As we all know, I am a new teacher. I have been looking for a blog/site where I could find out about what to expect, yet I have not been able to. I wanted to read something that really got into raw emotions- the nitty gritty. Necessity is always the mother of invention. That is why I have decided to put on my blog exactly what I have been going through- warts and all. I will also put up resources and my lesson plans so that someone who reads this in the future will have a good idea about what to expect during their first year so that they can go from Fairy Tale to Survival to Mastery to Impact in as little time as possible. So until next time!
A while back, I wrote a post about one of my favorite shows from the 80′s, called “The Greatest American Hero”. I didn’t fully develop it the way that I wanted to. In it I talked about the plot of the show being about how aliens gave the star of the show, William Katt, a suit that endowed him with super powers. He could fly, he could become invisible, and do all kinds of amazing things. The only problem was that he lost the instruction manual. Even though he did eventually learn how to use it, he never reached his full potential. However, imagine how much more he could have done if he would have just had the instructions, or if someone would have given him instructions on how to make it easier.
I equate his situation to mine. I am now going into my 1st month of teaching without most of the tools and materials that I need to fully do the job. No training. No support. Yet, I am still meeting the standards even though I worry that I am just not doing a good enough job.
I wish that I had an instruction manual, which would be the equivalent of training in any of the programs that I need. So, with that- let me tell you who my hero is. My hero is someone who has been doing this line of work for years without complaining and ranting like me. Maybe with time I will just learn to accept the fact that I’m not going to get what I need and learn to be quiet about it. I am going to work on it right now, because all this bitching and moaning is not really getting me anywhere. I will keep it to a minimum, so let’s move on.
Until next time!
Taken directly from L.A.U.S.D. website
Special Education Initiative: An informational meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, December 3rd for those considering a career in the field of Special Education in the Beaudry Bldg (333 S. Beaudry Ave, L.A., CA 90007). Topics will include the employment process, special education credentialing opportunities, as well as teaching special education in the District. Individuals with related experiences and a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of special education students are invited to register for the meeting by contacting Doreen Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sherry Uribe at email@example.com
The day was aiiiight. Of course the students, one in particular, Lito, has been challenging me, I am rising to the challenge. I call their every bluff. If they say that they are going to walk out the classroom, I tell them what the consequences are for doing that. If they choose to do it anyway, then they suffer the consequences. I have to say that, even though I feel like an idiot sometimes, I didn’t feel like crying today. Now, yesterday was a different story. I had to keep myself from tearing up in the staff meeting. But just like today was a new day, so is tomorrow. Until next time!
Yesterday I posted about Multiple intelligences by Harvard professor Howard Gardner. I connected this to my lesson. Now I begin the day by letting my students use their artistic intelligence. I let them draw a picture of how they feel. I give them 15 minutes to draw a picture expressing how they feel. Afterwards they come to the front of the class and share. This satisfies art and a couple of other standards. This works really well since I am trying to foster a sense of family in the class. No one is allowed to make fun of anyone’s drawings. While the student is presenting their artwork, I make sure that everyone is giving that person their whole attention. Afterwards, I have them give the presenter a round of applause. I tell them that it is not easy to come out and put yourself out there.
I have found out so much about these students from their art. Especially from my student, Robin, who was always trying to shock me by drawing inappropriate pictures. When he first shared, he drew a picture, in heavy black marker, of three chickens drowning. He thought that I would be shocked but I just talked to him about it and pulled something positive out of it.
I asked him if the chickens could swim before they went into the pool. No was his reply.
“Well, was that smart for them to go in there (in the deep end) when they couldn’t swim?” I asked.
“No,” he said.
“Do you think they were sorry that they went in there?”
“So, Robin,” I said, “what you are saying is that they made a bad decision and they wish they wouldn’t have.”
Are you also saying that you made a bad decision when you first came into the classroom and misbehaved and now you’re sorry?
Okay, I accept your apology. Thank you Robin. Everyone give Robin a hand. Thank you for sharing. That wasn’t easy.
I don’t know how I pulled that information out of there but I did. I’m happy that I did because that’s actually what he was trying to tell me.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings!
On my first couple of days at teaching, I introduced my students to multiple intelligences to let them know that there are different ways to learn. I let them know that some of them learn by touching (i.e., manipulatives), while some of them learn by hearing (direct instruction), while still others learn by seeing (visually).
I also told them about learning through music and art. I told them about teaching Phillise our phone number by singing it. It is a theory developed by psychologist Howard Gardner, that describes an array of different kinds of “intelligences” exhibited by human beings. Gardner suggests that each individual manifests varying levels of these different intelligences, and thus each person has a unique “cognitive profile.” The theory was first laid out in Gardner’s 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and has been further refined in subsequent years.
Here are the categories:
- Bodily-Kinesthetic- Good with movement. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include athletes, dancers, actors, builders and artisans.
- Interpersonal- Good with people. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include politicians, managers, teachers, social workers and diplomats.
- Linguistic- Good with languages. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers, politicians and teachers.
- Logical-Mathematical- Good with math. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors and economists.
- Naturalistic- Good with things concerning nature. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners and farmers.
