Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thank You, Karma.

Happy Labor Day Weekend, everyone!  I have a couple exciting things to share.  Yesterday, I called the principal of the elementary school that is right down the street from me and set up my substitute teacher interview.  It will be on Tuesday!  Eeek!  Also, Sam has the long weekend off from work, which is great, because up until now I was wondering if I would be going to my mom's cousin's wedding on Sunday without my date. 

I am really excited about my interview on Tuesday!  I hope it will go well.  I know I am very overqualified for a substitute teacher position, but I don't want to be one of those people that assumes they will automatically be accepted and then screw everything up.  I actually am a little nervous about it, so I've been practing.  Haha!

On another note, yesterday Sam and I were randomly discussing acupuncture, when a memory from long ago was sparked that I want to tell you about.  Suddenly, I remembered my 6th grade health project on acupuncture that I worked on with two other girls, one of whom was extremely bossy and bitchy.  This girl, A, chose our topic, which I had never even heard of at the time.  She also chose exactly which parts of the project she would be responsible for, and delegated the rest out to the other student and I, without letting us have any say.  Unfortunately, when I was twelve, I didn't have the confidence to speak up for myself, which ended up really backfiring on me.  Of course, being the good little student I was, I completed all parts of the project that were assigned to me, typing each piece up.  Well, A wasn't happy with the font or font size I chose.  She sent me home to redo my portion so it would match hers, which of course I did as well.  

On the day it was due, I brought everything in, and the A pulled me out in the hall with our other group member.  I'll never forget this moment.  She told me she would be telling our health teacher I did not participate as much as she or the other student did, so she would suggest I get a lesser grade than they would receive.  I was shocked and incredibly hurt she not only felt this way, but was going to tell my teacher a complete fabrication.  I couldn't get over the other student didn't speak up for me at all, especially when I thought we were friends. Kids can be so cruel.  

I was in a complete state of panic.   I had never been in trouble before.  I thought I was going to throw up.  Our teacher joined us in the hallway and A explained her side of the story.  Every time I tried to defend myself, A would interrupt.  I couldn't get a word in.  By this  point I was sobbing.  Eventually, I think our teacher was tired of hearing A's sob story, so she finally just said she understood and would keep this situation in mind while grading our project.  After the other girls went back into the classroom, the teacher looked at me, kind of pitifully, and told me I could go calm down in the bathroom. 

A couple weeks later, we each received our individual grades on our group project.  My heart was racing, as I imagined the C or D or F  I was about to receive!  To my surprise, though, I received an A.  Maybe even a perfect score.  I was incredibly relieved, but left wondering if my teacher made a mistake.  I hid my grade from  A, because I thought she might be angry. Later, I found out A only received a B on the project. With complete satisfaction, I went home and told my parents (who had already heard all the details about A's lie) my final grade. 

And the one word moral of the story is:

Looking back at this now from a teacher's perspective, I can see our health teacher tried to appease A, but must have seen through her the entire time.  Oh how teachers always know.  Thank you, Karma.

XO <3, C

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Hello, everyone!  Today, two unexpected things happened.  Number 1:  My brother, Jeff, got out of work early so he was able to stop by and hang out with me for a while.  We had a delicious lunch at a local diner.  Nothing like a BLTCA!  Number 2:  I received a letter from the superintendent of  the town I live in, asking me to contact one of his elementary school principals to set up an interview for subbing!  YES!  I wasn't sure if they would really be on top of hiring new subs right now considering this is a very busy time of year from them.  I'm especially excited about this opportunity because not only do I get to have my "classroom fix", but it would be in my town!!!  The two elementary schools are MINUTES away!  What a thought!  I'm used to the hour there and hour back commute I have had the past five years!  Also, I am really shocked to find that I might actually be needed. Just a few days ago, I saw that this district, actually the entire SAU, is no longer accepting sub applications, but I mailed mine in anyway, thinking maybe in a few months they could use someone.  I'm very excited about the possibilities that can come of this. :-)  I just LOVE SCHOOL!

And now, more on that subject.  I'd like to share two of my favorite Beginning of  the School Year books with you.  Let's get started:

Okay, we all know Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is a children's classic!  I'm sure most elementary teachers have at least one copy of this book in their rooms.  I love to read this book at the beginning of the year, as we are forming a classroom community.  Together, the kids and I discuss the importance of being positive and supporting  others who may be having a bad day, because we want everyone to feel happy, successful, and loved while they are at school.  Most children have great connections to this story, and enjoy sharing their own Bad Day memories as well as helpful strategies their classmates can use to turn their Bad Day around. 

I literally just discovered there is a free video version on YouTube!  I don't often use videos in my classroom, but they really add a nice change of pace, especially when the kids are suffering in the sweltering heat during the first week or two of school.
Mr. Peabody's Apples is one of my all-time favorites, and yes, it is by Madonna!  I want to thank my beloved cooperating teacher from my internship all those year ago for introducing it to me.  This book touches upon the importance of staying open-minded about others, instead of making assumptions about them.  It also focuses on the power of words as they can be hurtful to people's reputations and feelings.  This is another wonderful beginning-of-the-year story as it's a great segue into many common morals that are necessary for building a positive classroom community.  The children usually come up with ideas like, "Don't judge a book by its cover", "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", and "Don't spread rumors".  My favorite part of this book is the ending.  It leaves the reader hanging, and encourages kids to infer an even deeper message.  I'm not positive this book is still technically in print, but you can still find copies on Amazon.

