Thursday, February 21, 2013


Yesterday began like most others. My alarm went off at 5:46 (why it's that random time, I don't know..but I like setting random times on both the microwave and on my phone), and I proceeded to press snooze 2, 3, 4, maybe even 5 times (David loves this morning routine). I dragged my limbs out of bed, attached my printer to my computer to print some last minute activities for the day as well as my sub plans while I hurriedly brushed my teeth, packed my breakfast and lunch, and mischievously snuck a piece of chocolate gold coin. (Even though David was still fast asleep and no one could see me.) My already junk-laden purse became stuffed with assessments to scan, said printed activities and sub plans, and an extra spoon for my yogurt (already stuffed near the bottom of the endless abyss of a purse). I felt quite like Mary Poppins, except she was probably never too lazy to go get her hair tie that was sitting on the kitchen sink. Consequently, I screeched when my purse strap landed on a pile of my hair (you'd think I would learn that wearing my hair down to school just does not work), hurriedly said goodbye to David and asked what he would do "today," to which he replied what he always does "Stay in bed" so as not to have to tell me the details, and burrowed further under the covers. I got to the door, realized I forgot coffee, heated up the day-old variety still seated dully in the pot, slipped out the door and into my car, realizing I desperately needed gas. I stared at the gas pump until it reached $15.00 exactly, because it's nearing the end of the month, people, and who can afford more than that? Got to school, felt weird about the jeans and uggs I was sporting, lodged myself in the copy room for a bit, ran around setting up my classroom, and left for...Jury Duty. Yes, Jury Duty.
And what ensued was quite unlikely, in fact. First, I went to the location specified on my summons. Nope, wrong place. They had stated otherwise in the message, but I of course tuned out after they said "You need to appear at 8:30." Drove 5 blocks to other location I could have walked from my apartment to, waited in line, sat for about 10 minutes, got called almost immediately into a courtroom. My name was randomly called into one of the top eighteen seats, and what do you know, suddenly I was being sworn in as a juror. Prior to this, I of course stated my hardship on the official document, talked to the judge about how this would ill affect my students' learning, but no had to do, because apparently that's not a good enough reason.
And that's how I landed myself as a juror on a three-week case here in Oakland. I am known to my fellow jurors as simply "Schoolteacher."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Something new

My blog, up to this point, has been primarily a place for me to mull over what it is to be a teacher, celebrate the joys, and share the hilarity that is first grade. I plan to continue to do that, but also to share some activities I've been making. I've been trying my hand at sharing some activities I've been using in my class via teacherspayteachers, and thought I might share that here as well. For fellow K or 1 teachers, here is a link to a math workstation I'm starting this week...
Click here for a copy

We've been working extensively with place value and I think this is a good review...students simply roll the die and tally the number they find, then answer the questions. You should be able to access it by clicking the link. The activity is part of a bigger packet I've created with 70 pages of on the graphic to take you there.

That's about all. Yay trying something new!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Have you been there, too?

Football mania must be happening everywhere, but here in the Bay Area it's pretty much reached its peak. I'm no football fan myself, but the 49er flags adorning honking cars has been pretty exciting today. While David does some lab work at UC Berkeley nearby, I'm holed up in a cozy cafe, listening to the score from Black Swan, waiting to go watch the big game at some friends come 3 o'clock.

I know every teacher goes through phases where they question their validity or success as a teacher...but I feel like this phase has been pretty perpetual for me. I have wonderful colleagues and family helping me through it, but when I'm in my classroom I can't help but feel at a loss. Emotional outbursts, angry tantrums, yelling, withdrawn students--- I blame myself and am trying to figure out how to feel more confident and get out of this slump. The more I tell myself I'm just not good at this, the more my classroom suffers. I know there's no easy answer, but how do I celebrate the tiny successes that are happening? All I can seem to do is linger on the negative things...the positives are so hard to see. I just want my students to be happy and safe, and I feel like that is taking a toll on me. It seems like a big undertaking. I love my students and my school, but the exhaustion and feelings of deep distress aren't going away. Suggestions are always welcome. :)

What do you do when the career you've been preparing for your whole life isn't exactly going how you planned? I'm willing to give it a few more years chance and try different environments--- I understand I'm only in my third year and that it WILL get better, not every class will have students with intense emotional issues who throw chairs and scissors and CDs across the room-- but what do we do in the meantime to keep ourselves sane? To be completely honest, most days I come home absolutely miserable and downtrodden. Have you been there, too?