- Intrapersonal- Good with knowing self. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include philosophers, psychologists, theologians, writers and scientists.
- Spatial- Careers which suit those with this intelligence include artists, engineers, and architects.
- Musical- Good with music. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include musicians, singers, conductors, and composers.
- Other intelligences- Good with asking and/or questioning spiritual things. Other intelligences have been suggested or explored by Gardner and his colleagues, including spiritual, existential and moral intelligence.
I was trying to sum this information, but it is such good information that I really didn’t feel I could do this justice, so here is the Wikipedia link if you would like to read more about it: http://en.wikipedia.org
This post is about one of my students, we’ll call him Toolie, you know the one who called me a garden tool (ho) and a female dog (You know what that is, don’t you?). Well, he lives less than a block from the school, so I have been going down there every Friday. Last Friday his dad wasn’t there. He was in the hospital, so I talked to his uncle. His uncle got on him right then and there. I thought that when he came back to school on Monday that his behavior would be better. Nope! Nothing changed. It was the same ole’ same ole’. In fact, he got started before we even came in the class and it lasted all day. I was so tired and drained that day that I had to come home and take a 2 hour nap.
I found out from my mentor that I could refuse to let him in the classroom. So, on Tuesday, I refused to admit him to class because I knew that it would just be a repeat of the day before. He took a walk with one of my assistants and came back slightly, I mean just slightly, less agitated.
It was still a pretty draining day, just not like the day before. I know that it’s taking me a long time to get to what I’m thankful for, but I had to bring you up to date. I couldn’t just start in the middle .
Anyway, I went down to his house and talked to his father. His father gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him anytime he just up and leaves the classroom. He told me that he would come up there and take care of him personally. That is what I’m thankful for- that his father says that he’s going to help me manage this child’s behavior.
To fulfill the science part of my teaching commitment, I have been on the hunt for science experiments for my students that will be engage them and make them think. Most of all, I want to make it fun for them. I have found about 15 science experiments that I am modifying to fit my students’ different levels. Over the weekend, I am going to bind some construction paper and blank paper to make science books for them that I will let them decorate.
If you’re in CA and would like to have a look at the standards, here are the CA standards for K-5th grade standards: www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/scmain.asp
Here is one of the websites where I found a couple of easy to do science experiments: www.reachoutmichigan.org/funexperiments/
I have to say that all-in-all, yesterday wasn’t a bad day. I am happy about that because even though I was determined to have a great day no matter what, I was still a little worried.
First of all, my oven is on the fritz. Even when I have it all the way up to broil, the temperature is still only about 350°. I had a 20-lb. bird that I didn’t get into the oven until 11 a.m. so, needless to say, it took about 5 hours to cook. Secondly, my brother-in-law (my husband’s brother), didn’t come with the Honeybaked ham until 4:30 p.m. Don’t even mention the fact that I didn’t get a chance to cook any cakes because the turkey took so long to cook.
However, those were all false starts because everything turned out great. My other brother-in-law (my sister’s husband), who’s a minister, prayed over the food at about 5 p.m., and we
ate feasted until our heart’s content on the Honeybaked Ham, my delicious turkey (it turned out great), Sweet Potato bisque, my homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and turnip greens, and a couple of other things that you have on Thanksgiving. We had about 25 people, including me and my 5. That’s really small for my family, but it was wonderful!
For this Thanksgiving I had a plan. I was going to have a peaceful Thanksgiving if it killed me damnit! My plan was to unvite some parts of my family for Thanksgiving. Yeah, you read it right. I said unvite instead of invite. That’s a Seinfeldian term from the sitcom by Jerry Seinfeld. Let me explain- On the show Elaine is given an invitation to a wedding which is in India the next day. She correctly guesses that it is an unvitation. The person really doesn’t want her there but can’t really just come out and say it. She is livid, but she goes just because she knows that she’s not wanted there. While there she wreaks havoc.
For an unvitation to be effective, it has to be issued at the very last minute, and, this last part is very important, the person has to believe that you want them to come when you really don’t.
So, now that you know what an unvitation is, you can understand what I was trying to do. I love my family. I really do, but (and there’s always a but), I don’t want to be bothered by them all the time, especially during the holidays because some of them are soooo cheap. I, and one of my brother-in-laws, provide all the big ticket items like the Honeybaked Ham and the Honeybaked turkey. The only thing that I ask my family to do is bring a side dish to feed at least twenty. Yet, they balk about that. So this year, I said enough already. I want to hold it at my house, but without the hassle.
This is what I did. I mentioned it on 4th of July that I wasn’t sure that I was going to hold it at my house. Then, a couple of weeks later, I said that I would. My plan was to create uncertainty about whether or not I was going to do it. However, should that plan not work, then I would resort to the unvitations.
When a couple of people called me and asked about it in the past week, it was obvious that misdirection and confusion were not working, so I knew what I had to do. I called sister #1, Nikki, and asked her if she was going to bring the homemade Mac n’ Cheese which she is known for. At which point she started stammering and saying that she didn’t know. This is when I started going into the unvitational unvite.
