Thursday, December 29, 2011

I woke up and it was suddenly the end of 2011!

Wow, time does fly when you have dance concerts, benchmark exams, weekly online assessments, writing exams, and uh - oh yeah, teaching to take care of!  I honestly cannot recall most of what has happened since November until December 15th afternoon when school was let out and I was FREE!  One of the most important tips I can give to other teachers and future educators is this:

I know we don't make good money, and of course the money we do is spent buying supplies for our classroom, but make time and budget something for a VACATION.  We certainly deserve it.  I can tell you wholeheartedly that after 6 years of rigorous, test crazy college prep school + 4 grueling years of undergrad + 1.3 years of graduate school (continuously!!) I never needed a "vacation".  But after 3 months of teaching?  oh yeah, no regrets on my vaca to Florida!

Had to take this photo - can't wait to show my kinder students!

I hope everyone else out there (especially hardworking teachers) has a safe and beautiful holiday and a fresh new year.

See you all in 2012!

Yeah, that's me.  And that's a giant sting ray - no biggy.  SERIOUSLY, GO ON VACATION. <3

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Another month has gone by - the first testing chunk is over, but I can already feel the second one coming on up.

I am learning the significance of having time with friends during my first year of teaching.  Walling myself up in a cave has done nothing positive for anyone - me, my students, or my friends and family.  Yesterday I went pumpkin carving.  Enough said.  Tonight, I'm watching TV and passing out candy to cute trick or treaters that I do not need to entertain for more than 30 seconds.  LOVE IT.

Cheers to all the teachers in the world who have made it to the end of October.  It can only get better from here... right?

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Today is October 1, 2011.

Wow! Has it really been that long since my last post?  My life has been completely taken over by my work.  It is the hardest I have ever worked in my entire life.  I cannot fathom the incredible work load I am walking into (or already drowning in) with my first year of full time teaching, BTSA year 1, and pursuing my M. Ed from UCLA.


Today is October 1, 2011.  Many veteran teachers have warned me in the past that the worst time in teaching Kinder is the first month.  WELL, its OCTOBER! Things better shape up starting Monday...

It has been incredible.  From my extremely overwhelming PD in August to my first day of school on Wednesday, September 7th.   My students are brilliant and loving.  I am so lucky to be their teacher this year and I can already feel my attachment to them.  Everyday routines have been more or less put into place (although they still need more practice) and Benchmark testing begins Monday.  SIGH.

Although I am dreading the GIANT tests that are coming up for my students, I am so excited for my first Back to School Night on Wednesday.  I am eager to share with the parents what my students and I have been working on so far in the year and receive any feedback or comments.  If you have ever had a Back to School night (or attended one) please leave me a comment with any tips!

Today I also attended the Future Teacher's Conference 2011 at LMU. SO AMAZING! I loved the people, the speakers, the workshops, and the energy.  It really helped me refocus my attention on why I joined this profession and what I love about teaching.  Teaching kindergarten means that I set the stage of how my students will view school, learning, and themselves.  Kindergarten is where it starts.  Encouraging and building lifelong learners begins here.  And I'm there.  It's been so remarkable already (remarkable meaning CRAZY roller coaster ride), but so rewarding.  Like many have said today at the conference, teachers are never rewarded with money, praise, or recognition.  We are rewarded by the fact that we touch the lives of young people everyday.  I am rewarded knowing that I add stability and positive value to the lives of all twenty three of my beautiful scholars.

I wish more people in the world (and especially in the US) saw teaching for what it is: teaching is the hardest profession in the world.  Please, next time someone tells you they teach in an urban community, react the way you ought to react - with respect.  A wonderful speaker today told me that to be a teacher, I would need someone or people in my life that were understanding.  A support network or team who understood that teachers don't get off of work at 2:45 PM when the bell rings.  You don't clock out at 6:00 PM with just your purse on your shoulder and car keys in hand.  That you don't ever have a second of the day when those 23 kids aren't on your mind.  To understand that effective teachers do not get summers off.  I hope one day to find that I will be with someone who could understand all of that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A little step closer... knowing more about what my classroom will look like.

Today was our planning meeting.  I met more teachers (we almost doubled the amount since our student population skyrocketed).  And our kinder team has grown by one more.

Take away from the meeting:

-I am excited because I have a better idea about how the school culture will be and how our teachers work really well together.

-I am terrified at the thought of maybe having 26 kinders with 0 desks come September 7th.

phew - I'll keep you posted

And if you are teacher, administrator, or anyone who knows:  is it this normal for new teachers to be without any texts or teacher editions two weeks before school starts? *nervous chuckle*

Monday, August 8, 2011

Prep Prep Prep.....Prep

I just wanted to say that I love the Kinder team that I am a part of this school year.  The girls and I share similar philosophies, yet bring something different and unique to the team.  We met today at a Panera Bread (free wifi + free iced coffee refills + buttery pastries = happy) and whipped up our plans for our schools first ever KINDER KICK OFF!

I've found new energy for the upcoming fall and I cannot wait for school to start!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Don't Think We've Met

My name is Em and I am freshly equipped with my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UCLA Teacher Education Program.  I share the vision along with many other social justice educators for a space for all students to have access to an invigorating and stimulating education.  Although the elementary school teacher market is taking a real hit, I am lucky enough to have had a job offer from an elementary school in Compton, CA teaching Kindergarten.  This blog is my way of sifting through my ideas and thoughts as my first year of teaching begins and ends.

So follow along if you'd like and wish me luck!  By June 2012 I will have accomplished my M. Ed from UCLA and more importantly, my very first year as an Elementary Social Justice Educator.