contact us

Want to hear more? Having trouble accessing something on our site? Have a comment? Let us know!



First Year, Thirty First Week: Teaching Edition

Tabitha Helms

This week I got sick. All those sneezes and coughs my children brought back with them after Spring Break plagued me relentlessly. I was trying so hard to be energetic and enthusiastic to teach my kids new things and inspire them to work together to be on their best behavior, which has been sorely lacking since Easter. It was very painful to do this with a sore throat. I went home at 4pm practically every day this week. I needed the rest. I was even kicked out of teaching ASL club on Monday because they knew I was feeling poorly. The sickness has lingered--4 days of a sore throat, which turned into 5 days of a stuffy nose, which turned into 3 days of coughing. I helped lead worship at church this morning, and couldn't breathe. I called my parents to bring my inhaler for me. I haven't needed to use that since I had bronchitis at the beginning of the school year. Not a fun time. A few highlights from this week:

My kids are READING! I've been writing sentences on the board and underlining one word in the sentence for them to decode. Then I've had them try to read the whole sentence. They've been doing an amazing job with it, and it's so exciting to watch them grow, and see them figure out a word that you give them hints for decoding. We've started working on blends like "sh," "ch," and "th." I also have been retesting them in their reading books to move them up to a more advanced level. I have four kids doing the Accelerated Reading program now! So exciting! Their reading has made me a little teary-eyed though. I told them I was so proud of them, but it made me sad too because it meant they were ready for first grade and then I wouldn't be their teacher anymore! They said, "Miss Neal, we don't want to go to first grade!" They also told me they'd still come and give me hugs and say "hi" to me when they were first graders.

We've really been working on our behavior. I've been stressing Happy Points like no other. On Tuesday, we were up to 12 points. I told them if they got 15 by the end of the day, I'd give them each 5 marbles for their own cups and 5 marbles for each student in our class marble jar. We met our goal and counted 90 marbles together for our class jar. They were thrilled. I said, if we did that again just one more time this week, then we'd be able to have a class party next week. We started learning fractions (I know, crazy) and I told them pizza was a good way to learn fractions, so we'd have a pizza party for our class party if they could earn it. They did it by the end of the day Friday. Everyone is thrilled except my "trouble child" who has been lying and stealing to beat the band the last two weeks. I told her if she did it again she wouldn't get to participate in our class party. Then she stole someone's treasure box toy. *sigh, don't know what to do with that child!

My boyfriend came to visit me at work this week for the first time. It was so sweet to watch him with my kids. He's very good with them, and they  were all crowding around him, asking who he was, why he brought Miss Neal flowers, and telling him their endless fount of unimportant, childish whims. I loved to see it. He told me he would like to come in and read to them sometime. I was thrilled, of course. Anyone who can see that my kinders are special and deserving of time invested is a good person in my book. :)