Archive for June, 2010

GT Training…

June 28, 2010

This week, I am attending a Gifted and Talented training session.  In order to get certified, I need 30 hours of GT training of initial training, plus a 6 hour update each year.  This training that I am doing is 20 hours of class time (Monday-Thursday, 8-1), plus 10 hours of out of class work. Today’s session was on identifying GT students.  It was interesting, but our training got cut short.  We were at one of the elementary schools and had to evacuate because someone had called in a bomb threat.  I believe this is the school that is hosting summer school.  After about 15 minutes of waiting outside, we decided to continue at a nearby coffee shop.

I didn’t know what to expect of the out of class work, but it is much easier than I expected.  Basically, they have a list of different assignments worth a different amount of hours and we can choose what to do, as long as it add up to 10 hours, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to do them.  After today, I will be more than halfway done.  The only thing I have left to do for today is to come up with a list of 100 positive things about me.  I’m not sure what this is for (other than to inflate my already big head), but we are working with it tomorrow.  If you would like to contribute, please email me some things.

-J

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My favorite students…

June 18, 2010

Someone recently asked me which students were my favorites.  We had a good conversation about it, so I thought I would share some of the things we talked about.

It is all about personality.  I cannot think of too many similarities between them, but they all have a good personality and were kids I could easily talk to.  For the most part, these students were well-behaved in class, but not always.  Sometimes, even I kind of even liked the bad kids, because of their personality.  Some of the best behaved kids, I never got to know, because they were too quiet.  While I like that quality (silence) in my students, I like to talk to them.

As far as grades, they vary.  My favorite aren’t necessarily the smartest.  Some are really smart, but some also struggled.  Again, it comes back to personality.

Most of my favorite students were boys.  Some of them were boys I could see myself being friends with, if I wasn’t so old.  There was one that I would have totally loved to have as a little brother.  There is a lot to be said for me being a young male teacher, especially in a middle school (which I plan to post about sometime).

-J

Washington, DC…

June 17, 2010

Last week, we took some kids to Washington, DC.  We had 18 kids from our school go on the trip.  I only knew 2 of the kids, which was a bummer.  The trip was a lot of fun.  We did a lot in the 4 days we were there.  It was fun being with the kids, outside of school.   I am sure I will have more of my kids sign up, because I will definitely talk about it more, since I am really excited.

The trip was also very educational, although I don’t think the kids appreciated a lot of the history that they saw.  I definitely learned a lot.  There are a lot of things that will be helpful to me as I teach next year.

While on the trip, I had a project for myself.  I wanted to take pictures of me in front of things that we study in class.  That way when I have my powerpoints next year, I will be able to include those pictures.  I think it will be a good addition to the slides, plus it may help get more students interested in the trip.

I cannot wait until next year when we go back.  While we were on the trip, I told one of the other teachers that it is nice knowing that we will be coming back in a year.  Most trips, you never know when you will be back, so you want to get as much done.  There were things that I missed that I will get to experience again.

-J

Making the right decision…

June 5, 2010

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before.  When I was hired, they had narrowed it down to two candidates.  Myself and a man who had about 20 years of teaching experience.  They called us both back for 2nd round interviews and ultimately chose me (obviously).  Our department head liked him better, but the 8th grade teachers liked me better.  They thought I would be a better fit with them.

But here is the interesting part.  A week or two after I was hired, there was an opening for a 6th grade social studies position.  I was hired pretty late (mid-July), so this was even later.  Since it was getting late, they offered the position to the other guy.  They obviously liked him, since he was one of the two finalists.  I find this interesting, because they would be able to see how both of us performed.

And I (the new teacher) performed better.

At my school, the grades are pretty separated.  The 8th grade teachers see each other all the time, especially since we all eat lunch together.  I don’t really talk to other teachers much, except on a professional level.  All of what I am about to say has come to me through others.

