Thank You

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love Teacher Appreciation. I love it not because I receive tons of accolades but because I truly believe in giving. 

There's not a lot of glory in education. I have yet to meet a teacher who does it for the pay, and I'm 99% positive no teacher does it for the hours. I'm sure this may come as a shock to many, but let's be honest - school doesn't end at 3:00 and it doesn't end in May. Our jobs are never ending. 

In many ways, I've had it easy. I'm not married and I don't have children. I can get to school at 6:30 in the morning and stay until 6:00 at night. I can go in and work on Saturdays. I can teach after-school without giving it a second thought. I can volunteer to teach summer-school. I know it won't always be like this, so I may as well give it everything I can now. I watch the teachers who have families at home. I don't know how they do it. How do you put up with kids all day and know that other people are waiting for you to get dinner on the table? How do you go home and give your own child all the patience they deserve? Me? If I come home and am exhausted I lay down. If dinner didn't get made, I don't eat (I know my parents would be appalled by this). But to the teachers who go home to another life, I respect you more than you know. 

I used to not think much about this, but then this year I was blessed with the help of a co-worker who I am inspired by every. single. day. She's my age. She's married and has a little one year old. Her husband travels. I honestly don't know how she does it. She is one of our Literacy Coaches and she is absolutely amazing. 

I used to not want the help of a coach. I think many of us have a perception that if we ask for help, we're weak. Why should we ask questions and risk appearing less superior than our coworkers? I used to think like that. I used to not care for the literacy coach assigned to my grade level. However, mid-year this school year, she left. In a way it was a blessing in disguise. I decided to ask for help. L fell into my life. Technically, she is supposed to coach 3rd-5th grade. I happened to go to her before an interim coach had been assigned to my grade-level. We were given permission to continue to work together. 

I remember the first time L coached me. I cried. I was overwhelmed. Did she think I was an idiot? She had to have. I was asking questions that I should have known the answer to. I mean, it was January. What must I have been doing the first half of the school year?! L never once made me feel like an idiot. What began was a series of co-teaching every Friday (together we have piloted Social Studies and Science Fridays for our entire school). When she is not able to be in my room with my students and myself, we miss her, terribly. I learn something new from her every time I watch her interact with my students. She has become a great friend and I am sad for this year of our teaching together to come to an end. 

Last week she couldn't be with us due to our state testing, and we took advantage of her absence to create a special present for her. When I tell you my kids adore her, it is an understatement. While I know that the best Teacher Appreciation gift is for the end, I couldn't resist sharing this one. 

The poem reads: 
We're glad you worked with our teacher
You've really helped us grow
We can't believe the end is here, 
Please say it is isn't so!
We love you so dearly
And we mean that sincerely
Sci. Fri was better because of you
Pancakes, Force, Jazzy JC and #42!
Such fun was had in all the things we did
But most of all remember, 
You made us feel like very special kids!


Keeping it Real...

through a series of confessions: 

There are 18 days left of school. 

Confession: I'm excited (for day number 18). 

In the next 18 days we will have Junior Achievement Day, Field Day, Teacher Appreciation Month, SST's, retention meetings, two benchmark tests, planning for next year, and packing. 

Don't be confused. I am NOT packing this year to go somewhere else. That's right, for the first time in my 7-year teaching career, I get to stay put. I get to know that I am staying before contracts ever come out. I get to teach the same grade for more than one year in a row. For any of you who have followed my story, this is miraculous and amazing all rolled into one. 

my first year - kindergarten 

my second year - kindergarten (diff. school)

third year - student teaching

student teaching, diff. school

fourth year - subbing; long term-subbing (not pictured)

fifth year - 1st grade

six year - EIP 1st & 2nd grades (not pictured)

seventh year - 2nd grade

Confession: It's going to be exhausting. 

Bring it on! I'm ready. My kids and I have had fun this year and we have all grown a lot - especially me, their teacher. 

I've learned a lot. I learned about the teacher I am and the teacher I want to be. I've learned that there are some co-workers and coaches who will help us get there. I've learned that there are some, who unfortunately, will set up road blocks. I've learned to keep my eyes open, my ears clear, my mouth closed, my head held high, and my ideas flowing. I'm thankful for the people who have taught me to stand on my own - whether I got hurt in the process, or I laughed every step of the way. It's the co-workers who you come to find are true or false friends that get us to where we are. I'll keep the true ones. Unfortunately, they are far and few between. At the end of the day though, I'm there for the kids. 

Confession: Teaching is hard. Not every day goes as planned, and let's be honest, we don't have a plan for every day. 

After 162 days of school, you can still give a vocabulary test for 5 words, have a word bank at the bottom, read each sentence aloud, and when you pick up the papers there is a child's whose it blank. Why? "I didn't know the answers." 

As you discuss Cause & Effect and have an awesome lesson planned incorporating technology, tying in The Lorax and Earth Day and yet you ask, "How can we look for Cause and Effect when reading?" and a students says: "Well if you are reading and turn the page really fast you can get a paper cut, so reading caused the paper cut." Have you missed the boat? 

Confession: Somedays you just have to laugh. In fact, almost every day you have to laugh. 

Confession: Teacher Appreciation at my school starts this coming week and I could not be more excited. I live for Teacher Appreciation - not for me, but so that I can have the opportunity to thank the co-workers who have taught me to keep it real and be the teacher I am. 

I've got some fun cooked up and can't wait to share. 

You've been so kind and generous
For your kindness, I'm in debt to you
For your selflessness - my admiration

Lessons Learned
keep it real
sometimes keeping it real goes wrong
be honest

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