Why I chose to teach another year

Before leaving on maternity leave, I truly was miserable.

Add being hormonal to the every day struggle of teaching 8th grade students writing and basic English skills, I was dead set on not going back to teaching.

My school is far from perfect. Discipline and teacher support needs work in the administration department, the students tend to come from broken homes, and the state is constantly monitoring and changing the way we teach and how we are meant to teach.

All the extra paper work, meetings and trainings were adding to my exhaustion and I had had enough.

49f55c653a0969175fb973932b0f9288I use to go home and cry to my husband whenever the talk of going back after the baby came up. I hated every bit of my job and the thought of another year made me sick to my stomach.

(Luckily, my crying face was not nearly as ugly as Kim K’s, but still, you get the idea)

Then I had my daughter.

At first I was still set on not going back to teaching. I was enjoying maternity leave and not seeing students on the daily.

However, a few months after my daughter was born, I had a moment of adulting and realized I needed to go back to work soon…and teaching was the best option.

No, I did not change schools. I chose to stay at mine for another year (this will be year 4!). You may wonder why someone would stay somewhere that makes them unhappy… let me explain.

  • At my school, I know my administrators and principal will be understanding if I need to take off any time for my daughter. Whether it is for a doctor’s appointment or her birthday.
  • I also know that I LOVE my fellow teachers. My school has one of the best groups of teachers! We are all supportive of each other and friendly. If you even need a moment, someone will come help you out.
  • Teaching, in general, has a great schedule when it comes to having kids. Holidays and summers off. Brilliant!
  • Health insurance. My husband can’t get my family insurance through his job, so I need to work somewhere that will provide that for my growing family.
  • I really do love the students. At the end of the day, whether they make me cry or laugh. I know they only w13615447_10153632459888038_3664311718244452109_nant love and attention. I am happy to let them know someone in their life cares about them.

Yes, teaching is a hard job, and teachers are not paid nearly enough. However, if the love for the kids is there, especially with the middle school age group, why wouldn’t I continue.

I am not saying I will teach forever, but I can certainly handle another year if it means providing for my family.

I mean, look at my chubby little peanut! How could I not want the best for her and her future. ❤

 

Advertisements

How teachers feel in trainings (Memes included)

Every year, teachers have to do constant trainings, whether it is in regards to their content area, summer school, technology…the personal development opportunities are endless!

Most teachers even try to sucker a few friends to join them for the trainings, you know, for moral support and the occasional disctraction.

All teachers can relate to the following memes when it comes to trainings… img_3876


First off, teachers do actually work during summer vacation…that is when most of the trainings for the following school year happen.

Yes, we make this exact face, but mainly because we hate thinking about summer trainings…not fun!
I also make this face in a summer training. Honestly, I am sure I make this face way more than I should.

img_3877

Then there is this reaction every time I get an email about a training that is optional.

Why in the world would I EVER want to take an optional training that will give me nothing more than knowledge and component points?

Thank you, but I will pass.

img_3874

You get to the training and grab a table in the back for you and your friends…then someone (a teacher from a different school or someone who will make you pay attention) comes and sits at your table…

This is the worst! All my brain can do is go to this scene in Mean Girls.

Is it acceptable to email them this meme to get the point across?

img_3875Then you get that one speaker that talks about all their life experiences which have nothing relatable to your teaching situation.

Don’t tell me how strategies worked on students at another school in another country…I want to know what till work on my students, here.

So glad you are proud of your accomplishments, but you are wasting my lunch time by rambling on about yourself.

img_3881

Then there are a few phrases that this meme is the reaction to;

“Every body stand up for th

is next activity…”

“On a piece of paper write down a reflection to the following topic…”

“At your table discuss…”

672320

When you realize that like most school meetings, this training could have also been sent in an email.

Instead, you sat on your butt and listened to 8 hours of word vomit that you can never use in your daily teaching life.

