Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today was the last day of school.  I have completed five years of teaching.  Most years, when this day arrives I am full of excitement.  While I'm a bit excited, I am more sad.  I am really going to miss this group.

I have spent two years with many of these children.  And while the days and weeks may have been rough, I have never stopped loving or believing in them.  I have taught my babies how to read and write, how to add and subtract.  Now it is time for them to move on and learn more, but I am like a Mama who doesn't want to let go. 

Not only is it hard to let go, but I also worry about my kids this summer.  I worry that they won't read enough and will lose what they've learned.  I worry they won't have enough food to eat.  I worry that they won't get the love they need.  I worry about how they will be treated at home.  During the school year, I am able to show them that I care and make sure they get breakfast and lunch, but when they are home, I cannot.  This has always been what I have found most difficult about being a teacher.  It doesn't matter how great a teacher is, she can not change the home life of her students.

At the end of the day, I was getting particulary sad about having to say goodbye.  The little boy that I've mentioned before that hated my clouds and couldn't talk to me because I was a stranger came up to my table.  He said "That's why you are a special teacher."  Unsure of what made me special, I asked.  "You are special because you let us do stuff."  Hearing a student tell me I was a special teacher made my day and my year.  It made every difficult day worth it. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The past two days have been so much better than Monday.  I still had similar problems with the same student, but I've just let them go.  I have made up my mind to not let any student ruin the last week of school!  The past two days have been fun and I have came home energized instead of exhausted.  How did I work 8 and 10 hour days and feel energized?

~I played with my kids at recess.  I couldn't completely keep up with them, but I did do the monkey bars!
~We had a pizza party to celebrate the end of the year.
~I took time to color with my class.
~But most importantly, I remembered to take time to visit with colleagues and LAUGH!

Yup, that's it.  I've managed to get my room almost completely ready for the summer and keep my kids busy.  But I still feel great when I get home! 

And, to top it all of, a teacher of an older grade was asking if I had a better day yesterday and I said yes.  She then said she couldn't believe what a tough year I had (she had seen my struggles on Monday).  But what I loved was that she said that she couldn't never tell that I had it bad because I always had a smile on the face.  That was a compliment I really needed.  I was glad to know that even though some days I am completely stressed, others don't see it. 

Only 1 more day to go!  Tomorrow we will be watching Finding Nemo, having popsicles and saying farewell!  I can't believe the year is over, but I can't wait to see what summer holds! 

Monday, May 23, 2011


As I said goodbye to my 20 first grade friends for the last Monday of the school year, I did not feel the joy that I should feel for being so close to the end.  Instead, I felt defeat.  And not like I've defeated another year.  Instead, today I was defeated. 

I could just feel it all over.  This feeling of anger and frustration and heartbreak and grumpiness.  I hadn't done my best as a teacher.  Now, it's the last week of school and not much teaching is going on, but I wasn't there for my students.  I let one student and his stuburness defeat me.  I let him truly make me angry.  I never allowed him to see that I was angry, but I felt it inside and I sitll just can't let it go.

After leaving work and running errands, I went through the drive thru and picked up some nachos.  Unhealthy, fatty nachos to make my day better.  Now I lay on the couch waiting for the Bachelorette in hopes that it will help me to move on past today.  If nothing works today, atleast tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start.  And if tomorrow fails too...well atleast I only have a day and a half after that!

Do you ever have days that you feel defeated?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Arlington National Cemetary

Going to the Arlington National Cemetary while in DC was a must for me. Mom had gone last summer when she visited, but she went anyway. After walking around the basin, from the Washington Monument to Jefferson and then Lincoln, we headed that way. It did not look near as far away as it was. When we arrived, we were exhausted. It was so worth the walk though.

I loved this quote.

This was the most moving part of the cemetary and really the whole trip.  The precission that they guard the tomb with is just amazing. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival Part 3

I realized it's been a month and a half and I still haven't finished my posts about my trip to DC.  There are just two more, the Smithsonian museums and the Arlington National Cemetary.

