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First Year, Ninth Week: Teaching Edition

Tabitha Helms

This week was Health Awareness Week. We had spirit week for it.Monday: Rest (pajama day) Tuesday: Healthy Eating (farmer/fruit day) Wednesday: Exercise (sports gear) Thursday: Red Ribbon/Drug Free (red) Friday: Class Colors (Somehow we ended up with brown. It's because I'm horrible at jumping into discussions and saying what I want to say because I hate stepping on peoples' toes. Someone always starts talking quicker than me.)

It was fun to have spirit week. My kids were squealing with delight when I walked out of my room in my pjs. They were amazed that I would dress up too. Haha. It was funny to talk to them about spirit week, because I was trying to focus on health in our discussions about it. On pajama day, I asked at the end of the day (after we had already talked about it) "Why are we wearing pajamas today?" "Because it's pajama day!" was the response. Haha. "No! Because rest is good for our bodies; it keeps us healthy and strong and energetic!" Nice to know they're listening to me when I teach them.

Our school is getting WASC accredited. We're scheduled to have our first walk-through on November 16th. Also in November is my first teacher observation where my principal comes in and observes me teaching. I'm not too worried about it. I had an aide (and parent) in my class prepping all day long today. If anyone saw my teaching style and how I handle a classroom all day, it was her. Plus my principal just observed me teaching in May when they were deciding if I'd be hired for this school year. It's not too bad. I know I can teach, it's just kind of a bother to have to get extra prepped ahead of time and make everything as picture perfect as possible, even though I know nothing will go as planned. But hey, flexibility has become my middle name since becoming a teacher.

Report card grades are due on Friday. I'm pretty much done but I have one kid who has been out with a fever all week long who I haven't been able to assess. That's a bother. We have a half day inservice scheduled tomorrow to finish up our grades. I also have to do all my end of the month stuff...clean the frog tank, change my bulletin board, and who knows what else...

Sickness, sickness, sickness has been HUGE this week. As a new teacher, I expected to be sick all year. But I was expecting to just have a cold all year. That is not what I've had. Not only am I still coughing up nastiness from my bronchitis, but I've been getting awful headaches for two weeks, am completely and utterly exhausted all the freakin' time, and wake up every morning feeling nauseous. The latter has been killing me. I've never been really hungry or awesome feeling when I wake up in the morning--especially if it's within the hour of 6am that I'm up. But lately it's been really bad. I have always tried to swallow down some tea and very very plain cereal just to have something in my stomach for when the nausea wears off and I don't have time to eat for another few hours. I haven't been able to eat anything this week. I've instead had to spend all morning in the bathroom. Kinda throws off my morning routine, so I've been rushing to school feeling sick, running behind, being of a distracted state of mind, and composing an air of forgetfulness. Today I forgot a lunch, yesterday I almost got in an accident because of stupid rubber neckers watching a cop at the side of the road with a tow truck. My mind was too focused on whether or not I was going to make it to school without puking to be pushing my brake that hard. I was braking because I knew there would be people rubber necking. But it wasn't hard enough to come to a complete stop next to the tow truck, which is apparently what every other stupid person was wanting to do. Excuse me for caring more about getting to work than watching what the cop was doing. (end rant)

I brought up my sickness at devotions this morning and asked for prayer. I'm sick so often, I try not to make a big deal about it at work. I don't want to complain all the time. (I save it for home where my comforting mommy can make me feel better) ;) I love you, Mom! But when I asked for prayer this morning, the only things anyone had to say was "Yeah, it's your first year. You're going to be sick all the time." "I was sick a ton last year in my first year." "Maybe it's what you're eating. You need to eat this, this, and this." "Drink lots of orange juice." "Get more sleep." "Your body doesn't have immunity to all those kids yet, that's why." I was asking for prayer, not to be told what I needed to do or given a 'sucks for you, that's how it's going to be for the next 7 months!'

Aside from my sick state, my children have been absent all week. Two or three children every day have been out with a fever and come back coughing horribly. One kid coughed so hard at rest time today that she threw up on the carpet. Gross. I didn't get anxious like I usually to when it happened because I don't think she did it because she was sick. I think it was just the coughing. It wasn't a lot, so I was even brave enough to put the powder stuff on it until someone could come clean it up. It might have helped that the lights were off and I didn't have to see it too clearly. Putting stuff on it wasn't nearly as bad as how much everyone talked about it and asked questions about it afterward. Ugh, I just want to forget and move on when that happens. But not kindergartners. *Sigh.

We did have some fun, silly moments this week. I was assessing their text directionality. I had a Big Book out and was reading it with my pointer. I told them to say "stop" if I was doing anything wrong. I started at the bottom and read to the top. I read the words backwards. I read the second page and then the first page. Etc. Every time I was met with a "No!!! Miss Neal!!!!" Haha, it was adorable. One of them told me I was silly. Another one asked me if I was this silly at home too. Today we were doing our math worksheet. It involved counting by 10s and coloring only the numbers we said in the big 100s chart. I've noticed that they can' usually handle two directions together on their own. If I just said 'count by 10s' they could do it. If I just said 'color the numbers that have a zero at the end' they could do it. But to do both at once, is too much for most of them. So I was trying to make it fun so the advanced students weren't bored and could work on following along with my step by step directions. So I would tell them to count by 10s, and stop them asking for the last number they said. They would repeat it back to me, and I told them to color that number. Then we repeated until we had counted all the way up to 100. It took much longer, but they all got it 100% correct and they were laughing and smiling so much. They thought how I was giving them instructions was so silly. They kept getting louder and louder each time I asked them "What was the last number you said???" It was sweet.