Saturday, June 20, 2009

Loving Summer!

I made it through my first year of teaching with minimal drama. I certainly learned a lot and know that next year will be even better. I am loving summer vacation. I had the opportunity to keep my younger nephew, Benjamin, this past week. He is so cute. Chloe loves him and followed him everywhere. He kept telling me that Chloe wouldn't leave him alone. She was always giving him kisses. He would come and hug me and tell me he loved me while we were playing computer games, watching tv, or just hanging out. We played games at my house, went to the movies to see Up (3-D), went by my mom's office, went to the library, and spent many hours playing in the large blow-up pool my mom has for my nephews. Always busy and full of energy, that is how I describe Benjamin. It was interesting to watch him go full steam and then all of a sudden, if he got still, he would be asleep. The only little mishap - was that Ben through up one evening after going to the movie. I think the popcorn had too much butter on it for his little stomach to handle and unfortunately it would up all over my kitchen floor. For those who know me--this is not my strong area---however, I did get Ben out of his yucky clothes, in the bath, and then began to clean the kitchen. Thankfully my mom came and finished up the kitchen floor for me b/c I had had about all I could take. Oh, well. (Margaret - this made me think of Jeremy and pizza and root beer.) All in all, it was a great week. I am glad that it went well. It makes me think I can handle it another time. Now I am busy washing and packing for Hawaii b/c I leave in two days. I am so excited to see Sherry. Hawaii is second. I can't wait to just be with Sherry and hang out and talk.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I love birthdays.

April is such a full month. I know so many people who have birthdays during the last two weeks of April - including me. It is so fun to be able to celebrate with so many friends even though we are far apart. I hope everyone - Alice, David, Will, Margaret, Robyn, Dwayne, and Jason all have wonderful birthdays, celebrating with their family and friends. I am at my mom and dad's house today. My sister, Shelley, and her boys, Andrew and Benjamin, are here as well. We are having a small celebration tonight. Then tomorrow, after church, we are going to Macon, GA to eat at my favorite restaurant - Olive Garden. I can't wait. My mom and sister are attempting to make my favorite dessert, Chocolate Lasagna, today at home since Olive Garden no longer carries it. We will see how it turns out. I hope it tastes good.
My students can't believe that I am in my thirties. They keep telling me that they think I am only 25 or so. I just laugh and tell them I really am in my thirties. I can't believe we only have 30 days left of school. I really have made it through my first year. We selected room assignments for the new school on Thursday. I suppose this means I have a job for next year. According to the state, the schools don't have to give contracts to teachers until May 15th this year. It usually is April 15th that contracts have to go out by. We will begin moving everything over to the new school on June 5th.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I made it through!

I have made it through the first semester. Grades are posted and I am now busily preparing for the next group of students. I get three new classes of students on Tuesday and I get to do this all over again. I am excited about this new group and armed with all of the things that I learned by trial and error during 1st semester.
Here is a wrap of 1st semester--I had 80 students dispersed through three classes. I taught two tech prep classes and one college prep class. English classes are required to take an End of Course test administered by the state over things that 9th graders should have learned by this point. Unfortunately, teachers are not allowed to look at the tests. Only the past tests that are now published online. My students did not do as well as I had hoped they would. Everyone tells me that these students probably wouldn't have passed no matter who their teacher was, but it doesn't do much to help my feelings. I feel responsible for them. I had 35 students who failed the test out of 80. That is too high of a fail rate to me. As far as their semester grades are concerned, almost everyone passed. I had 2 in each of my tech prep classes who failed and will have to retake the test. This semester has taught me a lot and I hope that I will be even more effective this next semester.
This semester I will teach two college prep classes and one tech prep class. My class sizes are smaller this semester as well - at least for now until they start changing people's schedules around. I plan to handle the research paper process differently this semester as well as to work in a few additional grammar lessons. Stern Ms. Frazier will also start the semester off this time. I feel I was a little too nice to start with last time. I want to be a little stronger this semester about what type of behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable in my classroom.
Please continue to pray for me as I start this new semester and become involved in more students' lives. It was abundantly clear to me 1st semester that what I felt about the students, how I responded to them, and listened to them when they wanted to talk and even when they didn't want to talk is very important. I ask that I be able to interact in a manner that is caring and godly with each of these students - past and present.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This Thanksgiving break has been much needed. I have done a little of all of my favorite things over the past five days - reading, shopping, spending time with family, and watching movies. My sister and her two boys came and spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with me. We had a great time. Andrew and Ben are so much fun. They kept me laughing. We went bowling Wednesday night and they had a ball. Ben, the three year old, was so cute rolling the ball down the lane. Andrew, the five year old, tried so hard to beat Shelley and me. Too cute! Thanksgiving day was very nice. My Grannie made a lovely dinner and then we hung out as a family and watched The Godfather. Shelley, the boys, and I went shopping Friday morning...not at 4 am. We shopped for a couple of hours with the boys until they hit their shopping wall. Andrew, who is a lot like me, needs a plan before you leave the house of how many stores we are going to. I talked him into 5 stores. Thankfully, he usually counts the mall as one store. We went to 3 stores the way he was counting. I could tell he and his brother were getting tired so I told them we could go home and didn't need to go to stores 4 and 5. Andrew said, "Aunt Patti, that is a great plan. Are we still going to get long chicken nuggets for lunch?" I had told them earlier that we could go to Zaxby's for lunch. So we drove through on the way home. Oh, while we were shopping that day, little Ben happened to knock down three racks of clothes. He likes to hide under the clothes and scare us. One of the racks was wobbly already and I had almost knocked it down. I set it up straight and was walking away when Ben rushed past me. Next thing I knew 3 racks of clothes were on the floor and Ben kept saying "I'm sorry...It was an accident." He is too cute for words.

