Wanted: More Time

Today was one of those days.  I felt like I was running in circles.  I still haven’t had a chance to really wind down yet.  So many things are happening at once.  I was hoping after the winter break things would start to slow down for me.  So far, it hasn’t happened yet.

I have a student teacher for the next seven weeks.  She just started last Monday.  I enjoy working with student teachers.  I love helping someone gain the skills and knowledge they need to become an effective teacher.  My student teacher is doing a great job so far.  She is getting to know the kids.  She takes on responsibilities, sometimes without me asking.  She is very motivated to do well.  Today she taught her first lesson.  It went well, but she realized that there is more than just getting through the lesson.  She learned that transition time is crucial and needs to be tight.  She also learned that behavior management is important in any lesson.  We went over some strategies she could try tomorrow.  I think she is going to do alright.

After school, I had duty in the parking lot.  I stand in the pick-up area and make sure students get into their cars safely.  Immediately following that, my student teacher and I had a meeting with her supervisor.  That took a big chunk of time (more than I expected).  I had to organize testing time for the GATE test tomorrow.  I am the coordinator for my school site.  I hadn’t yet emailed the teachers with the schedule for testing.  Since I am testing all day tomorrow, I had to write sub plans.  I ended up doing this at home.  I will have to get the materials needed together tomorrow morning.  On my way home from work, my daughter called and told me she needed to purchase a book at our local music store.  I picked her up at home, drove to the music store, and then went to the grocery store.  I needed to pick up a few items at the grocery store so I could make dinner.  I made dinner for the family.  I just finished typing my sub plans.  Now, I am finishing this blog.

I realize I have been on the go since 4:15 this morning.  It was a work-out day.  It is almost time for bed.  I think with the little time I have left, I am going to have a glass of wine and relax.  What I really need is more time.  That would help me immensely.  I guess the good news is that this weekend will be a three-day weekend.  I will have lots of time to relax then.

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It Just Takes Time

Today, my lesson plans just went out the window.  We were met with the excitement that one of our caterpillars emerged from its chrysalis over the weekend.  When the students came in this morning, they noticed it immediately.  The classroom was all a-buzz over the development.  They were very excited.

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Later that morning, we were reading our National Geographic Explorer magazine.  The story we were reading was about animals who use their colors to communicate.  We just finished reading about the mandarinfish.  The mandarinfish uses its colors to warn predators to stay away.  Its colors tell predators that he is not very tasty.  In fact, if a predator were to eat the mandarinfish, it could be its last meal.  That is because mandarinfish are poisonous.

I tried to connect this fact to one that we had learned about our Monarch butterflies.  We learned that the Monarch butterfly also uses its colors to warn predators that it is not very tasty.  It was at this particular moment when the second of our butterflies decided to emerge from its chrysalis.  One of my students raised his hand and said, “The butterfly is coming out!”  We all hurried over to our butterfly habitat.  I grabbed my iPad and filmed the whole thing.  You should have heard the excitement in my classroom when this happened.  It was amazing.  And, I got the whole thing on video!

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We noticed how the new butterfly’s wings were not very big at all. . . compared to the first one.  We noticed how huge the butterfly’s abdomen was.  That’s because it needed to get the blood circulating out towards its wings.  This whole thing happened right before recess.  When we returned from recess, the wings had expanded.  I used this time to have the kids talk and write about what they observed and noticed.

Later that evening, I got to thinking how things happen in their own time.  After a rocky start to the school year, my students are finally getting themselves together.  Expectations are being met.  Behavior is improving.  Just like a caterpillar emerges from its chrysalis when it is ready, the same holds true for my students.  By the end of the year, I hope they emerge as capable third graders.  Not all students will get there at the same time.  Until then, I will practice patience and nurture their development as we go through the year.

Small Surprises

Yesterday I had to go to our district’s offices to attend an inservice about a new computer program we will be getting at my school. It’s actually an old program that is being updated, and I am expected to train the rest of the teachers at my site. The new and improved program is different than what teachers are used to doing. So, I bet there will be a lot of moaning and complaining over it. But, hey. My response to that is to “suck it up.” The change is here, so we all better learn how to roll with it.

Anyway, this post is about small surprises. The first of my small surprises came at the end of the inservice when I was given a time sheet for attending. I was able to claim the hours I spent in the inservice and will get a little monetary bonus. It was a nice surprise and something I wasn’t expecting. My friend told me that we were getting time sheets, but I wasn’t sure. It doesn’t always happen. Most of the time I have to pay to attend an inservice. I was glad that I would be compensated for my time.

The next small surprise came when I left the training room which is on the second floor of the building. As I made my way to the stairs, I noticed this interesting shadow on the wall. I thought it would be a great photo for my photo of the day challenge for SDAWP Photo Voices. This week’s challenge is on angles.

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I thought the shadow made a great design. I liked all the angles in the shadow. I had never noticed that shadow before, and I have been to the District Office many times before. I don’t know why I never noticed it before. Maybe I was not in the District Office at the time of day where that shadow would be cast on the wall. Or, perhaps that shadow had been there before, and I just never paid attention to it. I stood there for a moment with my iPhone and wondered where that shadow was coming from. That’s when I looked up and saw my third small surprise.

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It was the sky light in the ceiling of the building. I did not realize that the building had a sky light. I just thought it was well-lit. Wow. It is neat to discover something  you never knew before. It’s like finding a secret treasure.

If I had not been participating in the SDAWP Photo Voices challenge, I would not have been looking for angles, and I would have never looked up. I am glad I took the time to slow down, stop, and look around before I hurried out of the building to my car. I think this is a great lesson to teach my students. If you slow down long enough you might learn something new. There are lots of small surprises waiting to be discovered.