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First Year, Twelfth Week: Teaching Edition

Tabitha Helms

This was a zooming week! The kids were thankfully not too crazy, which was unexpected because they had the anticipation of our school's Thanksgiving Festival to look forward to all week.

On Monday, we were told there was a costume contest for the kids on Friday and one for the teachers as well. We were supposed to dress up as pilgrims and Indians. They said, "If dressing up is just one more thing for you, then don't worry about it. You don't have to dress up." That was a relief. It was going to be a busy week. Nevertheless, on Monday night I asked my mom what we had around the house. I put this and that together and had a pretty decent pilgrim costume.

Monday and Tuesday my trouble child was suspended. Class was smooth and quiet as it always is when she's not present. She came back as a little angel though, and had a really good week. She was kind and obedient--a good listener and finished her work quickly and accurately.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday was a tiresome three days because I had a student wet his pants every single day. Last time this happened with another student, we sent a letter home to the parents saying to put her in pull-ups or they'd be paying for the carpet. So I asked the office if we should do it again. They agreed and sent the letter home. It didn't go nearly as well with this one's parents. A call to the office with yells and tears ensued. The principal came to hear my side of the situation. It was a frustrating ordeal because every time I talked to the stepdad or the mom, they made me feel like it was my fault this was happening. I don't know much about why kids wet their pants when they've been fine for years. I know you're not supposed to draw attention to the child. The embarrassment has the reverse effect. So I've been very careful not to let the other kids know it's happening. I haven't scolded or gotten upset at him. I just send him to change and remind him to let me know if he needs to go. I'm still frustrated about the situation, although we all worked together on some new tactics, and he didn't have any accidents Thursday or Friday. It's hard to experience having a parent upset at you. I was talking to one of the other new teachers about it; she said one thing she had to learn last year in her first year of teaching was to not take things personally when the parents were mad. For a people-pleaser, that's a hard lesson to learn.

On Friday we had our festival. The kids had a blast. I could have planned a little better to have set-up and tear-down. And it was a little chaotic getting the 7th and 8th graders paired up with my students to help them walk around. I got to schmooze around and enjoy the atmosphere. I took pictures and video clips of my kids and put it together in a nice little video that I sent to the parents this week for Thanksgiving. It turned out really cute. It was a two hour festival. I managed to sneak away to my classroom and get some prep-time in. There was a lot to do since we'd be gone for a whole week. I went out and chatted with the parents who came and took more pictures. I went over and was judged on my costume with the other few teachers who dressed up. I won the contest! I got another pin for my lanyard and a gift card to Wal-Mart. How exciting!

A favorite moment of the week was talking to a couple of the moms who are such sweet ladies. We were talking about what we make for Thanksgiving and I was telling them about my rolls made from scratch. They both said they've not had much luck with making bread from scratch. That surprised me because I have had the luxury of tasting both of their baking. I never thought baking bread was very difficult. But one said she'd love my recipe. I got home and emailed the link to my food blog that had the recipe on it. I signed the email "Miss Neal" like I always do when writing my parents. It always feels weird to do that because I'm younger than all of them, and it's especially hard with ones that I would love to hang out with and get to know better as friends if we were in a different setting and I wasn't their child's teacher. But I try to keep it professional. One of the moms emailed me back, starting her email with "Dear Tabitha," and signing her first name. I thought it was the sweetest thing for her to break that barrier with me. I was happy the rest of the day.