Thursday, January 23, 2014


A few good things happened today:

-My ESL student who started the year with very limited English led the school in morning exercises (the pledge, announcements, etc), so it was cool to see how far she has come since the beginning of the year

-I got my Unit 2 grades back and 16 of my 20 students improved their overall percentage in reading comprehension! One stayed the same and 3 decreased, but overall PROGRESS!

-I was reminded of my Gordon classes and how much more I could be doing (to be more effective) without a lot of extra planning or time

-I was able to take a step back and because of this realized that ultimately my students are just kids and they are starting to look like middle schoolers (the boys are starting to catch up with the girls in height)

-I got paid!

-I feel content and happy about my life at this point. My kids are listening more and I'm actually really enjoying teaching Science. *side note: We switched classes for Science, so I have a different 5th grade class for this trimester in Science

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Hello followers,
This will be a short post:

Before teaching, I didn't know how sticky tape could be. I had name tags for the students and in Science, we use tape to connect our lever arms to our desks. It leaves nasty, sticky, gooey residue on the desks. The desks look horrible. I asked the other 5th grade teacher if they had suggestions. Their response: Windex (let it sit). It worked like a charm! Windex is now my new favorite cleaning product! Now I am going to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding to learn about the other uses for Windex!

Monday, January 13, 2014


There is a lot I could talk about under this title, but I am going to focus on two things: the challenge of making students feel connected and the way in which I connect with others and God.

Last week, at one of my monthly new teacher meetings, one of my professors from Gordon spoke about students with social-emotional disabilities. This could range from anxiety to Autism. One of the things that struck me was this: he said that students need to feel connected and wanted in school. Feeling wanted comes down to my job as a classroom facilitator and mentor. My students come in and I greet them at the door with a smile on my face. I laugh with them and even listen to some of their anecdotes. However, I want to do a better job with communicating to those on the outside. There are a few students in my class that I know very little about because they are more reserved or do not initiate conversation. Feeling this sense of "being wanted" is something that through years of being a camp counselor, I know is an important part of a child's experience in a place. They want to feel important and CONNECTED. This leads into my next segment.

Feeling connected. As you have been reading, you might have gotten the sense that my class has some characters in it. There is the student who only wants to talk about hockey, there is the student who only wants to talk about or read about cats, there is the student who just wants to talk about how excited he is to take a nap after school, and there are others who just want to talk about whatever. There is a large group of boys in my class who all have similar interests. However, about 3 of my boys have totally different interests. The girls are all so unique. There are mini cliques of girls in my class: the two girls who are "serious students," the two girls who only talk about cats, the 3 girls who just giggle, then there is a girl who wants to just hang out with the boys. There are however a few more that don't fall into these categories. I'm trying to figure out ways to get them connected to the larger class. I'm not sure how to do that though.

Now to talk about my second point of connectedness: how do I connect with others?
Since graduating college, I feel somewhat disconnected from my friends and community. In college, I lived with my 5 best friends and down the hall or down the hill from other friends. I went to church every Sunday with those friends. There were events at school to go to, and if not there was always a movie night to be found. Now, I live down the street from two friends who I see occasionally and usually end up going to church with one of my roommates. The weekends are low key and I have a lot of alone time, which I am learning to value. I have not done much getting involved in my community in the town, besides joining the YMCA which doesn't really count. I'm still helping at youth group, but want to find a young adults small group to join. It is a stage of disconnectedness, but also a stage of contentment and peace (about life, the future, my career...).

I have also felt in many ways disconnected from God. This could be because I have been stressed at work, but what it comes down to is that God was not my priority during the first part of the year. This caused me to feel…disconnected. I went to church once during the month of December (besides Christmas Eve) and would quickly read the Bible before bed without spending time thinking about its implications for my life. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to start the day off with some time with God. This started as reading the Bible when I woke up, but quickly I became tired and that time has transformed into listening to worship music on the way to school each morning. This music calms me down and when I sing along, I feel connected. It sets my day off right. Singing I've found is one of my main ways of communicating with God, whether at church or in my car.

Have a great week my friends! Thank you for following me along this journey of being a first year teacher.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


So far, 2014 has been an interesting year. My class was great all week! They were listening and focused. It was really amazing to see. I hope it continues like that because the days are so much more enjoyable when I don't have to yell all day. It was nice to start the year off with those two snow days in which I literally did nothing. I'm still getting back into the swing of planning.

This past week outside of school has been rough. I got into an accident on Tuesday (don't worry, everyone is ok) turning left. I was tired and hungry for Chipotle, which inhibited my judgment, causing me to T-bone another car. After writing up accident reports and talking to insurance companies, I think the only thing left to do is get my car fixed. Unfortunately this will probably be pricy even though the damage is not even that much.

Apart from that, I went on Thursday to get 3 cavities filled (I had a cleaning over break, and was told to find a dentist up here to get them filled). I went to the dentist, and found out that I have not only 3 cavities, but 6 AND I have worn down the enamel on two other teeth.  Luckily, when I got 2 of the cavities filled, I felt nothing! No pain. Best experience I have ever had at the dentist (besides the having twice as many cavities part)

This week was the first week that I truly felt like an adult who has to pay for things and figure things out on her own. Luckily, I have been putting aside money, since I started working, in savings. I guess this is what savings is for…the unexpected expenses in life. However, I am not super stressed about these expenses because I know that God provides and that I'll learn at least two things from this week: floss and be more careful when driving.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Finally some Rest and Relaxation

Winter break started on Dec. 21 this year. We were supposed to go back on Jan. 2, which was already going to be a fairly long break. However, thanks to the blizzard we got, my winter break was extended 4 days.

I finally feel like I'm ready to get back into the routine of teaching/working. I miss my students and miss my schedule (as crazy as it is). I am the type of person who does poorly without organization/routine. However, I was able to relax a good amount the last 2 weeks. I spent a week home in NJ with my family and then went on a "no-stress" weekend with Wes to Vermont. We snowboarded/skied one day and the other day watched 24 and football all day. :-) It was exactly what I needed. Then we were in Massachusetts for a few days, where I got to plan some for the coming week and spend some time with friends.

Going back to school on Monday poses the challenge of a fresh start. I will be reviewing my expectations and procedures with my students and will start "treating them like middle schoolers."I need to make a complete mental shift before going into school to a more professional attitude than I have had. I am fortunate that I have this fresh start where I can hopefully get my class together and "lay down the law."