7 Weeks to Learn a Lesson

Today went well. I got to school early and checked my teacher's email to find out that she was staying home sick and called in a sub. I wasn't surprised that she stayed home, she was a trooper yesterday coming even though she had the worst migrain. That's dedication.

So today we had a sub, which was interesting. Since I am teaching the whole day now, theres not much for the sub to do. Luckily my teacher has been pulling study groups from 2nd grade, so the sub was able to do that for half the day, but when she wasn't, she was in the classroom grading another teacher's papers.

A couple times when I was trying to tend to my students after I taught a lesson and it was their turn to do things and I needed to walk around and observe them... the sub wanted to chit chat. It was hard trying not to be rude to her and give my students the regular attention they need. Finally I interupted her and asked, "Will you help me walk around and monitor and see who needs help?" That was the best thing I could've done. I wanted to see if I could do the day on my own with my teacher not there at all, but it was an even bigger challenge having a sub I had to "entertain" for the day also. I guess if I can juggle both at once I did a good job.

I've also finally realized that I can be firm and loving. I've finally put my foot down and not let the kids walk all over me. We've all heard the saying, "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile." This is exactly what this class has done . . . it just took me 7 weeks to figure out how to find a balance. At least I can say I've learned/realized this and will hopefully remember it for when I get my own class.

3rd grade coming to an end

I feel like I've had a non-stop day. I stayed at the school until 5 trying to get ready for tomorrow and staighten up. I brought tons of stuff home to work on, and still didn't get to it all. It's 9pm and I should be in bed right now. I'll go in a second.

The assistant principal observed me today, and with my first lesson I did outside. The kids did really well and she even left me a really sweet note on the desk before she left.

Yesterday I opened up a letter I got from the school on Saturday...it says that they reviewed all my school records and as long as I keep my schedule this semester as it is and not drop out of student teaching then I am eligible to graduate in May. You have no idea how wonderful it is to hear that. I have been contemplating if I should bug the office or not about my records and make sure everything is in order and they're not hiding anything from me, but now I don't have to because I have proof that they are letting me graduate.

Tim's parents are having to make plans to come down for his dad's graduation in May already. I know it will be a good time, but I'm not sure if I'm ready. Tim and my parents will possibly meet in May, and as much as I wanted this a year ago, I'm not sure if I'm ready this time around.

Tim and I are doing better than we ever have been before. It's nice to understand each other and know how to deal with situations as they arise. It's also nice to enjoy each other again, getting to hang out and be best friends, it's wonderful. The idea of parents meeting still scares me though.

I still don't know how I did on my esl practice test, they still haven't found my test I took on Thursday. I'll again for the 3rd time tomorrow and see if there has been any progress in the search.

Time for bed, I just wanted to update a little bit. I can't believe that in less than 3 days I will be finished with student teaching in the 3rd grade. I'm really going to miss it. The kids are cute, and I've got the most wonderful teacher that I have been learning from. I know there is so much more I could learn too if I had the time. But it's time to move on to Kindergarten on Monday. At least I will still be at the same school and can see them for the next 7 weeks. I am kinda looking forward to a break and doing a week of observation. I knew that I would be worn out with teaching, just not this much.

Health, Youth and TAKS

I’m super tired, but I’m feeling better. I went back to school today and it was so nice to see excited students as they came to the classroom and gave me a hug to welcome me back. In the lunch room I even heard students from the other 3rd grade classes say, “She’s back!” What a reward to have. I was so happy to see my students again. I was curious this morning getting around for school how I would do. I figured my sluggish morning was just me getting use to the early morning again. I tried to leave the house earlier than usual because of the slick roads, but ended up leaving 10 minutes later than usual. My car wouldn’t start. I’ve noticed it having trouble in the cold, but I haven’t tried starting it below freezing yet. Luckily Pamela was nice enough to let me borrow her car for the day, and Brian is in the middle of replacing the battery for me. God is blessing me in so many different ways this semester. Even things like this that come up, God is showing his face bright and clear.

