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First Year, Seventh Week: Teaching Edition

Tabitha Helms

Push Push PushAlways in a rush. Go Go Go Don't ever take it slow.

Like my poem? I came up with it on the spot. I've become an expert at coming up with things on the spot these days. Switching my schedule around is no longer a frustrating aggravation but rather a normal occurrence. I don't even break a sweat. Why, just today I whipped up a last minute shadow puppet show that covered two stories (The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears), had enough characters, props, and speaking lines to include 19 students, and used a pocket chart hanger with a paper from a flip pad threaded on as a screen with two borrowed flashlights. It was a huge success. I admit I was slightly panicked that I wouldn't finish quiet on time...I was cutting pigs and wolves and bears out of construction paper and gluing them on popsicle sticks during rest time. But I pulled through, you know why? Because I'm a teacher of course!

Teaching is still wonderful. God has chosen me for this, and I am in love. I am also exhausted. It's 9pm, and I can scarcely keep my eyes open. Haha. But I want to keep the memories fresh, so here we go!

Highlights: One of my sweetest little girls who is always attempting to "fill my bucket" and compliment anyone and everyone, and especially me, came knocking on my door on Tuesday after school. Usually when a child comes knocking, they knock and knock and knock and knock. I feel like I have to RUN to the door. If it's after school hours or even during lunch/recess, I rarely answer when I know it's a child. Call me rude, but it's my prep time--my moment of silence to take a breath and try to stop coughing. So I ignore them. Lol. But this was a little knock. It almost could have been an adult because it was a quiet, patient knock. So I went to answer. There standing at the door was my sweet little darling who looked up at me with a cheerful glow and said, "I just wanted a hug!" It made my day, this sweet little one's proclamation. :)

On Wednesday, there was a couple touring to see if they wanted to transfer their daughter over to my school. The student won't be in my class because I just got the last new student. But they came into my class. I was testing a student while the rest of my kids built Tower of Babel towers out of marshmallows and toothpicks. I finished testing and went around admiring the towers and taking pictures of the students. I wasn't even teaching anything, but apparently I was a big hit! The office ladies afterwards both made sure to spill the compliments of the parents to me. They thought I was an amazing teacher. So sweet!

Lowlights: There's not enough time in the day to teach everything I need to teach. I don't understand how it all can be covered in one day! I chose not to have centers this week because I need to reteach and spend more time on topics that we haven't really covered but that have been surfacing in worksheets from their workbooks. It's distressing to not have time to adequately teach things. I didn't think I'd be worrying about this in kindergarten. The kids have not been happy that they don't get centers this week. It's just too hard to fit them in with our shortened time. Wednesday the kids were soooooooo squirly! They wanted center time at the end of the day; they did NOT want to focus and learn about end marks and capitalization. It was very aggravating. I need to change my tactic or something to let them move around more, or do an activity of sorts.

The grading period ends this month. I am suddenly in a flury as I have discovered a whole new set of subgrades that I have to input. It's annoying. These subgrades are things like "retells Bible story" and "extends and creates patterns," but the grading website does not filter my grades from each assignment into these categories. So I manually have to add up all the Bible quiz grades, total an average, and enter a grade for each student. And then I have to do that for all the math assignments that have to do with patterns. There's approximately 45 subcategories. Oh my gosh. I'm so overwhelmed just thinking about it. I can't decide if I'm supposed to be accurate on these with actual calculations of everything, or if I should create new assessments and find time to give them. I'm stressing out thinking about it. Okay, new topic!

My trouble child and I have been working on following directions and on lying this week. I've had to take away two crafts that I gave instructions and told the kids what NOT to do that she promptly took and disobeyed my instructions. So I took it away and told her to put her head down on her desk instead. She cried both times. On Wednesday, the lying had just gotten out of hand. She lies all the time. Wednesday, after taking away her tower craft supplies since she decided to poke her finger with a toothpick and loudly proclaim to the kids at her table, "LOOK! IT DOESN'T EVEN HURT WHEN I POKE MYSELF!" after I explained that was NOT allowed in this activity. She came over to me and said she wasn't poking herself. I told her that if she was telling the truth, I wouldn't know because she lies to me so much that I never can believe her now. She stomped her foot and began crying louder. At rest time, she gave me her book and said, "I accidentally forgot that I got two books." I took the book and asked her what her other book was. (She's only allowed to have one book at rest time.) She picked up the book that another one of my students had for rest time, but had finished and set aside. I said, "No, that's her book. You're lying to me again. This is why I can't ever believe what you say because you lie." She humphed and pouted to herself. The third time on Wednesday that this occurred was at the end of the day. The marshmallows and toothpicks had been long since thrown away and buried by other trash. The other rule besides no poking with toothpicks was no eating the marshmallows. Ants had invaded our classroom over the weekend and a couple snuck into the marshmallows, so I told them they absolutely could not eat them. I also wanted to make sure they were working, not snacking. This little child I caught, with her hand in the trash can. I saw a little white thing in her hand. I called her name and asked what she was holding. She dropped it. "Nothing." "Nothing?! WHAT was in your hand?" "It was just a little piece of paper that I accidentally put in there." "A piece of paper. What paper?" She hemmed and hawed. "Well, it was really a little sticky lizard that was mine." (Some of them had gotten those from the library that afternoon, but I knew for a fact, she chose Nerds candy instead of a sticky lizard toy.) "A lizard?" "Yeah." "So if I go over to that trash can and look in there right now, I'll see a lizard?" She was quiet, I started walking over. "Well actually, no you won't find a lizard in there." "You tell me RIGHT NOW what you were getting out of that trash can!" (I wasn't yelling, I was saying it very firmly.) ;) "....." "Don't you dare lie to me again!" "A marshmallow." "Why did you lie to me?" "I don't know." "You just lost two marbles because not only were you doing what I specifically told you not to do, but you lied about it and that doesn't make God happy and that doesn't make me happy. Every time I catch you lying, I will take two marbles from you, so this needs to stop. I don't like that I can't believe you, and lying is a very bad thing." She started crying again. Ugh. I'm so over this!