You also probably have an entire tree full of the handouts that could have easily been emailed to you prior to the training. Save the trees people…stop wasting so much paper on things that will be thrown away.

So while those more diligent teachers listen closely, taking notes on what the speaker is saying, and participates like a good student…what are you doing?

Well, let’s just say playing on pinterest, sending memes in a giant group chat of your friends that are also in the training, and messing with snapchat filters is a good way to pass the time.

 

 

 

Back at it

After a lovely 7 months of maternity leave, this week was the start of a new schedule.

I came back to work.

I figured summer school would be a nice transition to fall when I start full-time, since it is only 4 days a week and a few hours in the morning.

I am currently in day 3 of summer school and am already exhausted. It seems like the baby knows of the changes and is all out of sync, she is not sleeping nearly as well as she usually does AND she is not staying in her crib for long.

My mornings start now at 5:30 AM, which is horrible. I am not remotely a morning person. I knew that having a kid would add time to my normal routine…but I did not think I would need to be up nearly 2 hours prior to leaving the house.

With pumping, packing the baby bag (if I forget to do it the night before), eating breakfast, getting myself dressed and then finally getting baby changed and dressed is how things happen now.

I also now have to add extra drive time to my commute because of taking the baby to daycare.

Don’t get me wrong, I was getting extremely bored with staying at home all the time…so summer school was the perfect solution.

It is nice to see some of my students…even if it is because they are making up their credits. I am also getting to meet potential 8th graders who I will most likely have next year!

Despite being exhausted, it feels pretty good to be back…and it will continue to feel better once I get more into the routine of work again.

Middle schoolers and pregnancy

Being ‘about to pop’ and teaching middle school students has been frustrating, but full of laughs as well.

Thankfully, one thing middle schoolers these days are still quite naive about is pregnancy. They don’t quite get how it works, which has led to many funny comments and conversations in my classroom.

Let me share some of these student thoughts with you so you can enjoy as well.

Pregnancy in general:

  • “How does a baby get made in only 9 weeks?”
  • “What if your baby has both boy and girl parts?”
  • “What if you have an ugly baby, would you switch it at the hospital? I would.”
  • “What happens if your water breaks in class? That would be cool!”
  • “You should have the baby at school.” (ew, NO ONE needs or wants to see that, thanks kid)
  • “Your baby should be born on Christmas!” (Doesn’t matter that Christmas would be 8 weeks AFTER my due date…no big deal)
  • “Did you already have the baby? Your stomach looks smaller today.”

Baby name suggestions:

  • “Is the baby’s name really going to be Peanut?” (Obviously, we don’t get the nickname thing in middle school)
  • “You should name her Aldina, it’s the girl version of my name so you always think of me.”
  • “You should name your child a country, like some of your students. You could name her Canada with a K. Or England, since she’s half English.”

Student advise on how to make the baby come out faster:

  • “Just poop…it’s the same thing practically.”
  • “Eat tacos. Lots of tacos.”
  • “You should play in the teacher v. student volleyball game!”
  • “Jump up and down.”
  • “Can’t you just grab her and pull her out?” (uhh…this is NOT a horror movie)

My favourite moment of it all though has to be from a couple of weeks in my WORST class. 22 kids, all but 3 are boys, and I see them right after lunch. Yup. You get the idea.

I was teaching them and they weren’t listening and the baby did a big move and all I hear across my room is “DID YOUR STOMACH JUST MOVE! COOL!”. They now pay a bit more attention, at least looking at my stomach, to see baby moves for them again.

I must say, although teaching up to the day I pop has been a bit stressful and exhausting…engaging in conversation with my students about my baby has been quite amusing. They truly have no sense of time…or how baby’s work.

Oh my darling students, thank you for at least making my pregnancy more amusing than the average persons. 😉

How to make a teacher “love” their job

I would hope you can all sense the sarcasm in my voice as I write this post.

