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 :)