Recently in classroom stuff Category

I'm surrounded by experts!

| No TrackBacks

When it comes to being pregnant, everyone is an expert. They have some anecdote to prove it. Witnessing the pregnancy of a spouse, mother or cousin (no matter how long ago) gives folks boundless knowledge on the subject. Everyone is eager and willing to tell me just what to do in pregnancy. I had a co-worker tell me, in the same breath, that I was sleeping with too few and too many pillows.

These experts are very well informed. I have students who have literally saved my unborn child's life! My favorite tidbit of information from the experts I come across on a daily basis is that raising my arms above my head tightens the umbilical cord. I could choke my baby!

While attempting to get the wee one to move around (poking my stomach), I heard another student mutter, "She's going to kill that baby." If it was that easy two things would be true.

1. We'd be in trouble as a species...
2. We would not have heated national/political debates about the legality of medical abortions.

I don't normally try to 'wake up' the baby - and frankly it doesn't work- but I'm quite certain that this system has been fine tuned. This baby is comfortable, content, and growing.

We're talking about a baby that is just under 3 pounds, is head up at 30 weeks, and is pretty gentle with the movement. Studies monitoring movement in utero, and again in childhood, show that these two things have a high correlation. I know that's not a lot to go on, but I feel like I'm getting to know my baby a little bit. It's like having a clue to the chili pepper's personality. A little piece of information to give detail to my imaginings about our future.

Happy 2011

| No TrackBacks

New years resolutions tend to be genuine intentions to improve oneself that don't actually see much follow through. I like to reserve those sorts of intentions for my long term work towards Self Actualization (I am being a little facetious here). When I was 13 and I vowed to stop reading Dear Abby as my New Year's Resolution. Now that's a resolution worth keeping. Happy New Year Folks!

Irony & Stress Defined

| No TrackBacks

As an educator I find high stakes standardized testing to be offensive & counterproductive. Yet I find myself the director of these assessments in my building.

I went to hear Alfie Kohn speak when I taught in VA, and he made a comment that when student scores go up on standardized tests we should be worried & ask ourselves, what was the cost of that increase? I have seen first hand in many schools what this focus on standardized testing has done to our education system, and it's not good.

Still Searching

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

I recieved a note from the Common Pleas Court today that our newly owned home will be reassessed for taxes - of course. And it is strongly recommended that we go to the hearing. What a strange state I live in.

This letter inspired me to do some more job searching. My favorite source- Craigslist- supplied me with hours of sorting and e-mailing. I think I will be able to get in on some well paid (this is relative) tutoring and a private school that pays subs better than the one I have been working for of late.

It is hard to wait long enough to allow the substituting to push me into a full time position. I still need a second medical form attesting to my good health before I can work in the puublic schools.

After a deep search into the working world I cleaned up a space in the basement and drew a picture of my mother from a photo. Soon I will begin to paint. It is not fabulous - but I think it is recognizeably a photo of Stephanie. The really hard part will come in getting the lighting right. Well - the next hard part. The drawing was also difficult. Especially the facial features.

Letter to my previous co workers

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

Dear Friends,
Many of you requested that I keep you informed as to what I'm up to. I recently acquired a position as a nanny for a family with the $$ to pay me nearly as well as Fairfax County. There is a 7 month old and three year old girl. The family is very friendly, and works with a responsive classroom sort of philosophy in terms of behavior. I've always wanted to stay home when I have my children, and this will be great preparation. I'll be taking a month off in July, as planned, to go to Argentina. I hope you are all enjoying the school year. I've enjoyed working with you. Keep in touch.
For those who are wondering, I suspect that I won't be leaving the public realm of teaching permanently. But it may be many years before I return. Best wishes!

week two is over

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

I've been working in a DC public school for two weeks now- acting as an administrator and teacher in an after school program through a non profit organization.

Today was the second day in a row we couldn't take the children outside because of a shooting incident. Frankly, I wonder if any other day is safe?

I've started driving my car into DC, which cuts my commute int 1/3 of the previous travel time, which helps me be


| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

When considering the budget, what three things are your top priority?

What is your discipline philosophy, and what do you do to make sure you're consistant?

What to you do to support new teachers so that they are familiar with all the expectations and procedures?

I've had many months to consider what I'll ask to make sure that I am not jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
I went to my first interview today. They seemed impressed, and I too, was rather impressed myself. I was asked what I want/expect from team mates and the administration. I'm pretty happy to have been asked about that in addition to questions about my teaching. I'd be teaching 4th or 1st grade, I'm prefering 4th grade right now- but I could do 1st grade as well.


| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

D: "Why do teeth stick to your gums?"
Me: "Well, actually- they aren't stuck to each other like glue. Your teeth go up into your gums...they have roots that hold them in place."
Jl:"Like trees?!"
Me: "Yes, like trees. In fact- I have some of my teeth that were taken out during surgery. I'll bring themin and show them to you."
Me: "It's not really gross. They're just teeth. Just like the ones in your mouth."
Jd: "Oh"

Days later after several days of "Did you bring the teeth?"
"Oh! No, I forgot. Write me a note. I 'll bring them tomorrow."

"Did you bring the teeth?"
Me: "Yes. In fact I have them here! Now, we'll pass them on a tray. You shouldn't touch them. Most of the blood has been washed off- but I can see a little. Just look with your eyes as you pass them. Notice that the top part and the root part are different colors. Look at this one here. It's broken. Do you remember talking about how nerves are connected to your brain and that's how you feel things, and feel pain? Well, the roots were growing around a nerve in my mouth. The dentist didn't want to cut the nerve- so instead he broke the tooth. I'll place one side up and one side down. You can see how there is space inside your teeth. It's not solid all the way through."

As I'm talking the students are passing the makeshift tray I made from construction paper and tape because I couldn't place a lunch tray quickly.

"Are there any questions?"

N: "Why don't babies have teeth?" He's such a deep thinker!

"Great question! Actually, they do have teeth. But they are little, and haven't pushed out through their gums. Does anyone have an idea why babies' teeth are still in their gums when they are born?"

W: "Because they are still growing."

"Absolutely. Let's think about what we know about animals, and their teeth and what they eat." Meanwhile N is wiggling his hand like mad. Normally I don't approve of that but I can tell that student N has got the idea even before I made the statement about food.

N:" They eat milk"

"Exactly. I want you to think back to the video we saw on making cheese. Do you remember the baby cow drinking milk? Do you think that would feel good for the momma cow if the baby cow had teeth!?"

A chorus of NO erupts with many children shaking thier heads.

"Well, It's the same for people."

J points to her own little will-be-boobs-someday and giggles. The others are thoughtful. I'm a bit relieved. The boys can be dangerous with this sort of information. They suprise me.

"J, be mature please. "

J: "Okay" she says with a sheepish grin.

two children suspended in air

| 4 Comments | No TrackBacks

This is the visual that comes to mind when I consider the fact that two children were sent home today for fighting. However, today was much better than yesterday.

a) berate your child for ruining his/her $100 shoes
b) help your child double knot her/his$100 tennishoes
c) berate yourself for wasting $100 on tennishoes
d) replace the laces
e) call and bitch at your child's teacher. Surely it is her/his fault!