“You know what?” I said. “It’s my fault. I didn’t really give you enough notice. If you can’t make it, then you just can’t. Don’t worry about it”.
To which she replied, “Oh no.” I’m not going to let you down”.
“No, no, no,” I replied.
Basically I tried to talk her out of coming, but it didn’t work.
Fast forward to sister #2, Aletha, who said that she couldn’t make it. Okay, girl. If you can’t make it, then you just can’t make it. Phillise will really miss Jaunae, but we’ll see her another time. To which she replied, “We’ll come by and say hi”.
At this point, my husband is just looking at me like how pitiful. You are not good at this. Whenever you want them to come, you can barely get them to come; whereas, whenever you don’t want them to come, they want to. Why don’t you try to be a reverse psychology motivational speaker?
“Shut up,” I said, but had to think about it. Maybe he does have a point. I’m going to open up a practice right away!
My first client will be Jerry Seinfeld. He’ll understand me. We’ll talk about other Seinfeldian terms. I’ll have him cured in one session!
At our staff development meeting, the special ed teachers were in our own meeting. It was then that one of my administrators decided that she would hold me up as an example of what not to do. She then compared me to a veteran teacher whose classroom is set up so well, has all of her teaching supplies ready and is a model of what to do. Ok, well, after about 10 years I will be that teacher. For now, this marks my 10th day of teaching. I don’t know anywhere, in any job, where someone doing it for 10 days can be compared to someone who’s been doing it for 10 years.
As I said before (or maybe I was just thinking it), teaching is the only profession where you are expected to do your job on the first day just as well as anyone else who has been doing it for years.
I am pissed off. Not only because she tried to front me, but also because I have been asking for help, but have been put off. I have not gone in there acting like I know everything. I’ve gone in there very humble understanding that I had a lot to learn. That, however, has not done me any good. I feel like a complete idiot. I feel like I don’t know anything. I feel like I’m flying blind. I have been making up lessons everyday that are draining me.
I’m not kidding. I haven’t received so much as counsel on anything. I was talking to my husband about it. He told me that I made a mistake by thinking that I was going to get help. I agree on one hand and disagree on the other. I don’t think that it’s unrealistic to expect help on the first day of work; to have some type of direction from those above me.
It is so funny that I was promised the world before I started, only to have those same promises rescinded right before my very eyes like they were never even said.
This was going to be another rant but I’m not even going to go there because I know that if God led me to it, he will lead me through it. But it’s just like always, I will survive no matter what. Not only will I survive, I will thrive.
***WARNING- There is a lot of bitching, moaning, ranting and raving. A lot!***
I feel that I don’t have a choice about this teaching thing. This is what I was meant to do. However (and that’s a big however), knowing what you’re supposed to do and doing it is a different thing. I am just about at my wit’s end. My one student, you know the one that calls me a garden tool, requires sooooooooooooooo much attention. He will come up to the board when I am writing on it and either try to write on it himself, or try to erase it. That’s at his best.
At his worst, he yells “I hate you,” or “garden tool,” or starts fights with other students and laughs about it.
It wouldn’t be so bad if he were the only one. I have this other one, Lito, who, at 9 years old, has absolutely no remorse. He is one of the ones that I had to refer to be sent home the other day. He came back the next day like nothing had happened. He told me that he had so much fun and that his grandparents let him play all day. He said that he wanted to do it again.
The other one, let’s call him Robin, on the other hand, was very remorseful. He told me that his mother really came down hard on him. He told me that he was sorry and would behave himself from now on. Ya’ know what, he has actually kept his word and been very well behaved.
All along, I thought Robin was the problem and it turns out to be Lito. Go figure!
Now, back to the lecture at hand about feeling like Spider Man. In a previous post, I wrote about Spider Man’s real life identity-Peter Parker. If Peter Parker knew ahead of time that stopping that thief would save his Uncle Ben’s life, would he still have let him just walk by without intervening?
That’s how I feel. I really feel that if I don’t intervene, one of these children could potentially cause someone harm if I don’t reach them. It could be me or someone I know; or it could be someone else’s family. Either way, I know what I’m supposed to do. I think that this is what God has for me to do. Or is it? I am beginning to wonder if it is. This seems like an impossible assignment. I can barely teach because I do damage control most of the day; at least 75% of the time.
I am given no support, yet I am expected to just know how to do my job. I have not been given any training whatsoever, yet I am expected to be able to do my job. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had all of my materials. Did I mention that no one can find my materials, or even know where they are for that matter?
That my dear sir or madam is my rant for the day. Hopefully I won’t need to do this too often!
GET OUTTA’ MY CLASS I want to tell one of my students! He doesn’t need to be there.
I have this student, we’ll call him Hallel, that just refuses to do his work, finds every excuse to get out of his seat, and has a bit of a sarcastic little tongue on him. He is, however, adorable. I like this kid and want him to succeed. The only problem with him being in my class, is him being in my class. He’s only in my class for behavioral issues and the fact that he won’t do any work. He complains that the work is too easy for him, yet he won’t do it.
I do admit that the work is too easy for him. The other kids are on pre-K–2nd grade level.