Well it is back to school tomorrow. I have three weeks to make it until Christmas holidays. It is going to be a stressful three weeks with the students having to take their end of course tests. I hope I have prepared them well enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1st Semester Update

I can't tell you how exhausted I am. It has been a fun, but rough start to my teaching career. I still have a lot of self-doubt that I am actually teaching my students enough or anything. I have also had many frustrating days where I am not really sure this is for me. Thankfully God provides me with some really great teaching days along with the bad. I really enjoy my students. This 9th grade class has some serious behavior and respect issues. It seems as if half of my students are always in In-School Suspension(ISS) or Out-of-School Suspension(OSS). I have to send work down to the students in ISS. I have had as many as 6 students in ISS at one time. That puts a lot of extra work on me.

My classes have just finished reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. They really enjoyed it. I have now read the book 4 times in the last month. Once on my own and then with each of my classes. The students will take their test over the novel on Tuesday -right before Thanksgiving holidays. After the test, I am planning to share Mr. Alan's Thanksgiving Carols with my classes. I hope that many families throughout Dublin will participate in singing and spreading the joy of the Thanksgiving Carols.

My apartment is coming along. I purchased a dark wood round dining table and chairs. I have also hung additional artwork around my apartment. After I finish the office area, I hope to tackle the space that I am calling my craft room. I need to get my Cricut machine set up in a more permanent place so I can continue to make things for my classroom. I got my hair cut into a bob style. I am enjoying it. Chloe is doing well. She loved seeing Emily and Ms. Jan when they came for a visit earlier this month.

On a sad note, my mom's dad, Granddang, passed away on November 7th. Yesterday would have been his 89th birthday. It will certainly be a hard Thanksgiving this year b/c he loved this holiday. His wife, my grandmother, is home from the rehabilitation center and hospital, but can not do anything for herself. My Aunt is in Florida taking care of her on a full-time basis right now. My mom is going down to FL for Thanksgiving and then she is going to stay the week after to give my Aunt Net a break and a chance to go home and see her husband in NC. I can't even begin to imagine the stress that my mom and her siblings are feeling. Thankfully there are four of them so they are trying to share in the responsibilities. So far no major disagreements have erupted between the siblings.

I am on the last push to the end of this semester. After Thanksgiving, I have 3 weeks until Christmas break and then 1 1/2 weeks after Christmas before final exams and the end of the semester. We are going to be finishing our research paper projects, reading and discussing Romeo and Juliet, and completing a public speaking project. My students also want to see the movie based on the novel The Outsiders and I told them we would try to work it in near the end of the semester. I still have two more formal evaluations coming up. I am looking forward to meeting a new group of students next semester. Some things will certainly be done differently next time. I learn a little bit everyday and overall I still love it. Just be glad you didn't ask me on Friday if I loved teaching or would have gotten a different answer.

Love you guys! Give me a call sometime!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If I can figure this out.....Here are the pictures of my classroom...Finally....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Interesting Development

Thursday night I was feeling tired and glad the next day was Friday. I needed sleep. Well I awoke early Friday morning (around 2:00am) itching all over. Even the bottoms of my feet and the palms of my hands were itching. I went to the bathroom to splash water on my face and was surprised by my reflection in the mirror. I was splotchy red all over. My face, neck, chest, hands, etc were covered with red itchy spots. I didn't know what it was, but I needed sleep and thought I would deal with it in the morning. I went fitfully back to sleep and got up at 5:00am. I called my mom and dad at 6:00am to ask what they thought it might be. We decided I had obviously been exposed to some poison ivy somewhere. I went to school, it was Friday after all and you can't call out sick on a Friday--I mean come on--faker!. Hee, hee. I went to school, checked in with the principal so he would know my dilemma and then proceeded to teach school all day itchy and wearing latex gloves so as not to spread my rash (if it was even contagious). My mom called her doctor and got me a prescription for Prednisolone. I have been taking that for the last couple of days. My read splotches have gone away mostly. I still have periods of itchiness. I guess I will be known as "The teacher who wore gloves." Not exactly what I had hoped for. At any rate - I survived another week.