Saturday, November 30, 2013


Thanksgiving is one of my two favorite holidays of the year (the other being Christmas Eve). I think this is partially because it is more low key than other holidays and includes cooking and baking! More importantly though, it is a time to reflect on the gifts God has given me. I have now been graduated for 6 months, and even though post grad life in a lot of ways has been hard: being further than 10 feet away from my best friends, being in a long-distance relationship, paying bills and rent and having a stressful job, I am still so thankful because I have friends and family who support me, encourage me, and genuinely care for me.

I know that even in the midst of a lot of work, my mom will still talk to me on the phone. When I'm having a bad day, I know that my conversation with Wes that night will end the day on a high note. I know that my apartment mates will listen to story after story about my students. God gives us relationships as a gift and for this I am so thankful. I am also thankful that I got a job right out of college and that it is a job that I enjoy (most days)! I get the opportunity to know kids and be a role model for them. I get to love them day after day. They are fun to be around and never fail to make me laugh. Working with children can be so rewarding. I also work with a supportive staff, who understands that I am not a perfect teacher and still have a long way to go this year (and they are there to help me be a better teacher).

Lastly, but most importantly, I am thankful for a Savior that is ALWAYS with me and loves me unconditionally, even when I mess up. His mercy is new every day and for this I am so grateful. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)    

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


When I was younger, I asked "how can people's cars get so dirty?" "why don't you just bring in your coffee cup and the McDonalds bag on the floor?" Now I understand. This whole week (I realize it's only Wednesday) I have gotten to school around 7:15 and gotten home between 5-6 pm. That's about 10 hours at school every day (+what I do at home in terms of grading and planning). Mind you, the school day is only 6 hours. My car is a mess, my bedroom is a mess, and my classroom is a mess.  Now, I've never been a "clean freak" but usually I have my stuff slightly organized (my parents might disagree with me regarding my room at home). Sometimes I am a little messy, but I can find everything. Today I'm past that point. I just have no energy to clean up after a full day of teaching and planning.

Pray that I can find the motivation to stick it out just 4 1/2 more school days before Thanksgiving Break (which I am much looking forward to and I know my students are looking forward to). I have to administer 2 tests, grade a project (and other work), and hold 4 parent-teacher conferences in the next week. It's going to be busy! I am however mixing it up with a few fun activities: game night at one of my co-worker's house and a "fall feast" at another friend's house.

I really am starting to enjoy teaching and getting to know my students. I also have had 4 good parent-teacher conferences in the last week. I am thankful for my 4th grade supervising practitioner (from student teaching) who allowed me to sit in on conferences. It helped me know what to expect.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

All nighters and Ice Cream

Last night, with my youth group, we had an all night event. We left after school (aka after my personal day) and drove to Maine. There we saw a minor league hockey game, heard a speaker, I got to pray with some girls in the youth group who came to Christ, then we drove some more, went roller skating, drove even more and then had an open gym where my team dominated in soccer! Finally we got home at 8:30 this morning, resulting in me taking a 5 hour "morning hibernation." Here is a picture of the shirt logo for the night: "Play Drive Sleep Repeat."

What stood out to me though on the trip was that people naturally yearn for a relationship with Jesus Christ, our savior. The two girls who I got to pray with had always known about God, but never knew God's grace and forgiveness. The smiles on their faces and the support of the staff at Word of Life proved that God is at work. Jesus died not just because the religious leaders of the day hated him, but because we deserved death for our sins and Jesus said (paraphrased by me) "I will take the punishment for them so that they can have this gift of life and grace. THAT is how much I love them." God loves unconditionally. This was the message the kids took with them.

Also, in our car, which was me and 4 junior high girls, the songs that got the biggest reactions from the girls were the worship songs we played. We played White Flag and Our God about 20 times each. It was great to see them excited about worship music. The songs that were chosen had the theme of nothing being able to separate us from God, which I thought was interesting. Going back to the speaker: the message was about Jesus's mercy, which ties in nicely to this idea of nothing being able to separate us. Jesus closes the gaps we create between God and ourselves (aka sin) by his mercy, making it impossible for sin to separate us from the love of God.

The second part of this blog is about ice cream! Today there was a fundraiser for the 5th graders at this really good ice cream place in downtown Danvers. My students got to work behind the counter at the cash register and by scooping ice cream. It was so cute to see them behind the counter working in their matching Great Oak School shirts. They were excited to see me and I was excited to see them. :-) I love my students. I also got to meet my twins' mom who responded to me introducing myself as, "You're their teachers? I didn't expect you to be so…young!" Welcome to my life as a 22 year old teacher. (Also, I looked like a bum when I met this parent in my T-shirt, jeans, and my "tired from lack of sleep" face…cool)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Life is Good