Looking at his scores from the beginning of the year when he was mainstreamed in another class until the end of the day, he is (or was, take your pick) functioning at or above grade level in everything except comprehension. I told him that he is too smart to be in my class and he knows it. He is wasting away in my class. I don’t want that to happen. I want him to go into a general ed. classroom where he can thrive.
So, you can see why him not doing his work is the main problem right there. There is nothing to measure his progress by because I don’t have any work samples. I have tried many things. One of which have included calling his father and having a conference with his mother.
Another part of the problem is that his mother believes every single thing that he says. She thinks that he is the perfect little angel. I wish that more parents were more realistic about their children. If you know that the teacher last year, and the year before, and the year before that complained of the same thing(s) that I am complaining of, you have to kinda’ take a look at your kid. No matter how painful it is! Because, you know what, you can’t be there for them for everything forever. They need to learn how to face up to their consequences. If not now, then when?
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run,
and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
I was a little distraught. I had to pray for strength. As I was praying, God gave me this scripture. I knew it, but not word for word. I had to look it up because I needed renewal. The day in question, Wednesday, was a particularly trying day. I wouldn’t say that it was a particularly bad day, just trying. In fact, it was a pretty good day. My student, you know the one that called me a garden tool, actually sat down for 90% of the day. (That really made me happy.) Saying that getting him to do that was not easy is THE understatement of the year. He really doesn’t like change.
It’s just that there were a couple of things that happened. Let me break it down for you. First, I had to send five boys out for fighting each other. A five-way fight? Are you kidding me?
The second problem, my biggest problem, however, was the two students that had to be sent home by 8:45 a.m. They had only been in the class for 11 or 12 minutes. I felt like a sucker for even taking the job. I’d really had enough.
I got my plan together. I was going to finish out the semester @ B.N.U. and get my Master’s degree in something else, not related to Special Education.
When I got to class and told my story to my classmates, they were very supportive since they are first year teachers also. They already had the day that I was having a couple of months ago, so they understood.
I went home and vented to my husband. I told him that I wasn’t cut out for this; what made me think that I could do this?, blah, blah, blah, blah. I was really very serious on one hand. However, on the other hand, I knew that I couldn’t quit. Not only for contractual reasons, but for personal reasons: the children. I promised them that I would be their teacher for the rest of the year. I told them that I was, in fact, happy to be their teacher despite their behaviors.
How could I disappoint them when they have already had so many disappointments in their short lives? Not only that- my pride just wouldn’t let me give up. I know that I can get through to them.
One of my professors, who’s a school psychologist, told me that I can tell that I am doing the right thing by their behavior.
“Is it getting worse?” she asked.
“Yes!,” I said. Their behaviors are absolutely horrible.
“You know what?” she said. “It will get even worse before it gets better”.
This just made me want to cry. I can’t even imagine them acting worse than the way they’re behaving now. My assistants assured me that they have, in fact, been worse than they are now. That is so not a good thing!
Like I said. I really have my job cut out for me, but with God’s help, I will get through.
I always have to preface my stories with this- “Although it may not have seemed like it, it was a good week”.
I preface my stories that way because there are a lot of things going on in my class. Things can get a little rough. This week with my students was very rough. On Thursday, two of my students had to be sent home by 8:45 a.m. They had only been in the class for about 12 minutes before they started misbehaving and all hell broke loose!
One student, I call him Lito, is a follower. Whatever he sees someone else do and get attention for, he does the same. Unfortunately he doesn’t do it for positive attention, only negative.
Another one of my student’s behavior is so disruptive that I have to give him tickets every 10 minutes just for him to sit down. I started with every 2 minutes and kept moving it up every time I talked to him. He even stayed in class for the whole day, which is quite unusual for him.
By the end of the day he only had to give me 5 minutes to earn a ticket; and he only needed 10 tickets to get a prize while everyone else needs to earn 25. Yet, he didn’t make it. Two days in a row, he stopped at 8 tickets. The third day he wouldn’t even try. It was simply too much for him to sit down for that long without individual attention. I’m obviously going to have to lower it to 8 tickets so he can see some type of tangible rewards for his good behavior (Whenever that happens I’ll let you know).
However, (continuing from my earlier post) the problem that led to me feeling like I am in Survival mode and what eventually became my undoing was that I could not find any of the materials that I need. I was going to plan a day with Voyager. The only problem is that I can’t find the Voyager program at my work site. Additionally, no one seems to know where its at!
On the first couple of days I was fighting a battle on two fronts: classroom management, first and foremost; secondly, no materials. Now that I have the classroom almost under control, I need materials. I am incredibly frustrated but I have to keep going.
I will make it though. Tune it tomorrow. Same bat time! Same bat channel!
From reading the book by Harry & Rosemary Wong, I know there are four stages of teaching:
I passed the Fantasy stage a long time ago when I was an assistant. I have been on survival mode for the last week. This stage does not work for me. I need to quickly move on to the next stage of Mastery. I am under no delusions, I know that this is going to take work. The problem: I didn’t know that it took quite soooo much work.
Homework? Please let’s not talk about homework.
