them "if you fail, you can't go to middle school." They were too smart for that, though. "Ms. J, that's a joke, right? Right? Ms. J?"

During Social Studies, as I was teaching, a girl had a lightbulb moment, "Oh my word, I didn't know that! I learned something in school today!" 

The 3rd grade class I had was, as always, super fun. I wish I could show you the pictures I took of them - such personality! I have one picture whose caption would read "Ms. J, can my picture be your screensaver?????"

One little boy, (who is probably one of my favorite kids this year - subs are allowed to have favorites), is such an adorably funny kid. I walked into the classroom, and said hello to him. In response, he took his glasses off, turned them upside down, put them back on (upside down), and said "hi!" 

I cannot believe there are only 19 days of school left to this year! It's been such an amazing year, and I have met so many wonderful kids that I don't want the year to end! 

(I don't want the paychecks to end, either)

-Ms. J

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Laminating Queen

Today was ELD. It's a pretty nice gig - small groups, completely adorable kids and plenty of breaks. The teacher left me some stuff to do, including.... (Drumroll, please).... Laminating!

For those of you who have heard my laminator story, you understand that I am very hesitant to use laminators nowadays. It's very easy to mess up a laminator, and they are expensive pieces of equipment. 

Well, I am proud to say that I overcame my laminator fear and rocked that laminating project! (I was praying the whole time)

Just thought I'd share. 

-Ms. J

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Hard Part

One of the hardest things about being a sub is wanting to be in multiple places at one time. One gets attached to so many kids in so many classrooms and so many schools that scheduling is challenging. 

For example, yesterday I got a request for May 21 from a teacher I love to sub for, in a school (and district) that I love. Unfortunately, I am already scheduled to be at another school with kids that I love that same day. 

Today, I got a call for a job tomorrow at one of my favorite schools, but I'm already working at another school with kids I love. The secretary calling me said, "that's ok, I just wanted to call you first, because we have our favorites!" 

Now, just for the record, I do *not* love every school I work at. It's just that typically I love the schools that also love me. It's a win-win situation. 

Hey, by the way, if I don't get a job this year or the next, I have a maternity leave position already worked out for the 2014-15 school year. So I'll be employed that year, for three months. Woohoo!

-Ms. J 

Monday, May 6, 2013

1/2, 5/6-7

Monday: I dislike that we are required to show our little ones a video about inappropriate touching. Not that I think it's wrong to tell kids their bodies are private, but that the conversation has to happen in public school (not in the home, with the parents), and that people are sick enough that this stuff actually happens. Simply listening to this thing made me sick to my stomach - isn't this too graphic for kids???

Well anyway. On to the cute stuff.

Tuesday: the kids have started a science project with plants and seeds. They have learned a couple new vocab words: sprout and germinate. Their plants have sprouted/germinated. They are all really excited about it, and want to use their new vocab words. Of course, the bigger the better, right? So they are all talking about how cool is it that their plants have "germinates."

They don't get the whole "germinate is a verb but definitely not a noun" thing.

Oh well, it's still super cute to hear a 6 year old say "germinate" - makes my inner scientist happy!

-Ms. J

Monday, April 29, 2013

2nd, 4/29

Whew. Today was tough. I realized I may be getting a little soft - I haven't been in a Title 1 school in close to a year. Perhaps I need to allow myself opportunity to grow and experience new aspects of teaching, instead of always going to the same schools, where the average income level is higher than my family's, where the kids mostly have supportive parents, and where their parents don't pack them a 20 oz Arizona tea for snack (aka about a billion grams of sugar).

Yeah. The Arizona tea thing happened today. And of all the kids to have it, it was that kid that was giving me trouble already. And she drank the whole thing, too.

All in all, it wasn't a bad day. We just didn't get a lot accomplished.

But the most interesting thing was a little girl who came up to me after recess, upset that her pencil mysteriously broke during recess.

"Ms. J, I had my pencil here and it was sharp and now it's broken."

But the fact that it was broken wasn't the biggest deal to her. Oh, no, she was more worried about....

"I had a booger on the eraser and now it's gonnnnne!!!"

So not only did she put a booger on her eraser, but *gasp* someone STOLE it!

