Monday, November 15, 2010

A day off :)

It's been a little while so I thought I'd better update y'all. I've actually had a four day break from teaching! I had a professional development session all day Friday and Saturday and then I decided to take a "mental health" day today. I was hesitant to take a day off, but boy did I need it! I think I can actually tackle the rest of this week as a much more effective teacher now that I've had a little down time to regroup. I really do love my kids, but I tell ya, they zap every ounce of energy out of me in the course of five class periods. I've been trying to get to campus by 6:30 every morning and most days I'm not done at work/with professional development requirements until after 7:00 at night. I'm still working with my homebound student for four hours a week after school and I am really enjoying our time together. She is such a sweet and eager student that it is very refreshing to teach her. I wouldn't give up my time with her even if someone else offered to take my place. However, my principal found me running errands the other morning, stopped me in the office on my way out, and asked me to tutor twice a week after school. For some freakish reason that has gotten me into a lot of extra work lately, I forgot how to say no and nodded in agreement before I fully comprehended what I was doing. Needless to say, I am an official math tutor now. The good news is, it'll be a little extra time to work with some of my students more one-on-one and maybe help them gain a little more confidence with their math skills. I'm going to make the best of it and hopefully tutoring will make a difference for some of these kids. On a separate note, I found some really awesome roommates who I'm going to move in with at the end of my Christmas break. While it's a little bit of a hassle to pack up and move again, I am really looking forward to having roomies again. I've been kind of a hermit lately and it'll be good for me to have people around to encourage me to get out once in a while. And they only live like three miles away so it will be a short distance move. Oh, and bee I go, I wanted to tell everyone about a new documentary that is out. I watched "Waiting for Superman" a couple weekends ago with some of my friends and it was awesome! I'm not sure if it's playing in any cities in Oregon, but they had it at one of the theaters down here in the Valley so it might be. It's a really candid look at what has happened to our education system in the US since the 50's when we were a world leader in education and the very real barriers that are standing in the way of reform. Its a powerful film and not totally disheartening- more inspiring. If you get a chance to see it in theaters or once it comes out on video, I HIGHLY recommend it. Well, I don't really have a lot else to share for the time being, so I'll keep it brief. I think I'm going to do a little reading and go to bed early tonight- save up all the energy I can for the next four days ;) Love y'all and take care!
This is a picture from one of the scenes in Waiting for Superman :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Deal

Whew. It's been an exhausting couple of weeks. My kids are really challenging my entire classroom management system and continuing to try to find every shortcut possible in order to do the least amount of work they absolutely have to do to skate by in my class. My management system needs a serious tune up and I need to get more strict, but it's gonna take a couple solid days of planning and preparation that I don't foresee having until Thanksgiving break. Still trying hard to light a fire underneath the vast majority of them. Gotta keep believing it will eventually catch fire ;) I've also been pulling my hair out trying to figure out why a few of my students are being downright mean and defiant no matter how much I try to do to show them I care about them and want them to be successful. However, the last two weeks has shed some light on major issues going on in my students lives that I was given some painful insight into. Without going into the level of detail I have been trying to sort out on a personal level with individual students, I am trying to figure out how to best help a middle school mom-to-be, students who have been kicked out of their homes, kids who are told they are worthless trash on a regular basis, students who have a wide range of disabilities, students joining gangs, parents in jail, parents in gangs, suicidal students, students who have eating disorders, and students who are cutting to try to deal with internal pain- yeah, I'm talking about 11-15 year-old kids. I know I'm supposed to be focused on teaching math, but these kids need so much more than math right now. I would sure appreciate your prayers as I try to do whatever small part I can to help these kids and teach them to the best of my ability. More importantly, I would really appreciate your prayers for the amazing young people who are dealing with these crazy tough issues far beyond their years. I know that God has all these kids in His hands and He cares about them and loves them so much more than I ever could.