Monday, August 29, 2011

Pienso que comiendo ceviche durante mi visita de casa mejoro mi español.

Hola Profesora,

No estoy seguro si Ud. me recuerda, pero yo estaba en dos de sus clases de español en Pepperdine. Me gradué en 2009, y comenzó a enseñar a kinder en San José. Yo quería escribir una nota, porque he estado enseñando a los estudiantes los últimos dos años que en su mayoría hablan español en casa. Este año, regresé a Los Ángeles, y estoy enseñando en una escuela en la que tengo que hacer visitas de casa. Estoy tan feliz que me llevó a sus clases en la Pepperdine, porque he ido a las visitas de casa sin una otra maestra para traducir. Mis estudiantes y sus familias son muy importantes para mí, y yo estoy practicando mi español todos los días para que pueda comunicarse mejor con ellos.  Sólo quería decir lo mucho que mi español me ha ayudado a ayudar a mis estudiantesYo sé que mi español no es perfecto, pero estoy trabajando duro para aprender! :) Si he hecho algún error, por favor, perdóname!

Muchas gracias, y que tenga un buen día!

How do you communicate with your families who speak a language other than English? I have been working hard on my Spanish, and I love to be able to communicate with my families, even though my Spanish is not perfect. I often don't know words, but I am trying really hard, and I think because I am trying I feel more connected to my students and their families. Any thoughts??

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The First Day...

Hi all, I've of course been MIA as summer school started up this week. I did post the following for friends and know, a typical first day for a teacher. Would love to know how your first days have been going!

Let me walk you through what the first day looks like for a teacher...

All throughout the night: Wake up and think that it's time for me to get up to go to work. Go back to sleep at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., and 4:30 a.m., until...
5:00 a.m. Wake up exhausted but excited--all the prep from the previous weeks is going to be put into play today! Try to make myself look nice even though I showered last night so I could sleep in a little today. (N.B.* The day almost started off exactly as planned, apart from waking up earlier, which really isn't a terrible thing.)

5:25 a.m. Walk to my car...sit down...put the keys in my car...


Oh wait, I'm being overly dramatic. Something did happen. My car made this nice clicking sound. Yup, the sound a car that won't start makes.

5:30 a.m. Call my dad, if only because I know he is one of few people awake at this hour since it's 8:30 in Florida, and I just need someone to tell so I don't burst into tears (or burst into a string of swear words...which if you know me, swearing is a rarity, but in stressful situations (ex. when my car's tires basically broke last year, and then my bike's pedal fell off too), I do.

Mental note: Next year, take my car in for service BEFORE school starts. Just to be on the safe side.

5:35 a.m. Call a wonderful teacher from my school, and she and her husband pick me up to head to school.

6:15 a.m. Arrive at school with lots of stuff in my hands, unsure if I really grabbed everything I needed from my car. Hope that I really did get what I need. Prep my classroom, prep my classroom, stress.

7:00 a.m. Team Pow Wow--Getting ready for all our lovely kinders, the class of 2028, to arrive. Fortunately I do get to take two deep breaths at this point.

7:20 a.m. Have the teacher who taught in my room last year show me where BOTH light switches are. No joke. I couldn't find the second switch and was prepared to start class with half the room kind of in the dark (there was a little sun streaming through our windows at this point).

7:25 a.m. Students will be starting to arrive...I'm even MORE anxious!!!!!! Don't send them to me just yet! I'm not ready! Head down to help at breakfast, and I do love greeting all the wonderful students as they arrive. They are smiling and happy, which makes me feel less nervous about the potential for apocalyptic crying.

7:40 a.m. Realize I was supposed to be in my classroom five minutes ago. Head up hoping no families have arrived just yet so I can take a deep breath all by myself.

7:50 a.m. Summer School Begins!!!! At this point I am talking, moving, and sweating (no joke. My face is probably super red, and I am unaware of how much my body hurts, because I just keep moving.). I am smiling until my cheeks hurt and making everything super exciting, because it is! 

In my initial post I wrote: I am forgetting all my stress and just having fun with my students, teaching them our routines and procedures, singing songs, and enjoying learning!

...Well, that's what I want tomorrow to look like. Today I felt stressed...and then I reminded myself it's silly to be stressed. I still have hair. I don't have cancer. WIN. 

I try to use the whole cancer @ 19 thing as an advantage in my ability to have perspective. At the end of the day, I don't have a picc-line in my arm, I have all my hair on my head (even if it is a little darker, yes I'm still the teensiest bitter about my "dark" hair), and no one has offered me a wheelchair, because I seem so tired.

11:40 a.m. Drink half a diet coke. Sufficient lunch indeed.

1:45 p.m. Students are dismissed. I am still smiling. Greeting parents. Answering questions. Saying "I'll see you tomorrow!" to my wonderful students.

2:15 p.m. Exhaustion hits. Eat a peach, some fruit snacks, and finish my diet coke. Yum.

2:30 p.m. All staff meeting

3:30 p.m. I definitely laid down on the beanbag chair in our library and cried a little. Or a lot. I talked with some friends and family...and felt a little better about life.

5:00 p.m. Start to pack up to leave school. Realize, oh wait, yup, I forgot to pee all day. I told you it would happen.

6:30 p.m. Stop at Lakeshore. Purchase two books, Hands Are Not for Hitting and Words Are Not for Hurting, and the best part of course is that they're in English and Spanish.

7:00 p.m. Stop, jumpstart my car (woohoo!), drive over to my friend's place where I'll be spending the night.

7:30 p.m. Realize I'm kind of hungry. Fruit snacks + peach=not tiding me over. Also realize I have some text messages and phone calls to respond to from parents, but as I've been dealing with my car's sad state I have missed them. I return some phone calls. I leave a message for a parent in terribly broken Spanish, and I hope she understands me. I'm trying, I really am.

8:00 p.m. Call California Chicken Cafe, my comfort food in LA. One California Chicken salad with no carrots, please. Yum yum yum.

Somehow during the day, I also spoke with several friends, answered some emails, and now I'm ready to go to bed, hoping by no means to repeat today tomorrow but also hoping that I can keep the good things going and build on the things that weren't so great.

I realize this all seems very dramatic, and in some ways, it is. I definitely did not fail as a teacher today--and I think my tears after school are just a reflection of my investment in my families and their students from day 1 onward. I don't cry about many things, but man I cry about teaching. I am just so emotionally invested in my job, and I think it's probably one of my greatest strengths (but can also be a weakness for me) as a teacher.

So there you have it, the life of a teacher.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Message Time Plus

I am so tired and have so much to share! I started my new teaching job, and it is FABULOUS. Let's just say the teachers at my school are some of the most wonderful women. Ever.

Since I'm about to fall asleep, however, I just want to share two things with you.

First, I had a brief PD today about Message Time Plus, and I'm obsessed with it. It's Morning Message in the most effective amazing way I've seen presented. Lots of time for students to think and to talk and to learn. Love.

Check it out:

Second, I hope you enjoy the following:

KSS 2011 Gala Video from KIPP Foundation on Vimeo.