Posted in Education

Story Time: a Bittersweet Day in Middle School

Today all started with running late… again. Mornings have been rough newly pregnant. I won’t go into details.

Classes go on mostly as planned, I mean 9 days left…

Then. My one class comes in and I get a note. A note saying I’m bullying their child because their child heard me tell the sub to keep an eye on them as my sub pushed me out the door for my first sonogram appointment.

The note said that every time they felt their child was called out and others were not, they are going to tell on me to our vice principal… apparently I’m 12 again.

I showed the note to my principal asking if he would sit in a meeting with this person and I. Thankfully, I have a super supportive admin who said absolutely. So, now I have to call this person tomorrow because they don’t have an email. 🤦‍♀️

Continue to the… same class. I give three students lunch detention so I can talk to them about their behavior with the substitute. One couldn’t make it due to a health issue. Although that was terrible, it worked out so I could have a more honest conversation with the other two.

Fast forward to… the same class where one of my ELs starts crying. When I found out why, it was a huge miscommunication. I was able to have a real conversation with two students and explain why it hurt the other students feelings and get them to start to befriend the new EL.

Finally! Fast forward to my last class of the day. This class goes a little like my social media status…

Several weeks ago:

A- are you okay? You look like you don’t feel well.

Me- no, I’m okay. I think I have a stomach bug.

A- did you eat ice cream?

Me- you know what? I did! I bet it was expired!

A- are you going to have ice cream tonight?

Me- why would I eat ice cream if it just made me sick?

A- but is it the sick like you’ll be better tomorrow or the sick like you’ll be sick for a few months?

Me- look if I have food poisoning that long, I’m going to the hospital.

Today:

B- I know you’re secret.

Me- you do? Can you tell me because I don’t know.

Student walks away with a group. They come back when we line up for dismissal.

B- I know you’re secret!

Me- I still don’t know. What is it?

A- I know! Come here I’ll whisper it to you!

I bend down and she says…

A- you’re pregnant!

Then!!!!!

I go to a meeting after school and have an issue with a colleague who disrespected one of my student helpers. They grossly overstated the school rules on students using copiers AFTER hours… it was so bad that they got into it with two other colleagues and I had to call admin for assistance. I mean, can’t we all just be polite and a little understanding? Please! Needless to say, this isn’t the first issue I have had with this person. 🤦‍♀️
And now I’m home taking a bath because dinner was awesome and then made me nauseous 🤰🤷‍♀️

Pregnantly yours,

Teaching In Public

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Posted in Education

Movie Day Win

We have been testing all day!!! It’s exhausting for all of us!

And I still have one class to “teach” at the end of the day. There’s no way I’m going to maintain their attention during instruction or a new concept.

So I tricked them! I told them that I wasn’t supposed to “just” watch a movie.

To get around it, I made an activity to go with the movie. Then we could all work and relax at the same time.

They bought it! 😂

They even thanked me!!

Now, why did I do this instead of JUST watching the movie? Because without a clear activity or direction, they are CRAZY at the end of the day. Not to mention, unwilling to work with me (not all) and more concerned with being social than their academic success.

I now have a class of students who are actively watching the original Jumanji and completing academic questions to match! Win!

Rolling the dice,

Teaching In Public

Posted in Education

A Day Teaching Middle School in 25 Doggo Pictures

It’s teacher appreciation week! If you have no idea what teachers go through on a daily basis… you’re probably making decisions for all educators 🤦‍♀️ kidding! But only sort of…

Here’s a look at my day today in middle school (made more understandable by way of doggo photos).

