Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not ashamed...

It may be no surprise that I've had an interesting and fun-filled first 8 days of school. I never could have imagined how completely different teaching in a public school is compared to teaching in the WELS. I've had quite the 8 days of coming home and poring over the internet to find ideas to deal with my school brood.

I decided instead of trying to handle this myself, I am asking for as much help as possible. This is something I've been criticized for already. I asked the Curriculum/Instructional Specialist for help. The principal has already been in to teach a lesson to see what I'm working with. But why the criticism? My job is to teach these children the best way I know how. I've used the ways I know and the ways I'm familiar with. But my ways aren't working. My way is not completely broken, but certainly isn't working to its optimum potential. I know that I won't be happy unless I can help this class learn and learn well, and right now that's not happening. Heck, I don't even have to swallow my pride to ask for help because I'm doing what my profession applauds - asking for help and finding solutions to problems.

Thankfully my principal even had difficulty handling my class, so that made me feel a little bit better about my situation. I have the school counselor coming in tomorrow to observe a few of my students, I have one of the APs coming in as well to observe another few students, and I have the CIS coming back in to give me some pointers to deal with my little balls of energy, as well as ideas to keep things as structured as possible.

So why should I be ashamed of asking for help? I'm not at all. Anyone who thinks for a second that I should be ashamed is ridiculous. I'm bound and determined to give my students the best kindergarten experience they can have, and darn it, they're going to get it!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stuff I'm thankful for...

Do you ever have those moments where you are suddenly and unexpectedly thankful for something? I have these moments where I'm unexplicably thankful for what seem like silly or insignificant things, but it's a legitimate moment of thankfulness. I've been cataloging these moments in my head the past few days, and here are some of the moments I've come up with:

** I'm thankful that my teachers in grade school (and even high school) made us memorize all those hymns. It comes in very handy when you're trying to wrangle two children in church while singing "I Am Trusting You Lord Jesus" and you don't miss a single word because your 1st and 2nd grade teacher made you memorize all 6 verses (except for some slight tripping-up on what used to be "thee's" and "thou's" which are now "you's" and "your's").

** I'm thankful that poop, pee, and vomit don't phase me. It makes it so much easier to be able to comfort my daughter after she "slurped" on the carpet at 1:30 a.m. instead of worrying that cleaning up vomit may in turn cause me to vomit. (On a side note: Parents, you should invest in Nature's Miracle odor neutralizing liquid. We bought it for our dog, and we've used it more for our kids and their "accidents". Works like a charm to get rid of smelly liquids that dogs and/or children may produce that end up on/in your carpet.)

** I'm thankful my kids are freaking adorable. It makes it that much easier to overlook and forgive their many and varied flaws, like throwing their quarters obnoxiously into the offering plate, creating an extremely loud clang, or taking clean (but unfolded) laundry and wiping your snotty nose on a different article of clothing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What the heck do "criss-cross" and "applesauce" have to do with each other?

Yep, these are the pressing thoughts on my mind lately... but seriously, who came up with the "criss-cross applesauce" idea for having kids sit down crossing their legs? Yes, I understand the "criss-cross" thing, but it seems that someone was just desperate for something cutesy and rhyming. I suppose "applesauce" is a far superior rhyme to "criss-cross" than "I'm your boss" (albeit accurate for a teacher in a kindergarten room). After googling it, it's apparent that useful words that rhyme with "cross" are lacking. To me it makes more sense to describe what your legs look like while sitting instead of making a senseless rhyme, which is why I'm using the term "pretzel legs" in my classroom.

So my first two days of teaching are done and over, and somehow I've managed to survive. I do have a few challenging little goofballs in my classroom. My group of little peanuts are definitely challenged in the area of listening and following directions. I came up with a fabulous idea in my epiphany bathtub tonight. If Jelly Bellys work to potty train my kids, why wouldn't they work in quiet training my classroom??? I'm going to try the good behavior jar. When I see good behavior occurring - specifically using working voices and staying on-task - I will add a Jelly Belly to a jar. Once the jar is filled with good behavior, the sweets will be divvied up for all of us to enjoy. It might just be worth it. We shall see, it's worth a shot. And if nothing else, I will have a stash of Jelly Bellys to snack on whilst my lovely crew are driving me nuts and misbehaving. :)