I called all my jr. high girls today to let them know that I wont be doing Wednesday night Small Groups anymore. I hated doing that, but I knew I had to. I’d rather them hear it from me, and not find out this Wednesday when it’s our last Wednesday together. I had to recompose myself before each call, so I wouldn’t cry while telling them my decision. I don’t want to leave my girls. I’ll still be around for other youth activities, but this still seems so big to me. I didn’t let on to the girls with that, I made my “news” as positive as possible, but I still can’t stop missing them already. I know this is the decision I had to make though. I need to be careful with my health. I am being introduced to so many new germs, and I already get sick easily. Having a weekly night that I have to commit to is a lot when each day I just want to come home and collapse.

Tomorrow is TAKS day. My 3rd graders will be taking the TAKS for the first time ever. They’re prepared, they’ve been practicing for a long time now, it’s still hard for the teachers to see them go through the stress that this test brings. If they don’t pass, they have to go to tutoring and take it again. If they don’t pass that time, then it’s summer school and another try. If not then, repeat the grade. That’s a lot of pressure. Today was real positive for them though. All the teachers got lime green shirts to wear with the slogan on it and we gave them a pep rally to boost their spirits. No homework was given tonight, just the encouragement for them to have fun and rest up. Because I am not a certified teacher and not trained to give the TAKS I cannot be in the classroom. So for tomorrow, I will get to shadow the assistant principal all day long. That should be fun, and I will probably learn a whole lot too.

Small Groups

I've finally had to draw the line, and put myself before everything else. I hate this decision, but I need to do what is best. When my health takes a toll and then affects my student teaching, which will affect my graduation this semester, something has to be done. I've waited as long as possible to do this, but missing the last 3 days of school, and stressing out today about trying to figure out what lesson to do this week, I can't do this to myself anymore.

This week will be my last Wednesday at youth. I'll continue helping on Sunday mornings and with other events that pertain to the youth group, but Wednesday's Small Groups wont be on my list of leadership roles.

I have not come to this conclusion yet, although it's been on my mind for a few months because of my girls. They mean the world to me, and I do not want to let them down. I also do not want to let Tim down with this either. I hate letting go of something that I love so dearly, but I know I cannot stretch myself so thin that it starts to affect every aspect of my life in a negative way. I pray that God will use this in some way to strengthen other aspects of the youth in ways that I am clueless to right now.

Maybe this will open me up to be able to go to more of the youth's extra-curricular activities, who knows. I know God will take care of everything, and I delight knowing that. This isn't the first time I have had to let go of something I love to do. It doesn't make this easier, but it makes me more confident to know that everything will be okay.

Valentine Party Pictures


This last Christmas I spent my break getting my tonsils out and even got a flu shot before that to prepare for this semester of student teaching so I wouldn't have to miss any days of student teaching. And what happens to me? I get Pancreatitis. I've never had any problems like this before, usually when I'd get sick, it'd always have to do with my tonsils. I guess I was bound to have something go wrong with me.
Tuesday night around 11 I woke up with a sharp pain on my side. I thought about calling Tim or my mom about it, but figured it would go away. When I woke up Wednesday morning I tried to stretch and take a deep breathe and became almost paralyzed with the pain it hurt so bad. I tried to learn how to move while getting ready for school so I could make it through the day and be okay. I told my teacher about it when I got to school, she said I looked really tired, so I told her I couldn't sleep well 'cause I had to be careful how I slept and breathed. I told her that Tim's mom is a nurse and I thought about calling her and seeing what she thought, so my teacher urged me to do that. With Nancy's advice I left school and checked myself into the ER since my doctor is 3 hours away.

I spent most of the day in the ER completely bored waiting to be released. They took a few tests, got an ultra sound (that was pretty cool) and got an IV stuck in me. Tim came to stay with me and keep me company, I probably would've gone out of my mind staying in that room hours upon hours alone.

The nurses I got kinda scared me. The one that came to take my blood prodded around in my right arm before giving up. She let a good looking bruise trying to dig around for my vein. Then she went to my left arm and got it with no problems. The lady who came in to put my IV in looked around for a vein on my arms and didn't want to chance it so she tried to put it in my hand...while trying to do that she says, "Oops." Umm yeah, when you're sticking a needle in someone trying to do something, "oops" is not good to hear. I kept looking at Tim with my eyes super wide with the hear of that word and didn't dare to look at what happened. She finally gave up and went to my left arm and got the same vein the other lady drew blood from. Before doing this though she says, "If I can't get it this time then I'll send another nurse in, we only get two tries per nurse." That wasn't comforting to hear either. Also when she said, "You probably don't want to look, there's a lot of blood." After she left I asked Tim what "Oops." meant, and he said the needle started to bend when she was trying to put the IV in my hand.

