Thursday, March 28, 2013

Week #9

I am officially on spring break, and done with full control.  Where the time is going, I do not know.  This week was easy in the sense that I only went to school two days, and those days weren't even full instruction days.

We had a snow day on Monday and Tuesday.  I was able to get a lot of wedding planning done, as well as study for my PRAXIS...what an unexpected blessing this was.

We had a delay on Wednesday, but still went to school.  I felt very refreshed and happy to be with the students.  It was a wonderful feeling.  I felt more patient and energetic.  I had not really noticed how worn out I had gotten, but the two snow days took care of that no sweat.

Due to the snow days and delay yesterday, waking up this morning at the regular time was a bit difficult, to say the least.  I had been spoiled into a more relaxed lifestyle...shame on me, haha.  Today was far from normal, but that far from normal was fabulous!  We just finished the story of Moses and so as a special treat, I allowed my students to watch Disney's The Prince of Egypt.  The students then went to library for their Thursday special.  When they got back, we reviewed manners used when a guest speaker is present.  We reviewed these manners because we had a very special visitor coming in.  Last semester, my class (obviously, my not being involved) write letters to their classmate's uncle who was a soldier over in Afghanistan.  He is back stateside and wanted to express his appreciation of their notes by giving them a flag that flew at his base while he was over there.  What a valuable experience this was for the students.  The local newspaper got word of our special visitor and asked to come over too.  Our class should be featured in the local newspaper tomorrow.  This too was a valuable experience for my students as we have been talking about the symbols of America, the flag being one of them.  What a special time this was.  Our day wrapped up with an Easter party!

My plan is to get some rest tonight as it is my first night of spring break.  I will head down to Charlotte tonight to meet my mister as he gets off work and then spend the evening with him and his parents.  I will fly home first thing Saturday morning before Daniel goes to work.  I will not be able to be home for long, but mainly to get some things decided for the wedding, and spend Easter with my precious family.  I fly back to Charlotte Tuesday evening and come back here Thursday.  I hope and plan to rest and work on school work my last few days of break.  I love my living arrangements this year as I will be able to rest and "be home" without having a long drive the day before classes resume.

Only three weeks left of student teaching once I get back from break.  From now on, I begin giving the classes back to my host teacher.  I am three quarters of the way through student teaching...yikes!

That's all for now folks...check back next week to read about the adventures of a teacher on break!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Week #8

This was a wonderful week!  I am getting in the swing of things and loving the flexibility of being full control.  Last week's post expressed my hardships, but I would like to now share the other side of things...I have been thinking long and hard about how to solve what I see as problems (students failing tests).

After much time spent evaluating, I think I have discovered one of the problems, and it is me.  A lot of my review and teaching time has been passive.  The students could easily tune me out and not be involved.  When I call on them, they answer the question, and then tune back out.  So...I have planned ten practice problems, but they are only reaping the benefits of one practice problem.

Trying to mend this problem, I have worked to revamp my time teaching and reviewing to involve all students at all times.  On the spelling test this week...I saw the rewards!  It was so exciting.  I am eager to see how it worked in math and phonics.

We have finished our study on Moses, and will conclude it by watching The Prince of Egypt this week.  I am excited to hear my students response when I tell them about this!

On Friday, the majority of our classes were review, via stations.  The students love stations because it involves several games, done in short periods of times.  I believe my students favorite game is a matching game with homonyms (language).  I find great joy in watching my students have fun learning.

On the wedding side of things...planning is progressing quite nicely.  Kari went with me on Tuesday to get my dress altered.  I was thankful for her company, and the two of us had such fun making an evening of it!  We enjoyed dinner with a mutual friend (who is another student teacher) and sharing stories.  We then giggled almost the entire way back.  I think we both needed that time.  I am very thankful for her friendship!

Today, I am snuggled up on the couch watching the snow fall and You've Got Mail...Happy Snow Day!  I am enjoying my day immensely  though I find myself missing my students.  I had this week meticulously planned full of fun activities, and some of those will have to go now.  Easter break begins Friday, and I plan to go to Vermont on Saturday after spending the evening with Daniel and my future in-laws.

It is Week #9 and my last week with full control.  After break, I will give Bible and Reading back to Genna, then Language and Math in Week #11.  Week #12 is my last week of student teaching and I give Phonics, Spelling, and History back.  I can hardly believe this phase of my life is quickly approaching an end.

Please be praying for me as I study for my PRAXIS (equivalent to the boards for a lawyer, or doctor/nurse), work on my e-portfolio, and travel this upcoming week.  I appreciate your prayers, and hope you stay warm as winter closes out with a bang!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Week #7

I am going to be honest with has picked up, and very very quickly.  I feel as though both wedding planning and student teaching have gone full forward.  I am tired and simply finding their are not enough moments in a day.  My fiancĂ© is so good... he answered his phone tonight (after midnight) after I call crying because one of my students failed a test.  I never knew this would affect me this way, but at the same time am thankful for the love and genuine care that the Lord has given me towards my students.  Daniel listened to me blab on and on about my woes, and simply reminded me of his love and prayed with me.  He prayed for my students.  Ladies, find yourself a man who brings your many sorrows to the Lord with you.

I promise, week 7 was good...great in fact!  I love having full control.  It really gives a whole new perspective on teaching.  I love the flexibility it offers, and the many opportunities for cross curricular application.  I still enjoy teaching language the most, but I also really enjoy teaching spelling.  There are so many games that can be played with spelling and I enjoy researching and implementing them into my lesson.

Monday started with oversleeping...I never ever want to relive that feeling.  I woke up at 7:53 and was at school by 8:03.  Without going into long detail, I was really able to see God at work through this situation though.

