February 11, 2011

Tell me the kiddos are not rubbing off on me...

Happy Friday!  Whew, after last week's snow-a-rama, this week sure felt loooong!!!  Make that long and stressful.  I have been complaining for weeks about my February woes, but this week the two big ones were my "surprise" observation and the ever life-draining ISATs that grow closer and closer every day...seriously, I feel like the funeral march should be playing in the background in the school hallways these days...

But we made it through another week, mostly intact with minimal squirliness (although some squirliness is inevitable with the amount of test prep we are subjecting these poor innocent kiddos to, and the fact that they can't play outside thanks to the scary cold temperatures!).  Mrs. Lit Specialist did have to call the parent of one of my angels after he called another student a "mother f-er" (although he said the ACTUAL words...), but at least none of us has killed each other yet!

In any case, after this stressful week, Miss Second Year Teacher (my friendship with whom was cemented last year as we together fought through the HELL ON EARTH that was our first years) and I decided to reward ourselves with some margaritas and bottomless chips and salsa.  Bliss.  The reason I am mentioning this, though, is that as we wrapped up and paid the check, I experienced the ultimate 5th-grader moment.  You know what I mean...one of those moments when you do something soo much like your students that you have to step back, take a good look at your life, and evaluate how much time you spend with the darlings v. how much time you spend with adults your own age.  Here's a visual (I apologize for the super blurriness):

This is the bottom of my receipt from post-school snacks.  Any guesses why there is a big scribble on my receipt?  Anyone?  No?  Well...when I wrote down my tip...I SUBTRACTED it from the total.  Yup, you read that right.  Makes so much sense, I know!  The killer though is that just last night I was grading a math test and practically screaming about how some of the kids refused to look at the sign and added when they should have subtracted (or vice versa).  *takes big gulp and blushes furiously in shame*
Please don't tell my students...

In other news, my observation is finally over.  I will be the first to admit that I am a pretty high-strung person even on a good day (hence the inordinate number of nightmares I had about fire drills earlier this year...that's just not normal!), and I have been majorly stressing about this month's observation.  If you remember, Mr. Principal emailed us a few weeks ago to let us know that this would be a surprise observation.  That's pretty normal for our 3rd observation of the year, but the worst part was that he didn't tell us the subject area he'd be coming in to see.  What that boils down to is that we had to submit extra detailed lesson plans and be teaching super awesome lessons in all subjects every day.  Of course, as teachers, that is ALWAYS the goal, but add in the extra anxiety of constantly wondering when he will be popping in, and if you're me, you end up pretty worked up.

Obv Mr. Principal would end up coming into see me on Friday, after I have been nervously watching for him all week long.  But I am happy to report that the lesson was a big fat success.  He came to see a creative language arts lesson that I had developed myself and was actually pretty proud of (yes, I supplemented the literacy series with my own ideas...gasp!!), the kids were engaged, they grasped the concepts, everyone was on their best behavior, and I was actually calm enough that I could forget Mr. P was there and just enjoy my teaching.  I know I've been complaining a lot lately about Mr. Principal, but my favorite things about him are that he is truly a nice man and honestly cares about/supports me.  I've come a long way from last year, and Mr. P knows that.  And lets me know that.  Which is so, so nice.  The best part about my day was getting this note from him after he ducked out:

I know that most workers in other professions don't get regular validation from their bosses, and I don't mean to sound like I need constant praise, but in a profession in which we are so regularly berrated by the public, in which we are constantly being asked to give more more more--more time, more effort, more of our own money, hell the district even called me Tuesday asking me to give BLOOD :)--and in which we frequently are sent a message that no matter what we do, it will never be enough, a little praise goes a long way.

We are two weeks from ISATs...there is so much I am still worrying about...my to-do list is still 10 miles long...but tonight I will sleep well knowing I did my best, and actually enjoyed teaching in the process.


  1. What a wonderful note! I'm so glad your hard work didn't go unnoticed. My dad taught 7th & 8th grade science for 38 years, and it drove me nuts how hard he worked and how little respect he got from parents and the general public. Funny enough, my fiance also wants to teach middle school science, haha!

    Anyway, congrats on being done with your observation (this time around) and for rockin' it! Keep up the amazing work - your principal is right, your students are very lucky to have a teacher like you! :-)

  2. Good for you! My first year on a full contract, my principal did a lot of pop in observations. He always left me notes when he would leave the room (I still have them!). It was nice to hear that I wasn't messing up as bad as I thought I was with the tough group of kiddos I had that year.

    Ironically enough, I left that school because I didn't want to teach a split the following year and it was all that was offered...and since then I have not had a principal leave those little positive notes. I miss them sometimes!


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