We had a 3 day weekend last week. It was much needed after my stressful last week, leading up to my observation. I went to Northern Virginia to spend time with one of my favorite people. We spent time going to the falls that Falls Church is named after. It was really beautiful and we got to see extreme whitewater kayaking through rapids. We also got to partake in a great game of catch with the frisbee and had a nice little picnic under a tree. :-)

Coming back after a long weekend is always a little stressful because so quickly students get out of their routine, but the week was pretty good! I finally feel like things are starting to flow naturally and I have control of the class (although they still have their days when they are so chatty). The substitute today (I had a meeting) said my class was great! Best compliment ever! Hopefully my sub tomorrow (taking a personal day) will say the same.
In other news, two of the students in my class have crushes on each other, so that is a total mess. They are my two brightest students and when the hormones kick in, they act silly, unfocused, and slightly annoying. They stop being able to do simple math and forget how to sit properly in school. Ugh. I do not miss being at the awkward 5-10 grade stage. Later in the year, they will watch "the movie." All I can say is that I am glad I am in my twenties and living a good, fulfilling life.

My youth group is going to an all night event tomorrow in Maine and I am chaperoning! I am very excited to be able to connect with the youth at a new level.

Finally, I wanted to put a plug in for Compassion International. Yesterday, I made the decision to "adopt" (aka become a sponsor for) a second child. Franchesca, my first child of 2 years, is 11 and from Nicaragua, and my second child is Sarai. She is 7 and from Mexico.  I think that it is important to tithe regularly, and I can't think of a better way to give back some of God's financial gift to me than by supporting young girls living in poverty and building relationships with them.  We lose track of how fortunate we are in the U.S. where in so many other places, children go to sleep hungry.  Supporting Compassion is also a way for me to put to use my Spanish. I write these two girls letters in both English and Spanish, and love receiving letters in their native language because I can understand them!

Please be praying for Franchesca and Sarai (and maybe even support your own Compassion child).

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. The word "wicked" is becoming part of my vocabulary slowly, such as "wicked stressful"

Friday, November 8, 2013

My observation

I had my first formal observation yesterday. It was an ELA (Reading) lesson on using the text to answer comprehension questions. It went well. My class was dead silent! It was incredible (I could basically hear myself echo)

The lesson itself went well, but as always, there is room for improvement. I was told to do more with my objectives (as in tell the students what they are at the beginning and review them at the end) and to DEFINITELY have a closing/summation of my lesson. I apparently circulate well and did a good job modeling how to answer the questions (but should have included a visual aid).

I realized that all of the things Gordon made us do on our lesson plans, that I sometimes did not fully do (or made something up for) are actually valuable concepts that principals are looking for, like having a closing, using the Universal Design for Learning, and making accommodations/modifications for different types of learners. *If any current Gordon students read this, make sure you take the time to figure out ways to accommodate and support the universal needs of your students.

Thank you for your prayers and hopefully all can go up from here. Conferences start next week, so onward I go in my teaching career and crazy life :)

P.S. I also got my staff ID card (which hopefully I left at school…) so now I'm official!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I am getting observed on Thursday. Usually when I got observed by my Gordon professors, I wouldn't get nervous. Now that I'm the only teacher in the room and my principal is doing a "formal observation" to evaluate me, I'm a little more intimidated. Other teachers have added to this stress telling me everything the principal will be looking for: student engagement, lesson planning, accommodating for the needs of all types of learners, and how my classroom is set up. My mentor came into my classroom after school and we spent about 2 hours reorganizing my room. I like it! I have a reading corner, my materials section is labeled and I freed up some board space. Here is a picture of my reading corner. Now all of my ELA (reading) stuff is together and all my math stuff is together.

Pray that my evaluation goes well on Thursday. Luckily, I have a great weekend planned spending time with Wes in DC, so once Friday comes, it is free sailing…except for parent teacher conferences starting next week.

Side note: One of my students moved today, and 2 more are moving before 2014. I'll be down to 19 next semester, unless a new student comes to our school.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I love Mondays

Mondays are great! I think I wrote about them once before, but I used to hate Mondays. Now, they are my favorite day of the school week. I feel refreshed after the weekend, and my kids are usually pretty well behaved on Mondays. The day goes by quickly, and I don't usually have meetings after school, so can spend as much or as little time as I want in my classroom after school. I left school today thinking, "Wow! I love days like this. It makes me happy I am a teacher."

On Thursday I get observed for my first formal evaluation. Please pray it goes well. I'm nervous considering that my class is only starting to behave (as of the last week or two) and now the principal will be in my classroom for an extended amount of time. She has very high expectations, which is good, but also makes me nervous. The other teachers have been giving me hints on how to impress her though, so we'll see what happens.

I am attaching a short article for you who have some extra time. We were given this article at my last OTAGS (Off to a Great Start aka the first year mentorship program in my district) meeting. It is scarily accurate about how I emotionally feel at this time of the year. Apparently it is the cycle that all teachers go through during the year (according to my 5th grade team who says they still go through these stages)

Thanks for reading!