So all of that is over (luckily). I felt like I was putting myself through much more pain that I was feeling before I got there. Tim took me to SouperSalad afterwards for lunch (at 2pm). Then we went back to his apartment and I crashed on his couch for 3 hours before small groups. The indications that usually cause Pancreatitis don't apply to me, so I'm one of the cases where you just don't know. I'm suppose to be on a clear liquid diet for a couple days, so I'll do that today and see how I'm feeling tomorrow. I'm planning to be back in the classroom tomorrow. I miss my kids, and I've realized that they get really attached to their teachers, and they worry a lot too when their teacher isn't there. My teacher told me that they've been asking a lot of questions, so I can imagine what they'll ask today. I need to make myself rest a lot today and drink lots of fluids. I'm assuming this is an acute case, which means my pancreas will heal it's self within a couple days.

I did some research on it and here's a website I found that explains it more...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine parties are so much fun. I remember them being a lot bigger deal when I was in elementary. I guess everything seems big when you're little. My students were wonderful. My favorite little girl that reminds me of Tim's little sister saved up her allowance to get me and my teacher big teddy bears. She told me this afternoon that she found the very best one for me. She is so super sweet. I was very impressed when her mom told me that she saved up her own allowance to get them. I also got flowers, another stuffed animal, lots of chocolate and other odds and ends from the students. I think other people in the school were impressed with how much I got for just being a student teacher.

Yesterday went good with teaching. The kids were off the wall excited for today, and I wont be surprised if they're still excited tomorrow. Towards the end of the day I was wearing down and while doing math on the board with the kids I was saying one thing and writing down something else. I also had to pause and do something at the desk and when I got back to the board thought I lost my marker, but the class so graciously blurted out that it was in my hand. I think I turned a little red, but the students and I got a good laugh. After both of these mistakes on of the boys looked at me and said, "Ms. Dana, you are now officially a teacher because you have made so many mistakes." I laughed and said thank you. I don't know if that's a compliment or not, but it was cute.

Tim and I exchanged our gifts today, but aren't going to "celebrate" VDay until Saturday. So we did our usual of working out and eating dinner. This has been a great Valentine's Day.

My Most Important Lesson

I think my number one lesson I will learn this semester is how to be strong and how to be confident in myself. I have always been my number one doubter. Growing up everyone else always had more confidence in me than I did. And once again this doubt has set in. A couple times this semester I have thought about giving up on teaching because it is hard. But I know that God is setting my path out clear for me. He has helped me out so much through the years and has given me a passion for kids. I could so easily be a secretary and work in an office for the rest of my life, but that is not what I am passionate about. I know that God can use me in wondrous ways in the classroom, creating a safe place for my students to come to every day.

Last Wednesday I met with the principal and assistant principal and the number one thing I took with me from that meeting is that I need to be confident in my abilities. I could be the best teacher ever, but if someone else comes along and is more confident in their abilities and let them be known, then they would be hired over me because I do not give myself the credit I deserve. I'm not trying to be humble with my teaching skills, I doubt myself.

I am so scared of this week. I tried to hold back my tears and sniffling while I called my teacher tonight, trying to be confident in myself, but I couldn't. I know that when tomorrow is over and the students have gone home I will be happy because I will had made it through the day and it will be good. So why can't I have that confidence now? I know it will be a good day tomorrow and that there is no reason to worry, but right now I don't truly believe that.

I have breezed through my education classes without a struggle with everything coming to me as common sense, natural. The teachers at my school that I have gotten to know better than others have already told me that they are impressed with how well I am doing and they are pushing for me to get a job at my school. That is the biggest compliment I could ask for. And the school I am at right now is the ideal school for me to start teaching. God willing I will be there in the Fall with my very own classroom. I already know of one position that will be open for them looking for a teacher. We'll see what God's will is for me.

It takes a strong person to be a teacher. I know I can be that person. This is just another lesson that God is teaching me, and it will probably take all semester for it to really sink in.

