Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Well, today was the big day. My first real day of teaching and having my own class. It was truly exhausting. I see a lot of areas where I can improve and change already but overall I think it was successful. My homeroom is pretty chatty and at the end of the day I'd written seven names on the board as warnings. I'm trying to start out strict and lighten up as needed.

I also teach reading and social studies/science (on a 4 week rotating basis between those last two) to another class. That class was very well-behaved and that freed me up to have more fun and we all had fun together.

This morning I was greeted at the door by Wal-Mart greeters handing out stickers. They were accompanying some dude dressed up in a big Tony the Tiger costume who was in the process of taking pictures with kids. "Eat your cereal, tikes, and then tell mom and dad to buy you some more!"

I went to the gym (where the kids go at the beginning of school every morning) and asked my kids if they saw Tony the Tiger. They answered with "His head is bigger than his body" and "He had a big zipper on his back." Budding cynics, all of them. In the meantime the kindergarteners now probably all believe that all tigers have zippers on their backs. At the end of morning assembly Tony and his crew came in and had a drawing for a boombox. One of my kids won it. I tried to convince her that it actually meant her teacher won it but she wasn't I just took it by force. Not really.

After school today I had a msg from a parent. I called her and she told me my student was crying because she couldn't remember what her homework was:

Lesson 1 - Make students write down all homework.

Lesson 2 - Don't call parents back.

Ok, scratch lesson 2...that probably wouldn't work out. Actually the mom was really nice.

The only possible problem that I'm foreseeing is that I don't think a block of 1 hour and 20 minutes is enough time to competently teach both reading and social studies, but the other teachers tell me that it will work out and I'll get the hang of it. We'll see.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Well, today I did a lot of scrambling to get things together and then at 1:30 the kids came. Oh, dear God help me!

I really only had them for 30 minutes today because they went to PE and music after that but wow...I already feel like I had them for a whole day. I just did a little intro of myself and then one kid says "When do we get to talk about us?" Sorry kid, don't you know school is all about me?

Kids are hilarious though...always wanting to know what's coming up next. One little girl was doggedly pursuing answers about when they would be able to play games in class this year. I would ask if there were any questions and about ten hands would go up and when I'd call on the kid he would inevitably start with "One time.." and then go off on some pointless story about how his dog chased a swing or something. We really gotta work on that definition of "question."

I stayed after school for a couple of hours today just trying to work out what I'm going to do tomorrow. It's hard because it's a mix of kids from various classes that were at different points in their books and materials so it's going to be review for some. I really want to just get my footing with the subject material so I can branch out with really creative and effective lesson execution from there.

I looked through the sets of books available for my classes in the library and the selection was a bit disappointing. I've decided though that we're going to start off reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8, by Beverly Cleary. I seem to remember enjoying those books as a lad. After that we're reading Stephen King's "The Stand" and then perhaps the book of Leviticus from the Old Testament. Something they can really sink their teeth into. At this point I must say "just kidding" which is ridiculous that I would feel the need to say that but this IS the internet and not everyone knows me.

Tomorrow's the BIG day. Say a prayer.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Not much exciting happened today. Still leading up to Wednesday when the kids invade. I did observe one of the other teachers teaching. It was somewhat informative but I still have no idea what I'm going to do on Wednesday!

After school we had a faculty meeting and we watched this video about preventing roaches in the cafeteria. How random is that? It was full of informative info like what kinds of caulk to use around sinks and what kinds of poisons are good in what location. Am I a teacher or a pest control dude? Meh...I guess in a way crotchety old people that don't like children might consider me pest control.

Friday, August 26, 2005

So what's the deal with the decorating and colors in public school classrooms?! Who came up with this stuff? Was it ever stylish?! These colors are just poop green with a touch of bile yellow, booger brown, carrot peel orange. Really inspiring colors for a 4th grader don't you think?

I'm doing my best to spruce the place up but the full transformation may have to be gradual.
Thinks are really coming together with the classroom though, I may not even have to go in tomorrow (Saturday) since I don't start teaching until Wednesday. Today I met my future students. They seemed excited...either that's good or they smell blood. We'll see on Wednesday.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

So I' m a brand new elementary teacher and this is my blog. I was just hired today in fact. I'll be teaching 4th grade at an elementary school here in Texas. I'm pretty psyched, the team of 4th grade teachers is really an incredible bunch of people and they all seem eager to help. The principal seems like a great lady too. There are 2 other males and three femals on the 4th grade team. It seems unusual to me to have as many males as females but I think it's a good setup.

For anyone that doesn't really know that much about me let me tell you a little bit about how I got to this point.

I graduated from Texas A&M University (WHOOP!) in May of '99 (although I was class of '98) with a degree in Speech Communications, a minor in Business and no idea what I really wanted to do. So I worked for a niche computer company for 2 years doing corporate client support. One can only sit and listen to clients with million dollar contracts yell at you about their computer for so long. An opportunity came up in 2001 to teach english in China and I jumped on it. I spent a year in northern (read "arctic") China teaching english to college freshmen and sophomores and trying to get them to quit saying "campurse" instead of campus as well as "famourse" and "idear." That was basically when the first seeds of a desire to teach as a career were planted. After that I came back to Murica and substitute taught until I got a job doing social work with middle school kids, then my wife graduated from school and we moved to another town in Texas where I worked in another job running a specialized learning program. It was under a social work umbrella but more on the education side of things. Well, this past spring of 2005 I decided that I could either keep finding these random jobs working in schools with kids doing things beside teaching or I could just bite the bullet and get my teaching certificate. I was accepted into a teacher certification program, finished in July and started looking for jobs. School started and I still didn't have anything until just this week when I got the call. I interviewed and two days later, I'm a teacher.

That's it...and now the adventure begins...

Dear God, please don't let me have any kids that act like I did.