Lately, I have been less than pleased by the education system as well as by my school’s procedures on certain things. As teachers, we are here to help brighten the minds of our future. However, lately, all I feel is the collar around my neck being pulled tighter and tighter.

Thanks to that lovely feeling, here are some ways I have found that truly make teachers just love what they do…and never want a career change.

1.Have a horrible disciplinary system.

There is nothing worse than knowing that your students know that you hold no authority when it comes to discipline. At my current school, this is without a doubt the case. I can write a kid a referral and all they get is a slap on the wrist and a “you do better next time.”

What a joke.

And to make it even worse, the district has cut back DRASTICALLY on the amount of days per semester that we are allowed to suspend a kid out of school. Use to be, you punched a kid or got in a fight…automatic 10 day OSS (Out of school suspension). However, now, if Johnny punches Joey in the face, he only gets a day or two because suspending a child for more than 2 days at a time needs to be “approved” and we can only suspend kids out for 10 days total a semester.

Seems like the kids are really learning their lessons, right?

2.Walk-throughs at the beginning or end of a class period.

I recently had a district walk-through. My counterpart and I had a GREAT lesson, so I was feeling confident and knew they would be impressed. However, they decided to walk into my 2nd period class with less than 10 minutes till the bell rang. So, obviously my class was putting things away, collecting projects, talking to me about their grades…normal end of class stuff.

The lovely district ladies wanted to come back, but nope..our awesome Literacy Coach decided it would be a fantastic idea to stay for the class transition AND the first 20 minutes of my class. Freaking fantastic. Thanks so much.

Needless to say I was not thrilled. I pee in between classes so the kids have to wait outside the room, I did not have bellwork and I had to B.S. my way into my lesson so they would at least see something of use.

So, a round of applause for making a teacher’s life more stressful than it already is. Really appreciated!

3. Having everything you do questioned.

I won’t rant about this one because every teacher knows this too well.

Every little thing you do is questioned like we have no clue what we are doing. “So tell me how you plan on chunking your lessons to help students process”, “and what exactly will this look like in your room?”, “how do you plan on proving that the kids are accurately tracking their own process”, “why do you breathe?”.

Let us do our jobs without being critiqued and perhaps the kids would learn something. If the political side of education would get its big, hairy nose out of our business the school system might actually stand a chance.

4. Being indirectly told to “fix” the amount of failures you have every grading period.

My school has just finished up the first quarter. Meaning, grades are due and I am getting to see how awesome (or not) my students did.

Every year it is the same. 8th grade shows HUGE amounts of Ds and Fs for final grades, the teachers get talked to and questioned about why this is happening, our lesson plans get critiqued and we indirectly get told that we have too many low grades and we need to count our big assignments for less to fix the problem the next grading period.

I have a better idea. Why don’t we STOP lowering our expectations for students and make them step up their motivational level.

And the we wonder why we have so many kids today who think they automatically get an A for sitting in class everyday. Obviously teaching students that they barely need to try to pass a grade level will really help them in the future. I can’t wait to see what type of future we have based on the lazy, unmotivated students I have. Should be great!

At the end of the day, the turnaround for teachers in my county is awful. Most new teachers will change their career within 5 years due to the many problems we face in the education system.

Sometimes, loving the children is not enough to keep you happy doing your job…isn’t that something we should think about when looking at our education system.

Without good teachers, how do you ever expect students to improve and meet their full potential?

Scales, scales, Marzano and scales

Every year there is something new that the Department of Education decides to stress on that is supossedly a “new strategy” that will make our education system better.

My first year it was board configuration (which kids never look at..but they NEED it.) Last year it was Common Core. *punches self in face* This year, our district decided to put stress on teachers about Marzano and scales.

_____________________________________________________________

158133005Let me talk about Marzone first. Marzano is my county’s new way of evaluating teachers. However, when we were given the information we were told “This is not to judge you, this is for you to help while teaching the kids.”

Please, don’t make me laugh.

