Archive for July, 2010

My new residence…

July 29, 2010

I mentioned previously that I was moving.  A lot of people have asked about how I found this place and so I thought I would share.  The house is owned by someone who use to teach at my school.  She left around the time I was hired because she wanted to open up a bed and breakfast in Alaska.

Back before spring break, in March, she had asked one of my coworkers to post the information about the room for rent in her house.  One of the guys had moved out.  The teacher told me and I told her that I would be interested if it was still available when my lease was up at the end of July (which I didn’t expect to happen).

I didn’t hear anything until May when she emailed the teacher again and asked her to repost the information about the room.  I again told her that I would be interested if it was still available when my lease was up.  She gave her my number and she gave me a call.  She was really interested in having me take the room, since we are not complete strangers due to lots of mutual friends.

I don’t know the guys who live there, but one of my coworkers is really good friends with one of the guys.  She has told me good things about him.  This will be the first time since my freshman year of college that I have moved into a place without knowing anyone.

As for the house, I am glad to be there.  It is 2.5 miles from my school.  I am going to like the drive much better than my 25 minute drive from last year.  It will be interesting, as the kids in my neighborhood go to my school.  I know of a few kids from last year who live in the neighborhood.  I will also start seeing students when I am out.  The town is small, so I will inevitably see students at restaurants and stores, which I didn’t have to worry about at my old place.  I guess I am going to have to behave myself in public.  This should make for some interesting stories.

-J

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Summer institute, packing and moving…

July 28, 2010

have all made this week busy.  Summer institute is a big professional development put on by my district each summer.  They offer a ton of different classes and we can pick and choose whatever (and how much) we want to take.  It is nice because it allows us to get all of our professional development hours out-of-the-way.  This year has not been as busy as last year when I took 2 classes a day each day.  This year, I have been taking 1 a day (except that today’s one class was all day).

When I planned my SI schedule, I was thinking about moving, but it worked out well.  Each day when I came into town for SI, I would drop some things off at my new house.  I didn’t have to make any special trips to take anything.  As of this evening, I am moved out of the apartment.  I took the final load of stuff to the house.  I did make a special trip this evening because I decided to get it done instead of waiting until tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my last day of SI.  On Friday, I will head off to Nebraska to visit family.  When I get back, I will start staying at the new place and can begin to unpack.  That might take a while, since I have a lot of stuff.

-J

Training…

July 23, 2010

Yesterday, I went to a training for the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS).  Basically, it is the curriculum that teachers must use for ESL students.  It’s really not that difficult to incorporate; they say that good teachers do these things anyway.  I have done some training with the ELPS in other ESL training before.  The reason I went yesterday is because I got paid $100 to go.

The training was really good.  Not only did they teach us about the ELPS, but we practiced writing lesson plans with them.  They also gave us a lot of good resource books.  The best part was that this training was just for social studies teachers (they had other sessions for math, English, and science).  It was nice to have something that focused on social studies for once.  I almost did go (because the training was an hour away), but I’m glad that I went.

Someone asked me why I came to the training.  She was going because her school wanted her to.  My school encouraged us to go, but I went because I wanted to (plus the money that came with it).  I got to thinking.  I like going to different trainings and I have several explanations, in no particular order.

1) I am a new teacher and there is a lot I need to learn.

2) I do not have a degree in education.  I got some training through my alternative certification program, but that does not compare to the preparation education majors receive.

3) I am a nerd and I like to learn.

4) I have a lot of free time.  Unlike most of the teachers I work with, I don’t have to worry about kids, so I can easily make it to more trainings.

I have already completed over 40 hours of professional development this summer, and I am not finished.

In other news, I started moving today.  More on that later.

-J

Certification…

July 19, 2010

Last month I finished up with my certification program.  Today, I received my new teaching certificate.  I am  now fully certified to teach in the state of Texas.

-J

Happy Birthday…

July 15, 2010

I was hired for my position a year ago today.  That means that this blog is already a year old!  I hope to continue this blog for many more years.  I like being able to share my stories with others.  I recently had someone tell me that they miss my stories, since it is summer break and all.

I want to thank all of you who read my blog.  I love it when I discover more people who read it.  I hope to have many more stories to share.  I want next year to be exciting, but in a good way.  I am infinitely more prepared for what is to come than I was a year ago.  However, no matter how prepared I am, there will always be something that will surprise me.

-J

Knowing the content…

July 1, 2010

I finished my GT training today.  30 hours of training is a lot.  Luckily, I only need 6 hours a year to keep it updated.  If I miss my 6 hours, I will have to do the 30 hours all over.  The training was really good.  I hope that I will take away a lot and use it during my teaching.

I found this picture during the training and really liked it:

This is how I felt all last year.  The kids would often ask me how I knew so much about history.  I told them that I learned a lot in college, but that was pretty much a lie.  When I was in college, I took one US history course.  Most of my history courses focused on world history.  My secret was reading the textbook.  I would usually read what I was teaching the morning of and used it in my lessons.

When I interviewed for my position, there was one question that I remember clearly.  They asked me to rank the following: classroom management, relationships, and knowledge of the curriculum (and this was the order that I put them in).  They told me that this was the answer that they were looking for.  Especially in middle school, knowledge of the curriculum is the least important of the three.  I could probably teach any core subject in middle school, with a little bit of preparation.  I might not know that much about science, but I could learn it with a short review.  For someone with my education, the 8th grade curriculum is not that difficult.  This might not be the case in older grades.

I really have learned a lot about US history this year.  They say you learn the most when teaching it to someone else and I can attest to that.  You really learn a lot when you teach it 5 times a day.

-J