Sunday, November 27, 2011

You Should Pass It...Right Away.

The title of this blog post has nothing to do with the actual contents of the blog post. This is a phrase that has a funny behind-the-scenes story involving my bro and sis-in-law and it's been rolling around in my head all day.


It's really really awesome how the Lord gives me exactly what I need when I need it - and He withholds from me what I don't need when I don't need it. Quite often do our weekly speakers at chapel come and give a message that I know that the Lord needs me to hear right at that moment. Last Saturday I was talking to my dad about being thankful - and he said that thankfulness is a choice. I thought it was odd that he said this because I'd never really thought of thankfulness as a choice. I suppose I have, but just not in a black/white kind of sense. And then, the next day at chapel, that is exactly what Mr. P spoke about. "You can choose to be thankful or you can choose to be unthankful" actually came out of his mouth from the Lord and staight to my ears. Besides being a wonderful parallel to how salvation is a choice, it reminded me to choose to be thankful for what I have right now. Not what I could have, or where I could be, or what I could be doing.

Then, this week, my personal time with the Lord led me to Philippians, and I came across a part of a verse (4:11) that says "...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Yes, in my single life, at my home, at my 7am - 5pm job, I can be content, because that is where the Lord has placed me. I know I am doing His will because I have peace about it. Confession: I am not naturally thankful for this. I find myself thinking "what if, what if, what if" and I have to conciously stop myself and remind myself to choose to be thankful. Even Paul said he had to learn to be content. Not to my surprise, because my God is just that good, our speaker today, Mr. G., spoke about the fears we have...but how much greater our Refuge is. Two weeks in row the verse from Philippians about not being anxious for tomorrow was given and two weeks in a row I needed to hear it. And that, my friends, is how God works.

And now for a Kindergarten update: 14 school days until Christmas Break! Woo hoo!
My five days off for Thanksgiving will be over at 5am when my alarm signals me to Rise and Shine (and give God the glory glory). This week our letter is N and time is of the essence. There is a certain point I want my students to be at before two weeks of break. I asked them before Thanksgiving break if they were going to forget everything I taught them, and then they started listing things they were going to "practice" over break. Bless them.

There is never a dull moment at my job, and I'm sure this next week will prove to be just as interesting.
I finally got a projector installed in my ceiling, for which I am THANKFUL! It was getting a bit tiresome to move my laptop and arrange the kids so that they could all see the pictures on the little screen. Now I can make (and have already done so) PowerPoints with my visuals and project them on the wall for all to see! Yay!

Til next time,
The Kindergarten Teacher

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Counting the Days

Is that bad?

Thank the Lord that He has given me a job I love. Even so, I find myself counting the days until breaks. A three-day weekend was absolutely needed. Though I didn't get as much done as I was expecting, it was very profitable in the "resting" department. I'm starting to come down with my Thanksgiving illness (I am always sick on Thanksgiving...who would have thought this year would be any different?!), so I decided to take it easy this weekend. I'm finding that I'm getting really good at thinking on the spot while teaching, and that's usually when most of my best ideas come.

And now, there are seven school days until Thanksgiving Break, and then another nine until Christmas Break. My grandfather is coming down for Christmas, and that means two things: a lot of playing cards, and a lot of baking cookies. YAY! It will be a much needed break.

I very wisely finished interim reports before this weekend. I knew that I would not want to do that on a Saturday. I'm so proud of how my students are doing...when I think back to week 1 and 2 (shutter) I can really see their progress, and that makes me so delighted. One day I will take a picture of one of their writings to share with my three readers (woot!). One student has just as good handwriting as me. It's incredible!!

Til next time,
The Kindergarten Teacher

Sunday, November 6, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

What an interesting week! I have had a very hard time finding the time to post during the week, so for now, unless I somehow miraculously start requiring less sleep, posts will probably be sparse. That just means that when I do post, the posts have to be that much better.