I will make it though. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.
I equate teaching and “thinking” that you can teach to a veteran mother and a newly pregnant woman. From the outside looking in, it doesn’t look that bad. In fact, it may even look easy. However, the veteran teacher and/or mother knows that a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears went into that lesson to make it look easy. Just believe me when I say that it is by no means easy.
It’s the same way with a mother. Being a mother is not one of the easiest jobs in the world. Yet some people manage to raise very successful children while making it look easy. The parents may make it look easy, but it is definitely not an easy job to raise children.
A newly pregnant woman may look at a harried mother of many with who has lost all patience with her children after a very trying day with disgust and vow never to be “that type” of mother. Until a few years and a couple of kids later.
She didn’t mean to be judgmental. How could she have known the full magnitude and the sheer amount of work that was required to be a successful mother or teacher? Now that she is the one with experience, she will not be so quick to judge anyone who has finally lost patience with an unruly child after wrestling with them all day.
Neither one of these jobs are easy. Neither one of these jobs is for the faint of heart. To even consider doing either one of these takes guts, a tremendous amount of courage, and/or stupidity. Why would anyone want to enter into seemingless thankless jobs like parenting and teaching?
Why? Because they are extremely rewarding. Of course they are going to have their ups and downs, everything does. However the good outweighs the bad. ‘Cause all of my good days outweigh my bad days. And IIIIIIIIIIII I won’t complain.
I feel like Moses in regard to my class. I really don’t feel qualified. Why me God? Why me? I’m sure that there are many more teachers that are way more qualified than I who could handle my class. Maybe a man, perhaps? I have so many boys. 9 out of my 11 students are boys. Not just any boys either. They are a rambunctious, disrespectful lot.
I do believe in my heart that this is the job for me; that God chose ME for this job. I would not have taken it otherwise. I’m just wondering why God knows that I’m the person for this job. This is my first year. Some of the boys don’t seem to like women. They’re as big as I am. You name it and I could probably give you reasons why maybe someone else is more qualified than I am.
However, it’s just like with Moses and Aaron. Of the two, Aaron was the more eloquent. Aaron was the one that Moses felt God should have chosen. Yet God didn’t choose Aaron. He chose Moses. Obviously God knew that Moses had something that was needed. Just as God obviously feels that I am the one for this job. There are many challenges, but I will face them and overcome them all!
Last week, I let the children walk a mile in my shoes. As I was trying to teach, on my very first day of teaching (They didn’t know that), I was constantly being interrupted (which I expected). It was then that I told them to go home and think about something that they wanted to teach in front of the class because the next day they would get to be the teacher. I also told them that I and my two assistants would display some of their behaviors and interrupt them like they do me. Surprisingly enough, all but one of the students liked the idea.
Fast forward to the next day after taking care of morning business. I reminded them of their assignment to be the teacher and asked for volunteers. Surprisingly again, I got several volunteers. Once I reminded the students of the instructions, and instructed the other students to remain seated and focused on the child teaching, me and my assistants then displayed some of their behaviors which included running around the classroom, erasing the board while I’m writing, yelling at me, talking out of turn, talking loudly, etc..
It got pretty loud in there, but that was the point. I know the Math Coach next door was wondering what we were doing in there. As each child finished “teaching” I asked them how it felt. I asked them if it felt good or bad. Mostly all of them answered truthfully.
Once everyone finished, I told them that this was what I experienced on a daily basis when they are acting out instead of doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They got it for a couple of minutes. Although they did still act up later in the day, I think that that little exercise made them think. At least I hope it did. When they acted up later in the day, I reminded them that I was doing “Damage control”.
I know that I talk/write so much about the resources that I received in my summer bootcamp, but now that you’ve seen some of the resources, you should be able to understand why. The resources are absolutely fantastic. I learned so much in my boot camp. In fact, I was just on the L.A.U.S.D. website and found a Personal Development (PD) workshop on Present Levels of Performance (P.L.O.P.S.).
Even though it sounds like cow poop, it’s simply the level that the child is currently performing on; where they are currently at. That’s it in a nutshell.
I explained to my students about Damage Control. I told them it’s basically like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. I let them know that their misbehavior was unacceptable; that I should be teaching and not doing damage control.
So, the next thing that I spoke to them about was teaching; that I am expect them to do work; that I am not there to babysit them.
I’ve already told them that teaching, not damage control, is what I am there to do. “We are going to learn,” I told them.
As the week progressed and the students got used to me, I did damage control less and less. I thank God for him putting people in my path who gave me advice on classroom management. Now, all I need help with is lesson planning. Anyone??? Help!
This is what I told two of my students who were acting up. They looked at me like I was crazy.
“What are you talking about? Why are you thanking me for acting up?” they asked.
“I’m thanking you because that’s your way of asking for help,” I told them.
Thank you for asking for help. If you didn’t want help you wouldn’t ask for help. This means that you want me to help you.
I also told them that I was happy to be their teacher. One child asked me why I was happy to teach kids that are so bad (his words).
