Thursday, March 25, 2010

Smiling

I had a rough couple of days last week. It was most notably awful because I received notice that our department might need to make cuts (dun dun dun) and I am one of the people that could be layed off since I have only worked in the district for one year (my internship year doesn't count because I wasn't part of the union last year). It makes me so angry that the cuts are NOT based on performance and instead are based on date of hire. Alas, that is the case and they aren't going to be changing the procedure anytime soon. I am trying to stay positive and not let future lay offs rule my thoughts, so what better way to avoid those thoughts than by listing out a few things that have me smiling lately!

Last weekend the weather was beautiful and spending time outside with my little family and our neighbors really helped lift my spirits. We spent a ton of time gardening, weeding, walking, and barbecuing and look forward to doing these things a lot more in the coming weeks. This weekend will be a little cooler, but it is supposed to stay dry so that is good enough for me. We might venture down to the Tidal Basin to see the Cherry Blossoms or we might just enjoy the weather in our own backyard. We'll see.

Spring break begins tomorrow. The kids were itching for a vacation so I am hoping they enjoy the time off and come back refreshed and ready to finish out the school year strong! I am still working through Wednesday, but no kids means I can catch up on reports and paperwork. I hate doing desk work during the school day when there are other things that I can be doing with the kids. Needless to say, the paperwork piles up quick! With this break, I'll be all caught up in no time.

Today I won this super cute lunch bag from the Preppy Princess! I'm taking this as a sign that I will still have a job to which I will need to bring my lunch.

And of course my loving husband, snuggly puppy, supportive parents, and amazing friends keep me smiling. Without them I wouldn't have made it through this week! Thank you all so much.

What is making you smile lately? Anything you share will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More School Stuff

It was very interesting to read your reactions to my last post. A few people mentioned that the activity would have been correct if the greatest number was on the far right, but unfortunately that wasn't how she was writing the numbers. Since almost everyone said they would want to know if they made a mistake, I talked to the teacher and she confirmed that it was just a careless error. She didn't seem too upset so I am glad I said something. I love that there are so many teachers that read my blog. The insight you provide is priceless!

And now for a happier anecdote....

While observing a Kindergarten class, I watched two kids working together to make a construction paper card for their teacher. One student was helping another student to spell their teacher's name. It was so cute how the little girl kept running back and forth between the word wall and their table to deliver each letter. What was absolutely precious though, was that the card said:

"Four Ms. Cotman"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That's Not Right

I rarely talk about my job, but there was something that I observed today that I want to share. I would like to preface this post by saying that I am not trying to single out this teacher....everyone makes mistakes and it certainly does not mean she is a bad teacher. It just got me thinking and I would like to know what you all think too.

Now onto my observation....

I was in a 1st grade classroom observing a student that was referred for testing because he has temper tantrums and exhibits bizarre behavior in the classroom. I didn't see any of this behavior, but that isn't that uncommon. Even if I don't see the behaviors, I can usually get a feel for a kid, and this one definitely has some issues. Anyway, I wasn't paying that much attention to the lesson because I was focusing on the student I was there to observe, but I noticed something was weird with what she was writing on the board.

I think I witnessed the teacher teaching the students something that was wrong. The lesson was on greater than and less than and she was writing numbers on the board and then having students put the numbers from greatest to least in blanks she had drawn. So for example, she might have written 65, 72, 43 and then ____ <____ < ____.

But that is wrong, right? She should have used > (greater than) signs if she wanted them ordered from greatest to least. Once I realized the mistake I kind of panicked. I became confused because I wasn't sure if I was wrong, but after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized it definitely was wrong and then I felt uncomfortable, and then I thought about bringing it to her attention, but then thought that would be embarrassing for her and that she would hate me, and then I was thinking about how the kids were learning something incorrect and how that is bad, yada, yada, yada. Basically, a million things were running through my head as soon as I realized what was happening. The activity was over before myself or any of the kids mentioned anything, but I am still stewing over the whole situation. I am sure it was just a mistake (at least I hope so), but it got me thinking....

How often do you think something like this happens? I would guess we all operate under the presumption that students are taught everything correctly, but what happens when that is not the case? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Work Attire and Self-Esteem

Well hello there!

Somehow two weeks have flown by since the last time I posted. I guess that is what happens when work gets busy, I get sick, and I don't open up my laptop at night. I've also been reading a lot of books lately, so blogs and blogging have fallen to the wayside. Yesterday I had to mark all as read in my google reader because it was out of control and stressing me out. Blogging shouldn't stress me out, it is supposed to be a fun outlet!

I am feeling better, but work is still crazy. We are in the middle of state testing and the annual rush to get students referred and tested before the school year is over. Today was the first day in a while that I was planning to spend the day working solely with kids. Imagine my surprise when I got to school this morning and found an agenda for NINE pre-referral meetings regarding kids with academic and/or behavior problems in my mailbox. On "kid days" I tend to dress more casually and don't wear make-up, which is definitely what I did today. Since going off the pill I have had trouble with acne on my chin, and although my face has finally cleared up, I still try to give it some breathing room every once in a while. On meeting days I dress more professionally and always have on a full face of make-up.

Luckily I had my make-up bag in my purse and I was able to apply some foundation and bronzer so that I don't look like an 18 year old when I am trying to convince people that I have the answers to these kids' problems. They will just have to deal with my sweater/khakis combo because I don't have any extra clothing. Honestly though, most of my team will be in casual clothing and no one from outside the building (e.g. attorneys, advocates, etc.) will be in these meetings, but for some reason I still feel less professional when I am not "dressed to impress". It's not like I work for a Fortune 500 company where business attire is required, so what is my deal? Why is that clothing makes such a big difference in our self-esteem and our perception of our ability to do our jobs well? Am I being elitist in thinking that I should be dressed better than everyone else?

What are your thoughts on this??