I started my week as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. My mother willingly made me a Dorothy costume for our Storybook Parade that we had on Monday. After our parade, I attempted to make the rest of the morning as normal as possible, but as the Special Area teachers were helping with the middle school Fun Fest (so our Areas were cancelled), that was a challenge. The kids were very adaptive, thankfully. I took advantage of the empty theatre and brought my fun Kindergarten music and we danced around a little to burn some energy before lunch. After lunch, we began our Pumpkin Math workshop. I had five wonderful volunteers to help groups weigh, measure, and count the seeds inside large pumpkins. The kids loved it! It was a very successful first "big activity" and I was pleased with how the kids handled the very different situation. The kids were so exhausted by the time they had counted all the seeds (one pumpkins had 770 seeds...that's a lot of groups of ten) that I popped in Charlotte's Web and let them chill for the last 45 mintues of school. I knew, being Halloween, they would probably have very eventful evenings anyway. And it was my birthday, so I took advantage of the video to clean and get ready for the next day so that I could leave right away after school. :-)

On Tuesday it was back to normal. And again, the kids did very well going back to the normal routine. The week seemed to go by really fast and really slow at the same time (why is that?).

Thursday was an interesting day. On Thursday I learned that I will never ever, ever, cease to be surprised in the education field. Why, you ask? I've been keeping my eye on two students, boy and girl, who are very very very fond of eachother (yes, they are five). Well, I found out that the boy had taken one of his mother's diamond rings and had given it to the girl sometime during that week. And she had taken it home. This exchange must have been done very very quietly because not even the other kids told me. I'm convinced it had to have happened during a special area or lunch, because in the room I always keep them in different places (reminds me of "keeping apart attempts" at camp). Thankfully they were able to get the ring back to the rightful place. After that was assured to me, I was able to laugh a little....ok, a lot.

This week is a 4-day week filled with the Letter 'I' and Interim reports. I can't believe we are halfway through the second quarter! After those first 2 weeks, time flies. I will also be able to see the sun come up (thank you, time-change) and will most likely be going home in the dark (sad face).

Alas, so begins another week in Kindergarten that I am confident will prove to be just as interesting as the past 11 weeks.

I love my job.

Til next time,
The Kindergarten Teacher 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Adventures in Kindergarten...and Beyond

There is never...ever...a dull moment in Kindergarten. Yesterday we had Harvest Day, which the primary teachers (K-2) had been planning for about a month and a half. The students (and us) dressed as farmers. The kids were so cute in their plaid shirts, blue jeans, hats and bandanas. It was a nice change from their school uniforms. Actually, it's really funny to see them in anything but their's like having new students! All afternoon we rotated through seven classrooms, each a different "station" and did activities such as spoon races, a fall leaf mural, snack, a Harvest story, and so on. The kids LOVED it. They won prizes, collected treasures and got really really really....excited. Even though I didn't let them eat their candy, they still went home like they had had a gallon of sugar.

Warning: Skip this part if you have a weak stomach....its not that bad, though.
To add to the excitement, yesterday I got the lovely job of cleaning up vomit. Thankfully it wasn't on the carpet in the classroom, but in the hallway outside. Oh, it was lovely. I tried to find the custodian, but they were helping with lunch, so the duty was left to me. One of my college professors has children at the school and she happened to be walking through the hallway at the time I was cleaning. I told her, jokingly, that she hadn't taught me this in college. She laughed. :-)

I also got to comfort a middle schooler (our school is K-8) by telling her that I didn't have a boyfriend either. I tell you, the pressure teenage girls put on themselves these days is incredible. I don't know if I helped or not, but at least I could be relateable.

Happy Saturday....I really love Saturdays. :-)

Til next time,
The Kindergarten Teacher!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How It All Began...