“Well,” I said. I’m happy to be your teacher because I can see something in you that you can’t. I know that you are going to do better than you’re doing now. I know that you are going to get this. You are going to work together as a team.”I don’t care what it looks like right now. Things will get better,” I said
What I didn’t say to them is that after dealing with all these misbehaviors, everything else would be a cakewalk. I have four of the worst misbehaving kids in the school. Do you hear me? IN THE SCHOOL!
I’m not upset about having them in my class. I know that I’m there for a reason. So, yes. I said it and I meant it wholeheartedly. I thanked them for misbehaving, because if they didn’t, I wouldn’t know how to help them. The misbehavior is there for a reason. It’s either to avoid or get attention. Period. Since some of my students are low, they are seeking to avoid the work because they know that they can’t do it. That is why I tell them that I will help them. I also tell them that it’s okay if they don’t know; that’s not a problem. The problem is when you don’t try to know; when they don’t try to learn.
That being said, thank you for reading!
I am going over everything that I did this week. Somethings I definitely could have handled better. Other things I am so satisfied with. I have to stop being so hard on myself. I know that I need to be my own critic without beating myself up. So far this “teaching thing” is a challenge. Ya’ know what, I hope that it always is!
‘Til next time!
These are some of the qualities that we came up with that Marines have. Here they are in no particular order:
- They have good character.
- They are strong (mentally).
- They are disciplined.
- They finish what they start.
- They don’t leave anyone behind.They are part of a team and they love it.
- They are the “best of the best”. They do their best.
- They are winners.
- They protect you. This is part of not making fun of others.
We just started all of this on Friday. I will talk to them on Monday about why these are important characteristics to have, not just for my class, but for life.
I spoke with a Marine who has been a Gunnery Sergeant for 12 years. I asked him to come and speak to my class since that is our class name. He agreed to do that when he has time.
We are the Room 33 Marines. Hu-Rah!
Right now I’m reading How To Be An Effective Teacher: The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong & Rosemary T. Wong. It is a great book. In the book, Harry Wong says to tell the children exactly how you want them to do things. Not only that model it for them. This is only a mini-post so I won’t go into anymore specifics on the book. I will however do a review of the book when I finish reading it.
I was introduced to this book in Teacher Training Academy. It was recommended that I use it as a guide. I’m reading this and a couple of other books so that I can familiarize myself with the curriculum and the best classroom management practices.
Even though I have six year’s experience in the classroom, it’s so different being in charge. Everyone’s looking to me for what to do next. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. Teaching just feels so natural. The only problem that I thought I would have problems with would be classroom management. Believe me when I say that I have my hands full with the class that I have with my work cut out for me. But, I am stepping up to the challenge. I am very firm with the children and consistent. If I say that I am going to do something, I do it. I believe that those are two of the rights keys to have to open the door to success!
Until next time, hasta la bye-bye!
My Principal gave me explicit instructions to foster a sense of family in my class. She said to make them proud of their class. So ideas just started churning in my head. I talked to Viviana, one of my classmates @ B.N.U., who gave me the idea of doing a bubble graph and having them brainstorm about what type of person they would like to become. I decided to go a step further and use that to come up with our class name.
Well, I let the children brainstorm potential careers that they would like to have. They came up with a: Veterinarian, Doctor, Rock star, Policeman, and a Dancer. One kid who was being particularly obstinate, said that he wanted to be Nobody, so I wrote that down also.
Everyone voted. No one voted to be a Nobody. Thankfully!
One of the kids has a brother, whom he absolutely idolizes, who is a Marine. He proposed it, a couple of other kids voted for it; majority ruled, and we are the Marines.
I asked to kids to wear anything with Army fatigues on it on Tuesday, so we can take pictures for our poster that we’re are going to make on Tuesday to put on our door.
Our new motto:
We won’t quit, don’t quit, can’t quit!
Pink and Say (1994), written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco is so touching. No, I really mean it. When I first read it, I had no idea what it was going to be about. After I finished I had tears in my eyes. It is so beautiful. This book further reinforced my love of Mrs. Polacco and her books.
It is the story of Patricia Polacco’s great-great grandfather’s (Say) brief friendship with Pinkus Aylee (Pink) during the Civil War.
(Taken directly from patriciapolacco.com)When wounded attempting to escape his unit, Say is rescued by Pink, who carries him back to his Georgia home where he and his family were slaves. While the frightened soldier is nursed back to health under the care of Pink’s mother, Moe Moe Bay, he begins to understand why his new found friend is so adamant on returning to the war; to fight against “the sickness” that is slavery. However it isn’t until marauders take Moe Moe Bay’s life, that Say is driven to fight. Although ultimately, both boys are taken prisoners of the Confederate Army, fortunately Say survives and was unable to pass along the story of Pink and Say to his daughter Rosa, Patricia Polacco’s great grandmother. As it was told, Pink was hanged just shortly after being taken prisoner, therefore Patricia’s book “serves as a written memory” of him. At the end of the story Patricia bids the reader, “Before you put this book down, say his name (Pinkus Aylee) out loud and vow to remember him always.”