Parents - A Very Important Part of Being a Teacher

Wednesday was good for the most part. It was my first day teaching all day long without the teacher in the room. Everything went well. The kids learned and had fun, and I didn't loose my cool. I pulled out a couple management skills that I have seen other teachers use, and they worked wonderfully. The kids have had trouble walking in the hall lately, they've been all over the place, so I picked one person for a reward for how they were walking in the hall and then let that person choose the next person who was walking the best in the hall. This technique awarded the class 2 compliments within 1 minute of walking in the hall, and one of those was the assistant principal.

So the day was going great until after school when an angry parent called up with "A problem with something that happened in the class today." While my teacher was talking to the parent and repeated that sentence I searched all through my head and couldn't figure out what they were complaining about until the conversation went further. The day before one of the boys was absent and came in with a note from mom saying, "If ___ feels the slightest ill let him go to the nurse." I got it when he walked in the door, read it, stuck it on the desk, and never saw it again 'til after school. After the phone call was over I remembered him coming up to me and telling me that his throat was hurting, and remembering telling him, "I'm sorry, but theres nothing I can do about it." We have a few kids in the class who come up with every excuse in the book to get out of doing work. So I have had to screen the kids and treat them all equally with their excuses and see if there is anything I can do first, forgetting about the note from a mom that morning.

My mind was so busy with trying to figure out what my management would be for each lesson and making sure that the day would go smoothly that I completely forgot about the note and never went to sit down at the desk with the chance of seeing the note. The students weren't even in the class for half the day because of computer lab, library, recess, and specials. I felt horrible about what happened and my teacher getting griped at by a parent. She told me the best thing to do is learn from my mistakes. I'm thinking from now on when I get a letter from a parent, if it's instructions for something during the day to keep it with me at all times so I can't forget.

God's Greatest Gift

I absolutely love my family. And God has blessed me this week with the opportunity to see my Mom, Sister, and Dad.

Mom and Katelin were up in the Dallas area Saturday and Sunday. Katelin is in the dance group at church and they performed in all 3 services at a church up here. It was awesome getting to see her dance. I haven't had a chance to see her perform 'til Sunday. I had tears in my eyes I was so happy to experience that. She was so pretty dancing up there in white. I also loved getting to see my mom. She makes me so happy, even to think about her. My mom has been a wonderful example of a Godly woman and minister's wife. I look up to her so much!

Dad is in town now. He spent the night here with me last night and will again tonight. He is in town for Minister's Week, so it's been great to get to see him and especially host him. Makes me feel a little more grown up to be able to host my Dad. :) Yesterday I met him at SMU and he took me to the West End to eat dinner then came back here. He was able to get a friend to come stay here also, so now there are no transportation problems to straighten out. Plus it saves him and his friend a lot of money from hotel fees. Today after school I went back up to SMU for a dinner, and came home early. It's my bed time now and they're not home yet, so I'll just have to see him in the morning. He goes home tomorrow. It's a short stay, but I'm glad I got to see him.

I haven't seen Jon and Brooke in about 8 or so months. Thats way longer than I've ever gone without seeing them I believe. I've been thinking of when would be a good time to visit them or convince them to come up here. I'm still thinking of the best time though. Guess I should probably talk to them too. I really miss my brother and sister.

Quick Update

I just typed a long post and it got deleted. So this should be real short now.

I'm ticked off at these people's dog 'cause it chewed up my lunch box (insulated lunch sack to be exact). I made sure it knows I'm mad at it. I took Tim to Wal-Mart and Target with no hope of a new one. The man at Target said to check back next week because they're getting new stuff.

Small Groups was great today. The girls had a lot of stuff to talk about with what is going on in their life right now, so we chatted most of the time and then talked a little more on Prayer from last week. We'll continue the lesson next week.

I was observed from my professor today for the first time. She only had one suggestion and it was to replace "do what" when I don't understand a student to "excuse me." Since that was the only suggestion I figure I did pretty well, but still question that there wasn't any other pointers for me? My teacher I work with did say that this was the best lesson she has seen me do yet too, so I guess it was pretty good.

Tomorrow I'll only be at school for half the day because I have to go to Fort Worth for our student teacher meeting. My 4 basketball players from small group have a game again tomorrow and at different times, so I'll see if I can make it, 'cause this time they're at different schools. We'll see.