. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: June 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Year Done


Smell that?

That's the scent of freedom!

Sweet, isn't it?

I started my summer vacation today. Time to clean out my brain of all that teacher clutter and begin the decompression process.

The process itself is simple:

1. Stop teaching.
2. Drink margaritas (starting at breakfast).

As with any lesson, the valuable learning occurs after the lesson is complete and you've had time to reflect on what went well, and what you'd do different in the future.

What went well this year:

1. Teaming. I heart teaming with my teaching partners. Sharing a vision of student success and working together to make it happen is more rewarding than I could ever have imagined when I taught in a self-contained classroom. Teaming isn't for everyone, and I'm fine with that. It sure works for us though.

2. We had GREAT kids. Yes, even George can look ok...

...in my rearview mirror.

That being said, I really enjoyed working with this group of kiddos. They were excited about learning, sweet in disposition, and an overall joy to teach. They will be missed.

3. We had awesome parents who supported our unique way of teaching. What we do is different, and different can be scary for some, but they hung in there with us. In the end, many parents expressed appreciation for what we do and told us how much they enjoyed their year with us, which is simply the...


Now for the tough part...

What I'd do differently:

1. I talk a good game about wanting parent involvement in the classroom, however I haven't perfected my method of inclusion. I want parents to feel welcome, be there often, and have valuable things to do while they're on campus. In the future, I will include them more in my daily routines. Maybe you people can share some of your ideas with me? Please!

2. Patience. I need to have more patience. Patience with the students, their parents, my coworkers, and myself.  Loud-mouthedness I got. Sarcasm I got. Wordiness I got. Patience? Well, let's just say it's not winning the race with the other personality traits I have. I wish it would hurry up. I'm sick of waiting!

Besides, I hear it's a virtue. Who couldn't use more of those?

3. Incorporate more technology in the classroom. My history with it has been spotty, but it sure is a motivator for kids. As challenging as it can be on my nerves (see "patience" above), it is a necessary evil if my students are going to be at all successful in the future.

4. And finally, find time to blog more often. Lots of funny shi... stuff happens every day in school, and I need to find time to share it. More importantly, writing keeps me sane. The birth of this blog was a purely selfish attempt to keep myself sane in a job that was driving me crazy. I don't want me to go nuts. I don't have the time or the patience to fix it if I do!

That's enough reflection for now. It's time to go relax in the California shade, because sun is bad for us mole people, and enjoy a margarita. You know what they say:

It's 8:00 AM somewhere in the world!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ego Blow of Another Kind

Typical Friday

Kids are being remarkably good considering we're entering the home stretch here with one week to go.

The teachers seem more anxious for summer than the kids!

As usual on a Friday, I went to lunch today with my teaching partner. We realized that eating at the same joint for an entire year leads to the cashier putting in your order before you even get to the counter and instead of greeting you, she just smiles and tells you what you owe. Now THAT'S service...

...I think.

As I headed to the ladies room to wash my hands I see a familiar face smiling at me. Although I can't recall a name, I know she's a former student.

I smile back and say:

Me: Weren't you in my third grade class a few years ago?

Girl: Yes, Miss Lee. (My name before I became Mrs. Lee a few years ago) 

Me: Oh gosh! You look great! I'm sorry, but what is your name?

Girl: Diana

Me: Oh Yes! I remember now! (She could have said anything. Faces I remember. Names? ehh...) Out for the summer now?

Diana: Yup!

Me: Wow! What grade are you in now?

Diana: I just finished my sophomore year in college.

Me: Whaaaa???? (audible snicker from my teaching partner back at our table)

Diana: Yup, I'm studying to be a nurse.

Me: Whhaaaaa???? I mean, woooow! That's greaaaaat...

The pain I felt when I realized that this little person I had taught in third grade was rounding the corner on becoming someone who might soon care for me in my old age was indescribable, but let me try.


The cherry on top was when my human calculator of a teaching partner did the math and told me that my first class of third graders would have graduated from college last year.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ego Blow, Part Deux +1

 I'm not going to go through the laundry list of backlinks that showcase the vast array of comments George has made this year. To do so would require increasing the size of the Internet.

Suffice it to say,

George has struck again.

Sadly, my principal is leaving our school. (Maybe George finally wore her down?) Each class is participating in a video tribute to her.

Our fourth graders were all gathered on a hill in a nearby park so we could record them for our final portion of the video. A chorus of 100+ sad little faces waved at the camera and said in unison:

"Goodby Mrs. SoAndSo. We will miss you!!!!!"

And as the video fades to black, you hear one recognizably sarcastic voice yell out,