One of the more heartwarming moments of the story is when Say tells Pink and his mother that he once shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln. Convinced that his encounter is a “sign” of hope, Say reaches for Pink’s hand, exclaiming, “Now you can say you touched the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln!” At the end of the story when the boys are separated, Pink reaches for Say one last time to touch his hand.
After hearing this story from Patricia Polacco in the words of generations preceding, I eagerly touched her hand; the hand that has touched the hand, that has touched the hand…
I can assure you, the hope is still alive!- Leah Polacco
There is a lesson plan on this site for Pink and Say: http://users.manchester.edu/Student/BEDawes/index.htm
I’m going to modify and cut this down into waaay smaller parts for my children.
These are my rules that I am using. They are great. I learned them in Teacher Training Academy from a retired teacher. They take care of everything and they all go together. I introduced them to the kids and let them give me their own examples of what they thought they were. Of course I guided them to the right answer, but they were pretty right on.
One kid is so hilarious. He seems wise beyond his years. When I told him that I got married on Valentine’s Day, he said, “Ahh. Isn’t that romantic.”
What? Are you kidding me? What do you know about romantic at 9 years old?
At any rate, here they are:
Prompt- be on time, be five minutes early
Polite- be nice, Please and Thank you are the magic words!
Prepared- bring all of your supplies
Productive- Do your work!
ALL four of these go together. It doesn’t matter if you arrive on time and you’re not nice. It doesn’t matter if you come on time and don’t do your work. You have to have all four to be a good worker for anything that you do.
I am teaching them these rules not just for my classwork and for purposes of behaving in my class. I am teaching them this for life. Everything in life can fit into these four categories. They can. Just think about it!
If you’d like to use these, go right ahead!
Phew!!! Now I can exhale! I made it through my first week. Guess what? I still love it. Warts and all. The first day I was scared. I figured that those kids were going to eat me alive; but I faced it. My class represented my worst classroom management fear. They fight and run out the classroom on a regular basis; there were three fights; a kid told me that he hated me and didn’t want me to be his new teacher, and another kid called me a “Ho”**. ALL ON THE FIRST DAY! BEFORE RECESS!!!
Yeah. I know! I’m not upset though. I know that they’re just challenging me. I expected it. All in all I’m pleased with the progress that I’ve made in the four days that I’ve been there. One of the kids that run out of the classroom and who I had to send out of the classroom 5 times on the first day alone, actually sat down for 10 whole minutes and participated in class. That is quite an accomplishment, I’d say.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that if God brought me to it, he’ll bring me through it! I will post tomorrow about what we’ve been doing these past couple of days.
Until next time. Hasta la bye-bye!
** I have been addressing all the behavior “issues” that have come up. For the “Ho” part, I drew, to the best of my abilities, an actual hoe and explained to them that it is a garden tool, and that if they’re using it in any other way, that it is just not the right way.**
I had a very interesting, life changing revelation yesterday when dealing with one of my students. When I was first observing the class, I wondered how, oh how was I going to deal with him. He was like a roaring lion seeking to devour ( 1 Peter 5:8).
I was prey to him!
He really made me think about not taking the job. On Tuesday, my first day, I was scared. I didn’t really know how to handle it and I still really don’t. However, yesterday I had an epiphanic moment. He was acting out and I was looking at him and suddenly he didn’t look like a roaring lion anymore. He looked more like a scared little kid looking for help, yet not knowing how to ask for it. That totally put things into perspective.
His roar isn’t so ferocious anymore and he knows it!
I know that this revelation will not just instantly make things better, I’ve been in the classroom for over six years, I am under no such delusion, but it does help.
Here’s to waaay more of those epiphanic moments!
I am a teacher and up until a couple of months ago, I confused the two. This process can be pretty overwhelming and confusing. I can’t even begin to fathom how someone new to Special Ed is taking in all of these terms. Since I have a better grasp on these terms now, I will explain them to you. This is the 5th of 6 parts in my series on deconstructing and demystifying the I.E.P.
People often confuse modifications and accomodations. I was guilty of this myself, so I did what I do when I am unclear on something, I talk to people who are knowledgeable about the subject and research it myself. Here is what I have learned:
Accomodations are more mental than physical while modifications are physical.
When you modify something, you change it a little. A modification is a change to something. For instance, if the rest of the class has 20 questions for the test, the student who has modifications can have their test changed to just 10 if 10 will show that they have achieved mastery of the subject.
Well, I’m back from my very first day of teaching. It was a good day. If you were in the class, you might not have thought so. I have 13 students altogether, but 2 are mainstreamed in the general education classes. One is only there for half a day. He’s pretty rambunctious but he’s a good kid. He likes to protect me. When the three regular misbehavers were misbehaving (Well, they were actually fighting) and I was moving towards them to tell them to stop, he got up and tried to hold me back so the kids wouldn’t accidentally hit me. I thought it was so sweet. Of course he did his little misbehaving later in the day, but he was still respectful about it, if that makes any sense.
So, today there were 3 fights, but no one was seriously hurt. It was basically a lot of yelling and a little bit of pushing: a lot of bluffing basically.