I have a lot more back-to-school ideas I'd like to talk about, but I think I need a break for now.  I'll be back soon with more!

XO <3, C

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My First Day

What a weird day.

As I mentioned in my previous post, today would have been the First Day of School.  Instead, it was my First Day of I-Should-Be-Working-But-I-Don't-Have-a-Job! Hey, that can be a good thing though!  I have to say it was really nice to continue with my summer schedule (aka lots of sleeping in).  When I woke up, I immediately went on Facebook, which is how I usually start my day (unfortunately).  Of course, I was scrolling through my News Feed to see any Back to School posts, and I had to "like" all of them so I could be with everyone in spirit.  This morning activity ended with crying.

Later on, Sam (my husband) and I went for a quick drive to look at a house that is for sale...I'm not sure exactly why he wanted to look at it?!  (Is he really thinking about moving when I have zero income, and we are suffering the consequences of funding the wedding...oh yeah, and not to mention we are getting ready to go to California?!) On our way to the house, we passed by an elementary school. A young blonde teacher led a line of children outside and into the back of the schoolyard.  My eyes almost popped out of my head!  I couldn't keep from staring!  It just looked!

The beginning of the school year is my favorite time of  year.  Yes, it sucks that vacation is over and that the summer weather is fading.  And yes, it really sucks that the beginning of the year is INSANELY stressful to the point of usually causing tension headaches (for me at least). BUT it's also a time of excitement and new hopes and dreams. I love starting off with a blank slate and a fresh classroom.  Everything is in its place and looks beautiful.  The kids come in wearing fancy First Day outfits and colorful backpacks, and bring tons of brand new school supplies (a teacher's dream)!  You feel so inspired and hopeful that you will be able to reach every single student, forming them into someone who loves learning and life.  You're excited to try all of the new ideas you found on Pinterest or from your professional development.  Sigh, it's just fabulous.  Plus, those getting-to-know-you icebreakers aren't too bad either. I couldn't help thinking about how lucky that young teacher was as she brought her class outside, probably to do some fun hands-on or motor activity.

Later on in my day, I just felt kind of depressed.  It's really weird to be home alone all day while Sam and everybody else on the planet is at work.  I ended up watching The Middle for the first time, and I have to say it cheered me up!  It was pretty hysterical!

Afterwards, I was pretty productive.  To force myself off the couch, I decided to set a timer for myself for 1 hour.  My rule was I was going to clean and organize the house for 1 hour straight with no electronics!  No computer, phone, or TV.  Haha, it's like I'm parenting myself!  I really was able to accomplish quite a bit.  I reorganized my upstairs bathroom so I could make use of the new cabinet I bought the other day at HomeGoods.  I have to say, I think it looks pretty fabulous!  I also made use of 2 of the many Mason Jars I now have acquired (thank you to my wedding).  Those things really come in handy and they are so cheap!  I find them everywhere, but so far I have noticed Christmas Tree Shops has the best price.  I used them in my bathroom to hold Band-Aids and Q-tips.  They are definitely a good organizational tool!  Here is the result:


At this point I feel like I may be rambling so I'm going to say goodbye for now.  I'd like to end on a positive note... 

XO <3, C

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Here We Go...

Hi, I'm Colleen, and it is very nice to meet you!

For the past couple of years, I've been following many amazing teaching blogs, you know-the ones with the fabulously fun customized backgrounds, 1,000s of followers, and hundreds of links to their amazingly created Teachers Pay Teachers products.  I used to think, I want that.  I want to be that perfect and creative.  Well, how the hell do these people find the time and still have a real life?!  They are my role models!

I honestly don't think I could  ever be as perfect as them, but I'm suddenly finding a lot of extra time on my hands.  Tomorrow would have been the first day of school for me.  I was a 3rd grade teacher.  Was.   I resigned during my honeymoon just a few weeks ago.  Awful timing, right? I made the very difficult choice to resign on a major leap of faith.  I took a chance for adventure, which is something I normally never do.  I now will be accompanying my husband to California on a work trip during this school year. I should be feeling excited about this, but teaching children is my passion, so my resignation is extremely bittersweet. I think once we are actually leaving for California or certainly once we are there I will be in way better spirits!

Back to my newly found free time.  I no longer have mono, a bachelorette party and bridal shower to look forward to, a wedding and honeymoon to plan, a classroom to decorate and organize, students to teach, nor papers to grade.  I need to find something  new to keep me busy, but still related to education because that is my passion.  If I can involve myself in education or teaching in some way, it still makes me feel like...a teacher, which is really what I want.  I'm hoping to sub as much as possible in districts close to home, and tutor until we  make our way to Cali. Those things will help.  I'm hoping this blog will help too.  Now is my time to write about education, my teaching ideas, and my new adventures in newlywed life. This blog will be just one more way for me to stay involved with "school" and hopefully will be at least somewhat therapeutic for me.  Here we go... XO <3, C