Friday, May 24, 2013

job. house. test scores.

Today is May 24th, the eve of Memorial Day weekend, and I have the writing itch.  There seems to be so much happening lately, and if I were living in Honduras or Mexico, I would have been documenting every step.  Funny how I talk myself out of blogging now that I'm back.  But, right now it's either blog, or grade papers, or otherwise attack another item on my to-do list.  So, I choose blog.  

So, what's happening?  

I got a new job.
English: An apple.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm still a teacher.  I'm still in a public school in the same county.  But I just got a job offer at a school in the town we're hoping to move to soon. I'll be teaching a third grade, dual-language class.  I still have a lot to learn about how they do things, exactly, but the basic idea is that a Spanish teacher and an English teacher are kind of a unit.  There is a class of English speakers and a class of Spanish speakers.  Throughout the day, I'll start with the English speakers, then they'll rotate and I will get the Spanish speakers for a language arts lesson. Then for math, the kids are split and they'll do math in Spanish one day and English the next.  It's a magnet program in our district, and an awesome one if you ask me.  I think all schools should be dual language and all of our kids should be learning two languages from Kindergarten on. 
So, it looks like I'm going to be a third-grade teacher for the rest of my life.  This will be my 7th year teaching third grade.  Wow, that's a lot!

We might be buying a house.
English: for sale sign
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though we know very little about how this all works, and we're still, essentially, poor.  However, we're heading in this direction. And hopefully this happens before needing to sign another lease for a year.

We got the FCAT scores today.

FCAT official blue logo

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It's the day I've been dreading all year.  I knew that the vast majority of my students were significantly below grade level and many were quite new to the country.  I knew that, being the ESOL sheltered group, miracles weren't expected from many of my kids.  But, let me just admit that I cried today after seeing my students' scores.  I think, deep down, I hoped that I had somehow transmitted some amount of genius into my kiddos...or that they would realize the weight of the situation in the moment and put to use every one of the expansive list of test-taking strategies we had drilled into them all year.  But many of them, really, were just too far behind to catch up to the level they should be at.  Others seem to have just bombed it.  
In case you don't know.  Third graders must pass the FCAT in order to move on to fourth grade.  There are certain clauses that can get kids through if they don't pass, however, such as being an English speaker for less than 2 years or having certain learning disabilities.  Due to these clauses, a few of my kids who failed are guaranteed to move on.  And...well....enough of that.  No need to stretch today's bad news into the weekend. 

I'm going to start doing something relaxing for Memorial Day weekend. Maybe watch some Downton Abby, since everyone talks about it!  
Happy long weekend!

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teaching is like...

That is certainly how this past week felt.  Thank you, George and Abraham, for being born in February.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Keep Calm: Part Two

So, it's over.  The video of my lesson was played to the faculty at my school.  
The good news is that, instead of the scarily public way I had imagined it would all play out in the cafeteria, the administrators broke us up into small groups to watch it and discuss.  In my room were the {10} third grade teachers, the {over 10} special area teachers, and the principal. 
The bad news is that, while an email this morning informed us that there would be two videos played, they were really just two videos of me.  The lesson was cut into two segments.  
The teachers were all given a handout that had three sections: Student engagement, ESOL strategies, and Higher-Order Thinking.  Then there were places to write Teacher Actions and Student Actions for each section. 
The video wasn't as bad as I had feared. (Well, my hair was frizzy and my shirt was a little bit tucked in in the back...but, oh well...)  While my students were way too camera shy and didn't show everyone their full potential, the lesson really did share several cool strategies in a short amount of time. And, even better, the teachers got really excited about using the strategies!  Some of them, whom I'd spoken with before today about where the ideas come from, have already started implementing some things! 
Praise God for.... everything.  

My face was pretty close to this color...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keep Calm.

Do you hate the sound of your voice on tape?
I do.

I once had to record myself interviewing a teacher for a doctoral class I was taking in grad school.  Then I did lots of super fancy language-analyzing and wrote a lengthy paper, which I presented to my class, complete with {required} audio clips from the interview.   You can probably imagine how red my face got at those parts--not just for the awful pitch I perceived in my voice, but for the fact that a group of my very smart peers were sitting there listening to my conversation--my questions, my giggles, my 'ums', my reactions.

Can you imagine how much worse my embarrassment might have been if my classmates had been watching a video recording of me instead of just the audio?  There would be so much more to cringe about than my strange voice; such as my weird mannerisms, shiny skin, or hair mishaps.

I think that I will soon know how that feels.

During our staff meeting tomorrow afternoon, the other teachers at my school will gather together to guessed Teaching a lesson.  On the big screen.   {holyfreakingcowwhathaveIgottenmyselfinto!?!?!}

It's a good thing. Really.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  {Over and over.}  The administration wants to show other teachers the things they like about my teaching style (which, as I told them, is totally and completely stolen from the masterminds of Whole Brain Teaching!!!)

But I'm freaking out.  Because when I was approached about the video, I was told that another teacher was also being recorded for a similar purpose.  But she didn't get recorded.

And so what might happen tomorrow could be my very worst kind of nightmare.... A cafeteria full of my colleagues watching {and listening to} me {and only me} on screen.  

To get through tomorrow....

This better be one killer addition to my resume, that's all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Banish the Skinny Talk

Via this amazing article from the Gospel Coalition, I found some of these hilarious advertisements from way (?) back when...when a little cushion and curves was considered waayyyy hotter than skinny.   Who wishes for that time period?  And who finds it sad if we do?

Article Quote:  "Historically, padded women were considered beautiful, because only the rich and idle could achieve such a figure, and because curviness indicated fertility. For women of past generations curviness was extremely hard to achieve unless you had the money to eat well and work little. Thanks to trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup, this is no longer the case. Ironically, the rich and idle of today strive to look undernourished and overworked. And the rest of us rush to follow suit."

Article Quote: "What if in 2013 we decided to fast not from food but from body-talk? Sure---hit the gym, eat the Paleo diet, run six miles a day, wear Spanx from neck to knee. Just stop talking about it. Stop telling your friend she looks skinny---instead tell her you love her sweet spirit." 
Article Quote: "If someone comments on your own shape, say thanks and change the subject. Banish body-talk to the same list of off-limits topics as salaries, name-dropping, and colonoscopies. Apply the discipline you use to work out to controlling your tongue. Do this for your sisters, and by the grace of God, we could begin a legacy of womanhood that celebrates character over carb-avoidance, godliness over glamour."

Article Quote: "Where will you devote your energy in the new year? Go on a diet from discussing shape and size. Feast on the Word of Truth."

How's that for a New Year's Resolution?


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