We only went in a few of the Smithsonians and didn't spend a lot of time in any of them.  I'd like to go back at a less busy time of the year and spend much more time.  The first day of the trip, we went into the American History museum.  The second day we ended up in the Air and Space museum in order to stay dry.  We also checked out the Natural History museum so that I could get a few pictures for my students and then took some pictures outside The Castle.  With the all the crowds in town for the Cherry Blossom Festival it was packed to the point of not being enjoyable.  Here are a few (very random) pictures through the museums.

American History Museum

First Dumbo ride for Disney 

 George Washington statue that was basically rejected by citizens.

Air and Space Museum

Natural Science Museum

The Castle

My favorite was American History museum.  I'd love to go back and just spend hours looking around, especially without rude and rowdy children all around!  If you've been to the Smithsonians, what was your favorite?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Field Trips

I may have said this before, but I am terrified of field trips.  The classroom is a safe place where it is unlikely that you will lose a child.  The zoo or the farm or the park, not so much.  Those places have no structure, no lines you have to walk in, no being quite, lots of wide open space to be kids.  If you follow the news, you may have heard of the first grader that climbed over the fence and was malled on a first grade field trip.  That's my worst nightmare!

Today was our big zoo field trip.  I was dealing with anxiety all morning.  Finally, we loaded the bus and set out for the zoo around 9.  We got into the zoo and I sent a few kids with parents and kept 8 boys.  The first thing you see inside the zoo is an alligator and then the flamingos.  As we stood and stared at the flamigos all of my anxiety melted away.  The students loved just watching the animals.  We only saw a handful of animals due to the bus not arriving on time and bad weather, but not one student complained.  They were so happy to have spent 30 minutes inside the zoo. 

Since we didn't spend much time there, I didn't get many pictures.  However, I was able to capture a few of my favorite moments.

Not sure what happened, but these guys all started squaking and then they fluffed up their feathers and started fighting.  So funny!

We stood and watched this guy for over 5 minutes.  He would strut around his little area, let out a loud noise to get your attention and then spread his feathers and strut around like he was a model.  The kids were just amazed.

These nice tall fences made me feel much better about my children staying safe!

It was this guy's first trip to the zoo.  He was so amazed by everything.  I hated that he didn't get to spend more time there and see more animals.

This was my favorite part of the field trip.  All of the students up against the glass in awe.  It's such a special gift to share the wonders of the zoo with these children.  Have I mentioned how much I love my job?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What I Couldn't Live Without (in the Classroom)

I only have 17 more days of school with the kids.  I can't believe it.  I also only have 3 more days left with a student teacher in my room.  When I student taught, both of my mentor teachers gave me graduation gifts and that was always special to me.  For that reason, when I have a student teacher, I always strive to show her that I appreciated her with a graduation gift.  I've been working on putting together a basket of things for her to use when she has a classroom, mostly a lot of things I could not live without.  I thought about sharing my favorite classroom things, but I am sure you know that I love post it notes and Sharpie markers.  Instead, I thought I'd share a few of my nontraditional favorite things in my classroom that I couldn't live without.

1.   A digital timer.  This is the first year I've used one and this guy is my new best friend.  I have one student (who also hated my clouds and couldn't speak to me because I was a stranger) who will get angry and sit in the corner.  I've found I can set the timer for 2 minutes and when it beeps, he is good to go as if nothing has happened.

2. Cheez-Its and Dr. Pepper.  This is my every day snack at 10:00.  This is something I've done for years and I still haven't gotten tired of it.  I don't know what it is, but every day at 10 I am starving and shaky and this does the trick!

3.  Scotch Packing Tape.  This tape will hold anything together.  It holds papers on the wall, even with 30 mph winds.  It repairs books.  Holds up bulletin boards.  It's great. 

4.  Scentsy Warmer and bars.  This thing is wonderful at covering up the smell of sweaty children and soured milk that was left in a cubby over the weekend.  I like to stick with lighter, fresh scents. 

What are some unusual things that you couldn't live without at work?