June 7, 2010

School is out.  Officially.  Phew!!!  I will update another day about some of my summer goals and projects, as well as the last day of school, but for the most part I'm planning on taking a break from blog for a bit.  They say it's healthy to take a break from focusing on school 24/7. :)

June 3, 2010

What touched my heart today:

As my focus as of late has been on the frantic packing of my classroom, I'd like to share the two moments this afternoon that made the whole day so special (and almost made up for the desk-cleaning-out-hell of the afternoon...):

While I have many difficult students, there are two in particular who tend to take the cake when it comes to disruption.  Both have really great personalities and soooo much potential, and both have come so far this year.  Both also have pretty severe ADHD that makes them impulsive and at times flat out out-of-control.  Anyways, today, one of the two students brought me a small gift bag when he came into the room.  I opened it over lunch and found a glazed ceramic puppy.  (SO not my taste, but so, so, so adorable nonetheless).  When I read the card from his mother and him, I was absolutely touched to hear that the two of them had glazed it together (it looked really professional!) and fired it.  This student had also scrawled a note in the card saying, "Thanks for dealing with me."  While part of that note makes me sad, part of it for some reason I can't explain is very touching.  I will keep my little puppy statue on my bookshelf in the room next year, and always think of the adventures with this goofy student who both drives me CRAZY and makes me laugh.

Later, during my bookshelf-wrapping mania this afternoon, my classroom phone rang.  On the caller ID I saw a familiar name and number--the mother of my MOST challenging student, with whom I have spoken so many times this year I had her number memorized at one point.  Let me just take a moment to sing her praises:  While my phone calls and meetings with her have been difficult, as her son has brought me to tears more than once with his behavior struggles, she is one of the kindest, most supportive parents I have had the pleasure of meeting.  She truly wants what's best for her son, and respects me as a professional.  She is kind and easy to talk to, both taking my severe calls seriously and celebrating with me when I call for happy reasons.

Today was a happy call.  She called to thank me for the patience I have shown her son this year, and to tell me what a good teacher I have been for him.  We both rejoiced at the progress her son has made in the past few months, making almost a complete turn around (while he is no angel, he has come SO FAR).  It meant so much to me to both hear her supportive, positive comments and to celebrate with her about her son, both of our voices so filled with pride.  I know I will never forget her son and what he has taught me, but also I will never forget her.  I hope that I can be a mother like that one day: one who sees the good in her child, sees his potential for greatness, and sees the other adults in his life not as competition or under scrutiny, but allies in the fight for her child's well being.

I truly teach for moments like this:  moments of feeling that my time is appreciated, moments of celebrating my students' growth, and moments of just love love loving my job.  These boys have just about given me gray hair this year, but I am so grateful that they were in my class, as they have taught me more than they can know.

On packing, gift-wrapping, and kickball...

1. Packing

I do not like packing.  Seriously.  Packing sucks.  This week has involved a LOT of packing/cleaning as I have been figuring out how to cram all of the "things" cluttering the classroom into my closet & cabinets (thank goodness I don't have to move classrooms next year!!!  I am seriously doing a happy dance about that).  It has not been easy, but after cleaning out all of the random junk left by last year's teacher, I was magically able to create enough space in which to fit all my "stuff."  However, I can't help but already DREAD unpacking next year, as there was really no rhyme or reason to the packing and I'm certain that I'll never find half of the things again.  (As much as I dislike packing, unpacking is way worse.  I have a suitcase on my bedroom floor still from my trip to Florida.  In MARCH.  I think there are all of 3 things in it still, but honestly, I can't bring myself to finish unpacking. Yes, I know, I have problems...)  Anyways, tomorrow all I have to do is roll up my reading corner carpet, stash all my frames and knickknacks in my desk drawers, and give my room a big "see ya later!"  Feels weird, but good.  :)

2. Gift wrapping
Who knew that packing up your classroom involved gift wrapping?  Well, not gift wrapping in the truest sense of the word, but as I taped butcher block paper over my book cases and carefully folded the corners so that it was extra tight (I am not taking any chances, the books are SHOVED in there and with one false motion, who knows what might happen), I definitely felt like I was wrapping a really big, oddly shaped gift.  My mom (a true craftsy lady) always shakes her head when I produce gifts shoved in a random bag I found in the basement, or at most manage to tape some paper on a gift and write "to ____ love amy" on it in sharpie.  I am NOT exactly my mother's daughter in this area.  (seriously, I'm pretty sure at one time she used to sell fancy ribbon bows.  Her gifts are artwork.)  Anyways, this was not my favoritest of tasks today either!  But the bookshelves are all papered and taped up, ready to take on whatever befalls them during summer school and room cleaning this summer!!!

3. Kickball
Oh kickball...kickball, kickball, kickball...Okay, here it is.  With two older brothers, I SHOULD be athletic.  I SHOULD have learned to swing a bat and kick a soccer ball as a child.  I SHOULD love sports.  I don't.  This is not to say that I don't love athletic activity, fitness, and the outdoors.  On the contrary.  But while my dad used to play hockey with my brother in our driveway, we spent our time riding our bikes in the forest preserve (something we still love doing).  In elementary school I took piano lessons, not tennis.  In high school I was president of french club and in band.  (Please, please, please reserve your judgments.  Believe it or not, I actually had friends in spite of these very geeky extracurriculars)  Anyways, I have never really learned hand-eye coordination (or hand-foot coordination).  So when we had the teachers v. sixth graders kickball game today, obv I did not jump at the chance to participate.  You'd think the 23 year old teachers would be first in line, but THIS ONE SURE WASN'T!  (much to my students' disappointment)  Oooh well, maybe next year.  Mrs. J assures me that we will practice and she will have me a kickball master before next field day.  :)  Mrs. J, good luck to you.  ;)
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