The problem was that I moved the classroom. It wasn’t such a good idea, but I had to get the classroom ready for myself. I apologized to them because of the change. I know that most people don’t like change. Least of all autistic children. However, I explained to them that I needed to have the class like this so that could interact with them better. I brought them in closer to make the group feel more cohesive. I explained to them that we were going to become a family. I want to instill a sense of pride in them because with Special Education, there is such a sense of shame.
I talked pretty plainly to them. I let them know that I was going to be there for them, but that I wasn’t going to make them learn anything. I told them that they had to want it. Tomorrow we will go over R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Many of them don’t seem to know a whole lot about that subject.
Today I talked to them about Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences (more later). I told them what they were and let them give me examples. After that I asked them how they felt more comfortable learning. I then told them why I was teaching them about Multiple Intelligences. It made them think. THAT WAS MY WHOLE POINT!
Tomorrow we will review what we learned today, define and give examples of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, introduce and revisit TouchMath and choose classsroom monitors.
After everything was said and done, I had a 2 1/2 hour staff development meeting. The day was a little long, but what I expected. All in all, not a bad day!
What is prosciutto and why is it so bad that I have become just another piece of it? Well, according to Wikipedia, it derives from the Latin perexsuctum, which means “thoroughly dried” (lit., “(having been) very sucked out”).
Prosciutto ham is very thin. This is not to say that it is not good. It’s just to say that it doesn’t stand alone. It is very easy for one piece to become stuck to another. Once it’s stuck, it can become indistinguishable from the other. That’s not a problem if you’re prosciutto. It is a problem however, if you are a person; an individual.
Individual’s should not “stick” together. They should not fuse with someone else. Why is that you ask? When folks get married, aren’t they supposed to be as one? Yes, they are, and some overlap does invariably happens. The problem is one when person is fused into the personality of the other to the detriment of the other.
That is how I’d been feeling. Very dried out! Very sucked out! I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. I hadn’t been myself for a very long time. I lost myself. When I was younger, I used to call myself “The Queen”. Everyone in my neighborhood even called me “The Queen”. Once I became a mother and got married, I ceased being “The Queen”. I just became any other
mother martyr. I stopped thinking of myself as “The Queen”. I stopped dressing cute. I stopped fixing my hair. I stopped doing things that I used to do. I stopped being me.
That has been my dilemna for the past couple of years. I had ceased to be Leila. I was just Phillip’s wife, or the kid’s mother. But what about me? Where do I fit in? I’m more than just someone’s wife or someone’s mother. I’m a sister, a daughter, a teacher, and a student. I’m ME.
I have just recently rediscovered ME. The ME that was slowly emerging, and just as briskly stopped when I became a mother at the tender age of 19. The ME that has been longing to erupt into a brightly colored, volcano-like personality that I was meant to be. The ME that I put to the side so long ago that is newly re-emerging once again.
I am reclaiming the ME that I started to become a long time ago. But it’s so much more than that now. This ME will not be the same ME that I would have been, so long ago, at 19. This me will become the self-confident, strong, reliable, woman that has been trying to come out for so long. Her name?
Her name is ME!
Boy am I tired! I need some rest. This has been a busy week. First, I had 40 hours of Teacher Training Academy this week. It was nice, but 40 hours of sitting down and instruction was a bit much. Not to mention school @ B.N.U. Now, I have to go to an AmeriCorps meeting. It’s not that bad. It’s just that I had a lot planned this week. There’s nothing I can do about it now. Well, I’m off to the meeting. Hasta la bye-bye!
I have to say thank you to Azusa Pacific University! It is an excellent school with rigorous academic standards. I learned so much there. I just graduated from there (HD 92) with a degree in Human Development with an emphasis in English. It was a very intense program, but it was sooooo worth it. The one thing that I hated in the beginning, the group presentations,was what ended up helping me. The mastery of it actually help get my job for me.
The group presentations were a little stressful for me because I was worried about other people not pulling their own weight. As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry about it. It only happened once. But, for the presentations, we were given very little instructions (save creativity). We were just instructed to make a creative lesson that would engage the children with visual displays and handouts for everyone. They were so much work, but you know what, I learned so much.
For the last part of my job interview, I had to teach a lesson for my class. I drew on my experience from A.P.U. and hit the ball out the park.
If anyone is reading this and is considering going there. I would suggest that you do. You will not regret it!
This is thirteen things that I love about holidays at the end of the year, in no particular order.
- On Halloween, you get to act silly and no one judges you.
- On Halloween, you get to dress up.
- On Christmas, you also get to dress up.
- On Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, you get to be a kid again.
- On Halloween, people give you stuff. For free!
- On Christmas, people give you stuff. For free!
- On Halloween, you’re actually a little safer walking on the street at night.
- On Thanksgiving, there’s so much food.
- On Thanksgiving, you get to loosen your pants and nobody looks at you like you’re crazy because they’ve just done the same thing, because there’s so much food.
- It’s just such a great feeling in the air.
- People are nicer at the end of the year.
- On Thanksgiving, you can pig out and nobody looks at you like you’re crazy. They expect it!
- On Christmas, you can pig out and nobody looks at you like you’re crazy. They expect it!