I let her sharpen her pencil. I didn't bother to ask if she had replenished the booger.

-Ms. J

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

5th, 4/24

This class is extremely fun - so much personality!

It dawned on one boy that he was as tall as me - he kept walking around on his tiptoes and saying "Ms. J, I'm taller than you!" His teacher is about 6'5", so he is not used to looking the teacher in the eye - it totally made his day!

They're also totally awesome at bootlicking. One girl came up to me after recess and said "Ms. J, you're arrested! You're arrested for being a great teacher!"

Ok, what do you want?

-Ms. J

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Sorry, forgot to post about yesterday! So here is a jumble of yesterday and today. I had 3rd grade yesterday, and 4th and 5th grade today.

It's a beautiful week out here, so yesterday I (bribed) told the kids they could have extra recess if they finished their work. Well, as we were getting ready to head outside, the kids started freaking out, "Ms. J! There's a goose outside our door!"
Sure enough, a big, fat Canada goose was sitting right outside our door. Now if there's one thing I'm scared of, it's very large birds. It took us about 5 minutes to get that bird away from our door so we could go play!

Today, those fifth graders cracked me up. One kid told me, "Ms. J, you couldn't be a mean teacher ever. You just can't do it." I told him I was gonna go practice some more.

Another kid noticed my ponytail. "Ms. J, are you the princess from 'Tangled'?" Uh, no.

So that brought the length of my hair into conversation (these kids will do anything to avoid schoolwork haha!). One boy says, "you do have really long hair." And another boy pipes up and says, "I like it!" Then he got so embarrassed - he couldn't believe he had just complimented the teacher on her hair! It was so adorable.

Aww, I've had such nice kids these last couple weeks - I'm wondering when the naughty kids will start showing up...

Always the optimist,
Ms. J, the "Tangled" impersonator

Thursday, April 18, 2013

ELD, 4/17-18

ELD/ESL whichever you prefer. Not a bad gig - small groups, frequent breaks. I could get used to that.

Today, a kindy was telling me about what they do in their classroom. I asked about math, and she said, "oh we play with math peliputives. They're like toys." It took me a second to figure out she meant "math manipulatives." How cute is that??!!

-Ms. J

Unsolicited Advice

Last night, I had the distinct privilege of being a part of a panel designed to help new teachers adjust to "life after teacher school." We talked a lot about subbing, since most of these teachers are being pretty realisitic in their quest to find work. The panelists gave a lot of advice to those new teachers, but I forgot a lot! So I thought I'd share it with the world.

Here's some unsolicited advice for anyone in the subbing world.

Always, always, ALWAYS leave a good impression. I know that's kind of a vague idea, but essentially, you need to act as if you are always bring watched, and that this is a big interview. People notice you and what you are doing, and they make judgments about you based on what they see and hear. So here are some sure-fire ways to make sure you are leaving a good impression!

- Be on time. If the job starts at 7:15, be in the office checking in at 7:15. The secretaries notice, and remember you as "the one that shows up on time."

- Don't leave early. If you're done at 2:45 and the job ends at 3, go to the office and ask if anyone needs help grading. This gives them the opportunity to tell you to go home early, (rejoice!) or give you something to occupy your time. This gives the impression that you are efficient (you finished your work in a timely manner), you are conscientious (you aren't going to scam the district out of time), and you are not lazy (they notice if you're just sitting in your classroom killing time). This also gives you an opportunity to network, because you'll probably end up in a classroom grading for another teacher. That teacher will ask about you - how long you've been subbing, where you student taught, etc. Before you know it, it will be time to leave, and you can hand them your card. Most likely, they'll call you, because they remember talking to you.

- Leave the classroom better than it was. Set aside 2 minutes at the end of the day for all the kids to clean. You can play "Magic Piece of Garbage." The goal is for the teacher to walk in the next morning and be impressed at how the classroom looks.

More to come at a later date!
Ms. J

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1/2, 4/15-16

Spent yesterday and today in a 1/2 blend. The beauty of it all was that I had a student teacher who did the whole thing - I just helped with students and played the disciplinarian role.

These kids are super fun and hilarious. Yesterday I noticed a little boy had his pants on backwards - the pockets were pointing the wrong way!