Marzano is our new teacher evaluation rubric and it’s unfair to all those involved. However, if our county wants to show improvement in a couple years…they will do a proper job of making all our teachers look ineffective with this new evaluation scale.

I’m not saying it is completely useless. I am just saying that observing teachers for 15 minutes, 4 times a year does NOT give anyone a proper insight to how that teacher teaches.Which seems silly when a teachers evaluation can make or break their job.

  Doesn’t seem fair, now does it?

_____________________________________________________________

Now let’s talk about scales, scales, and more scales.

Scales look like a rubric, but a rubric for the kids to know how to achieve mastery of a standard.

I do actually like the concept of scales. 

Kids can track their progress on a standard every day and reflect on things they need to continue to work on before achieving mastery.

However, leave it to the education system to take something good and over do it so teachers hate their lives.

They want us to have seperate scales for every text you use. At the moment, we have one per standard since the standard is the same no matter what text you are working with. 

Ain’t no way I am going to waste my time, paper, and copies to create a scale for EVERY text we read in class.

As if teachers don’t spend enough time planning out their lessons around the multiples of tests, evaluations and district given lessons…

_____________________________________________________________

Why is it our education system can’t figure out the facts. All this ridiculous evaluation changing and writing every little thing out on our board is NOT going to improve education. 

I don’t see why we don’t look at other countries way of teaching and gain some of their knowledge…

Don’t you think it’s about time we stop worrying about the politics of education and actually focus on the education of the children who are our future? 

Red flags when picking a sub

substitute-teachers_o_1464061I have recently come across a very frustrating, ridiculous dilemma at my school.

Our subs are technologically stupid challenged,make my kids hate their lives and overall make my life harder to miss a day than it should be.

Why would you sub now-a-days if you can’t work a Powerpoint? Or you don’t know how to turn on a smartboard? Or you clearly dislike children? This baffles me.

As a teacher, getting plans ready for a day absent is challenging enough, let alone getting a sub who won’t do a lesson because they can’t work a computer.

So, here are some red flags to know your sub kind of sucks…

1.If your really good students say the sub is mean, or that the sub is horrible, then it is probably true.

When I have my amazing ducklings getting in trouble or telling me how the sub let kids play on their phones all day, then I tend to believe them over the little rugrats who are always in trouble. Now, I do check up on my darlings’ story, but I do tend to listen if they say a sub was horrible.

2. You find out the sub can’t work everyday classroom technology. RUN!

This is my pet peeve when it comes to subs. If you can’t work a laptop, elmo, or powerpoint…go work somewhere else. Why are you subbing if you can’t do things that are necessary for a teacher’s lesson plans. Teachers don’t just make up lesson plans for a sub to throw them in the trash. Seriously. Perhaps it’s time to have a career change.

3. Kids skip your class when certain subs are there.

Now, I know some kids skip…all the time. However, if you have multiple children finding other classes to go to during that period and they will gladly make up or receive a zero for the work, then I would say there is something wrong with that sub.

4. They manage to get ZERO of your lesson plans done.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t spend a couple of hours creating sub plans for my sub to ignore it all and for the kids to learn nothing during that class period. That is more work for me when I come back because I am having to reteach what should have been taught by the sub. I really appreciate the extra work, thanks so much.

5. You come back to your classroom being a WRECK!

Why is it some subs leave your desks like a maze, paper and books all over the floor and desks, and somehow all the teacher supplies on your desk manage to disappear? When this happens I automatically don’t want that sub back again. This shows me the sub had ABSOLUTELY no sense of classroom management and my kids took full advantage.

substitute-teacher_o_758053Again, these are some things I see as red flags when it comes to picking a sub. Luckily for me, I have searched high and low to find an amazing sub for my classes (especially since I will be on maternity leave soon).

I love a sub that completes the lesson, leaves me emails/notes about how my kids did, and doesn’t leave my class a MESS.

Is it that much to ask for? *le sigh*