Daniel drove to VA on Tuesday to finish loading stuff that had been stored at his grandparent's.  On Wednesday he got the keys to our apartment.  I hated missing this experience with him, but we both knew that I needed to stay here.  Him and his parents put in some long hours.  I have seen pictures and a personalized Skype tour of the apartment and am pleased.  It will be a nice first home for us.  Thankful for how the Lord provides, both big and small.

The week finished off very well with school.  I find my eyes being more opened to the reality of the many hats a teacher wears.  Teaching her students is one of many expectations of a teacher.  I am learning a lot from my host teacher and asking questions galore.

Pray for strength this week, as I am tired.  Pray for clarity of mind as I think and teach, and pray that my teaching would be clear to the students.   I also ask that you pray for my students.  I have nine sweet first graders (3 girls, and 6 boys).  If there is any way I could pray for you, I would be delighted to, please just let me know!  Take care!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Week #6

I am halfway through student teaching and it hardly seems possible.  This is a huge time in student teaching, as it comes with great excitement, nervousness, fear, joy...and the list could go on.  I am peaking the hill, only to find time going quicker, and my heart falling more in love with my students, the staff, and this school in general.

I was mentioning today how much I enjoy grading papers.  I don't hear that too often.  If I have to do work in the evenings (which is almost always), I would rather grade papers then write lesson plans.  I say this because grading papers is a time I grow close to my students, and my eyes are opened to their personalities, their strengths, and their needs.  I see areas in need of improvement, and am provided with areas in which I may praise them.  I find this time very revealing as it grows my love and passion for these dear little ones.

Student teachers have said before "this is your first ever class, and they will always hold a special place in your heart".  This could not be closer to the truth.  These are the students patiently going through this experience with me, and teaching me so much.  What an awesome experience this has been.

Week #6 was insanely crazy as we had Dr. Seuss week, mixed with a week of snowy weather.  The weather brought a snow day, and two 2-hour delays.  My teacher self shone brightly, as I questioned "how am I going to teach them what they are supposed to learn this week when I don't have enough time?"  Don't misunderstand me though...I loved those extra hours too!  It was a week of stretching me in flexibility (which I told my professor at the beginning of the year I needed to work on this...a key attribute needed by every teacher).

We had spirit days, extra assemblies, and my host teacher and I tried to tie Dr. Seuss in every place we could.  For math, I used goldfish as manipulatives for the day when we acted out Dr. Seuss' famous book, One Fish, Two Fish, Blue Fish, Red Fish.  I created story problems into relating to Dr. Seuss, and we did crafts every day.  An art lesson I taught was in making a Lorax paper bag hand puppet.  They turned out so cute!

In starting math this week, I learned 30 minutes is simply not enough time at all to teach math.  I have so many fun games I want to do with the kids, and not enough time.  This was also revealing to me in how many times you have to teach a concept before they actually get it.  This has been teaching me patience.

Week #7 is quickly approaching, and that means FULL CONTROL.  My host teacher is in the room (most of the time), but I am the teacher, teaching everything and leading every activity and minute of the day from when they walk in the room, until they walk out the door to get in the car to go home.  I am excited about this, yet also nervous as this brings a lot more responsibility, and a lot more paperwork.  Being at week #7, I find myself completely overwhelmed with the paperwork and extra side requirements.  I am frantically trying to keep up and to [as I am constantly reminding my students] do it for the Lord, not for man!  I ask that you join me in praying that I not be overcome with paperwork, but instead that I endure in this journey, and that I seek to please the Lord above all else.

On a side note from student teaching, I am submitting another resume to a school down in North Carolina.  A friend of mine knows this church and spoke with the school administrator last week, who expressed great interest and said to "send the resume".  I am eager to begin hearing back from the schools and to learn more.  This particular school is just under a mile from Daniel's and my apartment.

Which brings me to...Daniel is moving into our apartment this week!  We are thankful for the housing that the Lord has provided for Daniel thus far, but are also very excited about the realities we are seeing in our future life together.  His parents will help him move in, for which we are so thankful.  Moving here will cut his commute to work just about in half.  How special it is to watch the Lord work.

Considering the time, I am going to close off this blog entry.  Yes, I am busy, but I appreciate those of you who use this to pray for me (and Daniel).  You are a blessing in my life, and I want to keep you updated on how He is answering your prayers.  Check back next week to hear how FULL CONTROL week went!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week #5

I didn't forget this time!  This has been a weekend of lists, but I have gotten a ton done!  Week #5 was a full week with two two-hour delays.

I enjoyed adding Language to my teaching this week!  I was nervous as ever about filling up the time, but I ended up with the opposite problem...I wished I had more time.  We were able to play lots of games, and I was so impressed with the students in how they used technical terms...this is the prefix found before the root word.  They are in first grade!  They make me a proud teacher (Genna taught them this, not me).

All other activities continued to go well.  We finished Junie B. Jones and are now reading Flat Stanley.  They enjoy this book, but not as much as Junie.  I continue to enjoy teaching Bible and Reading.

I take on full control next week.  This adds 2-3 additional classes worth of lesson plans.  That has been my biggest struggle in student teaching...keeping up with the paperwork.  Please pray that I be able to get those lesson plans written this week.  Another struggle of mine is teaching music.  I need to get some of these done, and my human nature wants to put them off.  Please pray also that I be able to get done all of the miscellaneous requirements.  I am just about halfway through my time of student teaching, it hardly seems possible.

I thank you for reading this post, but this tired teacher must get some shut eye.  The morning comes early!  Goodnight folks!