Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The first semester of teaching

It really has been a while since I have posted (even when my last post stated as much as it did).  I have now been teaching special education for a full semester at a wonderful school and I must say...

It is much different than I would have thought it would have been, in both good and bad ways.

In no way is this post meant to be a rant or in anyway portray that I do not love my job.  There is nothing more rewarding than teaching, but the paperwork and politics are far beyond what I could have imagined.  Now looking back at my half decade of experience as a para-educator, the educational systems have changed far beyond what I would have imagined for such a short amount of time.  The legalities of my daily paperwork and the documents I maintain can be beyond stressful, especially when you have high level administrators working the regulations as they see fit (mind you it is within the laws, but more restricting to the educators).  Out of my 8 hour day, I teach through direct service 1.5 hours a day, cover para lunches and breaks for 2.5 hours a day and the rest of the day (minus my 30 minute lunch when I am able to) I am doing paperwork of some sort, attending or facilitating meetings.

The downfall I am trying to point out here is the lack of time I get to teach directly.  I find the paperwork to be a pleasant challenge (as crazy as that sounds), but I miss teaching.  Although this post may sound negative, I do not mean for it to.  I love my job, I love the people I work with, I love the kids I work with, and love my direct administration.  What I do mean to point out is the limitations and pressures put on educators to follow laws that do not always mean the best for children.  While I spend much of my time assuring that I am within the law, it takes time away from my students and away from going above and beyond on a consistent level for my students and create lessons and activities that will create that sense of wonder I often saw in their eyes.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I'm back!

And with good news!

So, as the semester wrapped up for me, really great things happened to me.  I was hired as the long term sub in the classroom that I was student teaching in (six weeks of running and coordinating a classroom by myself was amazing) AND I was hired as the new special educator.  Although the grade was something that I would have never seen myself approach before, I think it will be a great experience and I will be part of a fantastic team.

Since my last post, I have also graduated, walked, gotten my finalized transcript sent to the Agency of Education and am in the works to finalizing my license and having it mailed to me.  It is an expensive and time consuming process, but what can I say?  I HAVE A JOB!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Apologies

Over the next few weeks, the number of posts I will be publishing will be much fewer.  This is because I am prepping for my two week solo and STEAM Unit.  The prepping of materials and lessons plans is becoming intense because of my perfectionist manner, but I am excited still.

Will keep you all posted as much as possible.

Once again thank you for coming to my blog, feel free to share content, +1 or subscribe.


Friday, February 6, 2015

A Little Effort Goes A Long Way!

During my student teaching time, I have made an effort to introduce and greet as many people as I can.  In a school with 80+ staff this may sound time consuming, but in reality all it takes is a handsshake and a "Good Morning!"  My name has already become known through my new school and because of that, it has begun going through the school district more than it had been already.  Schools with openings coming up are asking for me by name, schools I have never even stepped foot in have heard of me and my abilities, particularly around math and science.  These openings are not even public yet and they have asked for my resume and application through SchoolSpring.

My dream was to make a name for myself, to get to know enough people that getting a job interview would be a bit easier, but this is even beyond what I could have imagined.  And all it took was a little effort, even the principal of my new school has asked me my opinion on ideas, as well as requested to observe my unit while I solo teach.

So my best advice to those going through your years of student teaching or even if you just want to become a little more known in your district:  take the time to say good morning and introduce yourself to people everyday, no matter how you may feel internally, outwardly you will appear outgoing and confident.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bruised tailbones and Co-teaching.

Today I had my first Co-teaching experience using the Team teaching method.  I have co-taught before using parallel and accommodation methods, so it was a real pleasure to try out team teaching.  It went really well.  My cooperating teacher and I played really well off of each other and I think it enriched the experience for the students in the room.  Students had two adults to reflect their thoughts and questions on, and had the chance to get two instructions/directions in two different styles to insure that they were getting things right.

My only issue I had, my tailbone was so painful.  I had taken a bad fall down some icy stairs last week, and since then there has been a throbbing pain in my posterior no matter if I am sitting or standing or walking.  It is enhanced when I am standing and walking on concrete (i.e. school floors).  The throbbing pain often took my mind off my work, but I am proud of myself for maintaining through the lesson.  I think I am so sore from the extended time I had standing yesterday teaching extra lessons throughout the day.

It is awkward moaning and grunting every time I stank or kneel while helping students.

My very first 5th Grade ELA lesson

This lesson (explained in another one of my posts about a mascot), went amazingly!  Students were excited throughout the period, they were on task and discussions were very meaningful.  Even though this lesson was directed at beaing pretty silly and fun and creative, the students took it seriously enough to use their time effectively and the stories they came up with was beyond my expectation.  The best part of it all was seeing students so excited to share their stories with the class at the end of the period.

During the first round of this lesson, my college supervisor was there to observed and made several comments on how well the lesson went and how engaged the students were.  Student behaviors were nearly perfect, with only one student having difficulty because he was simply not sure how to get his ideas organized on paper.  I presented this student with a graphic organizer I had premade and the issue seemed to be solved.

During the second round of this lesson, the 5th grade ELA teacher was in to observe.  This time the classroom was louder (26 children were talking and discussing ideas), but all conversations were on task and meaningful.  Toward the end, predictably, students became a little off task, so I pulled the group together sooner than I had anticipated in order to wrangle everyone to focus.  By doing this, it allowed for more students to share their work, and I gave students permission to add to their stories while others were presenting.  I think this enriched their writing further.

It was truly amazing to see the stories and narratives that the students came up with.  So many possibilities, so many personalities, so much creativity.

 I am more than happy to post my lesson plan or even student work if anyone is interested.

And as always, thank you for reading, feel free to share and like this post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thank you all!

Today I hit my 300th view in just a few weeks.  What an amazing feeling to know that others are enjoying my work.  Several of my posts have close to ten +1 and I have even gotten some comments.  The best feeling is when others share my posts.

Just in general, thank you all for the support, you make this worth it for me!

If there is anyone who has suggestions to improve my blog or content you would all like to see just message me or comment.  And as always feel free to subscribe or +1 my posts.