Today, a little one came up to me first thing, and said (and I quote), "Yesterday night, I got frustrated and said bad words. I don't think I'll do it again, but if I do, I think I should go to the office."

At the end of the day, he announced to the class that he learned that "anger management doesn't work."

Super fun!

-Ms. J

Friday, April 12, 2013

This week!

Whew! I dunno if I can handle these 5 day work weeks! I had 6th on Monday and Tuesday, and 3rd Wednesday through Friday. I'm exhausted!

It was a wide range of wonderful stuff this week: Tuesday I got a note saying "Ms. J, you used to be nice. What happened? This is ridiculous." (Well, dear, you turned into an adolescent and won't stop talking - that's what happened!) Then today I got "You're such a great teacher!" (Aww thanks dear!)

I also had singing galore this week. Tuesday a kid serenaded the class with "silly monkey riding on a pig" and today it was "gummy gummy gummy bear!"

One story was reported to me by another teacher. She said a student told her, "the kids were being silly and Ms. J got really mad. Well, not really mad. More like fake mad."

And the best part. I had bus duty today, and had just waved the buses off when a little girl came up to me. "Ms. J, my little brother is on the bus and we are parent pickup!" So off I go - running like crazy, waving my arms and yelling trying to get the bus to stop. Yes, I looked like an idiot, and yes, people were honking their horns, and laughing, but I CAUGHT THAT BUS!

You shoulda heard the applause I got from the custodian. Have a great weekend!

- track star Ms. J

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kindy, 4/5

Alright, y'all are seriously gonna laugh so hard - kindy is ALWAYS a great place to gather funny stories!

- little girl working on her morning work, aka "Jj" coloring sheet. She looks at me and says, "whew! My arm is exhausted!"

- little girl tells me, "something is happening to my eyes. I think I am going blind. My parents say I don't need glasses and that made my eyes feel comfortable."

- someone asked me where the teacher was. I said "she's in the library doing teacher work." Little girl says, "no she's not! She's sick!"

-Ms. J

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

5th, 4/1-2

I love this class, even if there are parts of it that are naughty...

Yesterday was murder! A fight, bullying, etc. in fact, one of the kids tried to bully me - yeah, that didn't work so well!

Then, today was amazing! The kid who tried to bully me yesterday was angelic - I kept waiting for the ulterior motive to surface, but it didn't!

Fifth graders are funny kids. It was sunny today, and since we had spent an hour doing state testing, I gave them an extra recess. Kids who could care less about the teacher were saying, "you're the best teacher ever!" Ha! Then why are you so naughty??

One kid, who is just adorable, asked me, "can we spend the last few minutes of the day asking you questions, like what your favorite color is?" Well, honey, I'm sure no one else cares about that, but my favorite color is orange.

The "best teacher ever," Ms. J

Friday, March 29, 2013

Funnies from Christian School

This week was a lot of fun, and definitely an eye-opening experience! (I hope to post some things I learned soon).

However, here are some funny happenings!

-Monday morning, I arrived. Only the staff knew I would be there. The principal/head teacher is probably in her mid to late 50s. As the kids came in, she was out of the room, and the first person they saw was me. It didn't take long for the rumor to go around amidst the young students that Sis. F was retiring and I was taking her place.

- A routine they have is a way to ask for assistance. They have two flags - one signals they need a teacher's help, and the other one signals they need an assistant's help. I was answering assistant flags, and one little girl raised her assistant flag. When I walked over and asked "How can I help you?", she whispered, "Can I sit by you at lunch?"

- One little boy called me "Sister J." In our particular fellowship, I definitely do NOT go by "Sister J" - that's my mother's name. When I informed him of that, he got very confused and kept referring to my being married to "that J guy!" I finally stopped him and asked, "Do you think I'm married to my brother?" He got so embarrassed because he had confused my brother for my husband!

- the most interesting thing was how the high school students treated me. Since I'm quite a bit older than them, we aren't close friends, however we do occasionally hang out at youth conferences, etc. They weren't quite sure how to treat me - in fact, they avoided me altogether!