It may sound like a little bit of complaining, but it really isn't. I'm just telling you how it was, without any exaggeration. :-)

I was told in college that a new teacher (or any teacher, for that matter) should accept the first position offered to them, even if it is not an ideal job, because people (principals) talk and they want loyal employees. I can understand that. The elementary education field is very competitive, believe it or not. So, I accepted my first and current teaching job at a brand new charter school three days after my Senior Internship ended and 10 days before graduation. I know what you're thinking: the dream! Right? Well, it kinda is. My Heavenly Father literally dropped this opportunity into my lap. I hadn't applied for the job or even submitted my resume to the school. It was one of those small-town, "Oh I know her, so I'll hire her" type of things. That, and a great recommendation from my College Supervisor certainly helped.

It was May, three months before school began, and there was absolutely nothing in my classroom. My thought was, "I guess they haven't gotten all the stuff yet" (that is exactly what I thought). So I began to collect...and collect...and collect. I collected what I thought was a decent amount of supplies, and took it to my classroom one day over the summer. Now 1/16 of my classroom closet was full. Hm. "I guess the stuff hasn't come yet.....still..."


Let's fast forward three months. August, my first day of pre-planning. Two weeks before school starts and my classroom is still empty, save one rolling chair, an 8-ft plastic table and a crate with three packets of construction paper provided to me. Yeah, three whole packets. This is kindergarten, remember. I was freaking out, to say the least.

So what does a brand new teacher with no resources do? This one prayed.

Then I started making my contacts...other kindergarten teachers mostly. Teachers who had literally opened up their filing cabinets over the summer and had given  me a copy of everything they had. And then I continued to make things...signs, posters, rules, calendars. And then I started to buy, folders, glue, crayons,things to sort, things to cut, books to read, and the like. I hadn't even begun to think about the first day of school...oh, did I mention that I teach the only kindergarten class in the school?

The first two weeks were absolutely the toughest two weeks of my life. Day One was scary because "they" (the students) were coming. Day Two was horrible because I knew that they were coming back. I'll spare you the not-so-lovely details of those two weeks.

Long story short, I made it. And even though 93% of my classroom was either made by myself or a family member or bought by myself or a family member, I made it. And successfully, by my own assumptions....actually that's a good question. Not having another Kindergarten teacher at the school all the time to compare notes with is a bit nerve-wracking.

Week Three was even better, and now, at the end of Week 10, I wake up every morning wanting to go to work. Praise God I have a job that I love. I hear my name 74,432 times a day, I repeat every thing I say at least three times, and it is not uncommon to hear a random "I love you, Miss H" or "I love your toes, Miss H". Seriously, it's awesome. My students are learning, really learning, and both they and I are loving it.

Anyway, there were a few obstacles I neglected to tidy up. Those tables and chairs arrived 2 days before school began (thanks dad and brother for putting them together). I had no access to a copier for 8 weeks (thanks dad and brother for making copies at work for me). I had no school-issued computer until Week 6 (good thing I had just bought a new laptop for myself).  I still do not have a projector installed, so my students have to look at PowerPoint pictures from my laptop (the easiest way to show visuals). But, thanks to my Heavenly Father, I'm still alive and surviving Kindergarten.

Those were the physical obstacles. I think I'll save the other trials and joys of teaching for another post. Let's just say I'm learning lessons about trusting God through EVERYTHING, not worrying too much and how crucial it is to surrender my talents and days in Kindergarten to Him. He is in control of everything, Praise be to His everlasting name.

Til next time,
The Kindergarten Teacher

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What It Really Means

Welcome to the beginning of my new blog! I primarily have created a blog for the following few reasons:

1. I have just recently started my career as a teacher (in Kindergarten, for now) and want to document this era of my life.
2. My best friend has recently moved halfway around the world, and this is just one more way to keep connected.
3. There is always the little satisfaction of knowing that, somewhere, someone might want to read something that I have written, as annonymous as it might be.

I am a very "color inside the lines" type of person, but lately I feel like I've been doing a lot more of coloring outside the lines, figuratively speaking of course. Here I am in a career that I thought I knew all there is to know, but have really been finding myself living out what my brother has said many times to me: "Fake it til you make it". I'll be honest. Sometimes that is exactly what I do. More to come on this subject, but for now, I must go plan some lessons.

The Kindergarten Teacher