The other teacher will not be teaching at our school next year.  Originally, I had heard that he had quit because he did not get along with his mentor (who also happens to be our department head).  Now, this was easy to believe, since our department head is…let’s just say difficult to get along with.  Most of our department hates him and there are several teachers who no longer teach 6th grade social studies because he was terrible to work with.  From what I heard, the mentor would always yell at his mentee and would not help him out.

However, I heard some more information recently.  Apparently he was not a good teacher.  I didn’t catch much of what they were saying, but he was asked to leave.  He had a lot of experience, but none in middle school (which is its own beast).

I don’t know the whole story, or even that much of it, but he is gone and I am not.  I know they feel like they made the right decision and don’t have to wonder whether or not they did.  That is a good feeling, a really good feeling.  I have also told them several times that I think they made the right decision. 😉

Like I have said before, I am happy where I am.  I don’t think I could have been in a place that was a better fit for me.  I don’t know if I could have been as successful anywhere else, including 6th grade social studies at my school.

-J

The day after the last day…

June 4, 2010

Yesterday was the last day of school, but today was our last day of work.  Have you ever wondered what teachers do on this day?  Well, I really didn’t do anything.  Some teachers did a lot of packing, cleaning, and organizing.  I didn’t. All of my grades were in and I had been getting things ready for a few days.  They are using our school for summer school for middle school and high school.  Luckily they are not using my room, since it is not centrally located.  I got some things done, but definitely could have slept for a few more hours.  I got in at 8 and we had a luncheon at 12.  I left right after, as did most.  Then some of us went to another teacher’s house for a pool party.  It was a nice way to end the year.

-J

Summer plans…

June 4, 2010

My summer is going to be relaxing, but I will have some things to keep me occupied.  First id our trip to Washington, DC.  We leave on Tuesday and I will have more on that later.  I also have several trainings and workshops throughout the summer.  Several of them I signed up for because I get paid (and they will be helpful).  I will just need to keep out of trouble.

-J

Last day of school…

June 3, 2010

I made it through my first year!

Today was the last day of school.  I didn’t expect to be as emotional, but I was.  Not that I was very emotional, but when the kids were leaving, I was a little sad.  There are some kids I will definitely miss and a lot I was glad to see leave.  These kids will always be special to me because they were my first students.

This year has been interesting.  I am definitely looking forward to next year, because I will be a lot more prepared.  I know next year will be a lot better.  Eight graders are an interesting bunch and there really is no way to be prepared.  I am really happy with where I ended up.  My school is great.  I got really lucky with where I ended up.

Now it’s off to enjoy my summer, because the real reason I became a teacher was to have summers off.

-J

Mashed potatoes and jello…

June 2, 2010

Since this is the last week of school and the kids were bound to get in trouble anyway, the administration asked us to eat lunch in the cafeteria this week, so there would be lots of extra eyes, in case things got out of hand, which almost happened today.

I had finished eating my lunch and started walking around the cafeteria, someone said my name, so I went to sit at his table, just to bother him.  I wasn’t there for long, when someone yelled “food fight!”  Before I knew it, I had been hit with a cup of jello.  Red jello on my white shirt and khakis.  Luckily, the food fight never really got started and only a few people threw food.

We are still trying to figure out who came up with the idea of serving mashed potatoes and jello on the last day in the cafeteria.  We decided that next year, they need to serve things that 1) don’t fly well in the air and 2) don’t make as big of a mess if/when thrown.

The girl that I sat next to said she was glad I was there to block the food.  I don’t think they were aiming for me, if so, it was a terrible shot.  Since I was sitting down, I don’t even know if the kids knew I was there.

I began to clean the jello off of me and started my rounds again.  The kids saw all the jello on me and asked what happened.  There was a rumor going around that someone tried to start a food fight and I punched him in the face to stop him and got blood all over me.  I may have started and perpetuated that rumor.  Eventually, someone brought me a clean shirt and I didn’t have to answer those questions anymore.

The teachers were saying that it figures it would happen to me because 1) it is my first year teaching and 2) I was wearing a white shirt.

Luckily we have cameras in the school.  The view wasn’t that great, but they were able to catch 3 of the kids and they were ticketed.

Only 1/2 a day left!

-J