-Ms. J

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Venn Diagram

I'm mentally working on a Venn Diagram comparing/contrasting charter school and public school. Remember how I said I wouldn't pass judgment on charter schools 'til I finished my long-term at one? Well, I have been working it out in my mind. I keep meaning to actually put it down on paper, but you know how that goes...

But now, it will have to be a three-way Venn Diagram - which just makes me happy 'cause I love Venn Diagrams! The reason being that I get to experience a private, Christian school! I will spend my spring break shadowing some fabulous teachers and learning all about how private, Christian schools work. I am very excited for the opportunity! (The only thing I'm not excited about is that uniform thing again... Oh well, it's only a week... Good thing I didn't throw my uniform into the garbage!)

So look for a very cool, color-coordinated Venn Diagram soon, showing similarities and differences of public, charter and private schools! I might be more excited about making the Venn Diagram than anything else...

-Sis. J (private school code for Ms. J)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

1st, 3/21

Happy Spring Break! I am now officially off for a week!

I was privileged to work at the neighborhood school today! I always count it an honor since this is the school that I am sure remembers me breaking the laminator the second time I subbed there.

I also really like working there because of the hours! Most schools I work at are teacher hours 7:15-3:15. This means I leave at 6:35 (I have a 35-45 minute drive to most sites). Then I'm home at 4.

Today, my hours were 7:50-3:50. I left home at 7:45, and was home at 4. (Though there is no such thing as Starbucks or Dutch Bros on my way to work...)

And I had 24 kids!

I have to keep myself from groveling at these teachers' feet: plllllleeeaase let me sub for you! Or just hire me - that works too!

Anyway. On to the cute story.

My sweater had a folded up hem after sitting for a while during reading groups. One of the girls says "Ms. J, you need to fix your sweater."

Thanks, dear. I'll get right on it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kindy, 3/20 (and teacher humor!)

I taught bilingual kindy today. I am not bilingual, but most of the kids didn't notice.

Nothing super cute or funny to share (though they were super cute), so I thought I'd impress you with some teacher humor. Enjoy the pictures I found while wasting a colossal amount of time on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1/2, 3/19

Different class, same grade levels.

Totally different behavior. It was so nice!

It happened to be in last year's school. It's always wonderful to see my "babies" from last year in the hallway. Though their different responses to me are interesting. Most run up to me and give me a hug. One of them greeted me today with "Oh my ---! Long time no see, Ms. J!"

Anyway. Back to the class I actually taught today. (By the way, I was teaching in my classroom from last year - sniff sniff!)

One little boy kept telling me *everything* that he felt like I needed to do. Gotta love kids who think the teacher is clueless. At one point, I said something to him about it and he said, "Well, I have to tell you this, 'cause you're new."

I also got flowers today. Beautiful, but really stinky - whew! I actually think it might be a weed - a little foggy on botany currently.

First and second graders are pretty funny. Everything they hear or see is connected to their personal surroundings. One little girl asked me, "What's your name?" I said, "Ms. J." She responded quite vehemently, "That's a BOY's name!"

Wonder what she woulda thought about my first name!

-Ms. J

Monday, March 18, 2013

2nd, 3/18

I thought of a million ways (ok only 3) to start this post:
- it must be the week before spring break
- well, my vacation must have softened me up
- it was bound to happen, after the amazing classes I've had recently

Whichever one you like best, use it as the starter to the post in your mind. (If you pick the vacation one, just know that I took my spring break early and journeyed down to California for a mini-vacay last week. And a special "Howdy!" to those of you who mentioned you read my blog - I feel very special).

So, here's the post.

(Insert favorite post starter from above here)

This class was tough! Constant redirection was needed for certain students, which totally exhausted me by lunchtime. The tough part of subbing in a class like today's is that 90% of the kids are great, but the other 10% needs so much attention it seems like the whole class is insanely naughty.

I managed to keep it together - wish I had taken a picture of the apology notes I had three boys write me for climbing on the stalls in the bathroom. I also had to deal with kids telling other students to hold their tongue and say some benign word (which of course changes to a bad word when the tongue is held).

It amazes me what kids think up.

The 90% that were awesome were a lot of fun. I even got several little notes and drawings (see below).

I deserved that piece of chocolate I ate when I got home, yessiree sir!

-Ms. J