  1. “Do I have to be up this early? I’m comfy with cuddly doggos. Snooze button!!!”
  2. “wait… I can’t be late! I’M THE TEACHER!!!!”
  3. “Must eat quickly!”
  4. “Oh! Hello students! I am wide awake and smiling even though I haven’t finished my coffee! I was almost late today. I was told about a student schedule change 5 minutes ago. I was told about a spec Ed observation in my worst class ten minutes ago. I know you need a smile and to feel important! I am trying my best to be everything you need regardless of my own state of mind or needs.”
  5. “Good morning! It’s time to work on your bell ringer! Please try each challenge and work for the next 5 minutes. We will go over it when time is over. If you are finished before time, please read.”
  6. My face when someone says, “what am I supposed to do?” “I don’t have a pencil.” “They won’t stop looking at me!” “Can you tell him not to touch my paper?” I can continue but, yes, these are SIXTH graders… in flippin’ MAY who don’t have a PENCIL!!!!!!! 🤯
  7. “I’m loving the participation but we need to remember to RAISE OUR HAND so everyone can be heard and be respected.” It’s. Flippin’. MAY!!!! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️
  8. Start instruction… “why are you out of your seat?” Oh sorry, I’m not supposed to phrase it that way, “I feel disrespected when you get up to sharpen your pencil as soon as I begin instruction. Please go back to your seat and sharpen it at a more appropriate time.”
  9. Mixed emotions when I announce, “here is your notes page. We are going to go through this instructional video and take notes. I will pause the video as we watch so everyone can take notes and discuss the information. Please put your name, block, and date on your paper before we begin.” “Omg! Notes!?!” “Omg! We have to work?” “Can’t we have a free day?” “Why do we have to take notes?” 😳
  10. “So much writing! Why do I have to take notes again?” “Is this a grade?” “Can’t I just start the writing piece without taking the notes?”
  11. “someone is at the dooooooooor!” Even knowing the expectations… at least two students try to answer the door at the same time.
  12. “I’m bored. I mean, I have to pee. Can I go to the bathroom? … what do you mean not now? Ugh!!!!!!”
  13. “Pleas put your chair completely on the floor. I don’t want you to fall.” (I said it four times in ten minutes to the SAME student) “OMG! LEAVE ME ALONE!” (I couldn’t resist saying calmly and without emotion…) “I will if you’re sitting correctly.” And then moved on with instruction.
  14. The same student mentioned above crumples their paper because I won’t let them leave the room. I give them an extra copy. They crumple this copy because they are already behind and think I’m moving too fast because I didn’t go back for them to catch up. So, I give them a third copy and plan to assign them lunch detention. The student visits the counselor then returns.
  15. My face when that student catches up faster than any student who has been there the entire time. 🤦‍♀️ Why couldn’t you do that in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  16. Raised hand, “Yes! What does this mean?” “What time is it? I’m hungry.” 🤦‍♀️😳
  17. My face as I say, “Thank you for raising your hand but that is an off-task question.”
  18. “What’s that in the window!?” My sanity FLYING away!
  19. “Let’s move on! Now that we are finished with notes, you have 20 seconds to put it in the notes section of your binder. (Counting) okay! You should now have your notes away! Let’s change gears to a group project!”
  20. “Group what!”
  21. “Do I get to pick my group?”
  22. “Nope!” 🤪
  23. This is the face I see… them hanging on every word as I explain the project… now that I FINALLY have their attention.
  24. “Wait… it’s that easy?” “Yes!! It is!” They had 15 minutes to plan a presentation for their class about 1 class rule. They were assigned groups and rules. They had to explain one example of following that rule and why it’s important for you to follow it, for your classmates that you follow it, and your teacher that you follow that rule. They present tomorrow!
  25. Bell rings! That means it’s time to go! MUAHAHA! Except!!! I intercept them at the door and make sure they leave one by one so they don’t sprint down the hall and fall on their face.

This is a shortened snippet of my daily life as a middle school teacher.

If you know a teacher, had a teacher, or are human… thank teachers! Check on them too because it’s May and most of us are not okay. We need a break. We need pencils. We need our sanity back!

Appreciatively yours,

Teaching In Public

Posted in Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Month

People with mental illnesses are often silenced because others don’t want to hear what they have to say, don’t understand, or their mental illness prevents them from speaking freely (or makes it very difficult).

What do you wish others knew about mental illness? Use your voice to spread awareness and understanding! ❤️

In solidarity,

Teaching In Public

Posted in Education, Mental Health

TV Wisdom and Teacher Reality Check

I won! Sort of.

I won Teacher of the Year (TOY) for my building. I continued and competed against the other TOYs in the district. They then had to pick the top few to continue before picking an ultimate winner.

After doing a lot of writing, agonizing, video taping, editing, revising, and sole searching… I completed an interview in front of nine people.

I ended up knowing half of them, which actually made it more nerve racking. I stumbled my words. I bounced my leg. I did everything in my power to not have a panic attack in the room. I smiled. I looked at everyone even though only one person asked the questions. I tried not to over analyze what their head nods or note taking meant. My brain shut off as I answered a question. When I thought I had answered it, I still had to ask, “can you repeat the question? I want to make sure I answered all of it.” I tried to continue eye contact even thought I wanted to stare at the ceiling.

I. Tried. Everything. I could think of to do my best.

It wasn’t good enough. I got the call saying thanks but you didn’t win. It was worded more elegantly but the main message came loud and clear.

The worst part? I hadn’t realized how much I wanted to win until I was no longer in the running.

I wanted something I could figuratively wave in the faces of anyone who told me I couldn’t, wasn’t good enough, fired me, looked down at me, threatened me, and more. Something that says, “you were wrong! I AM a teacher! And a damn good one too!”

Then, it hit me – tv wisdoms. A few sentences from a tv show turned me around.

Fixed? That’s not a thing. … My job is to give you the tools to get through the day.” -Dr. Iggy Frome, New Amsterdam s1 ep20

I didn’t need fixing. I needed to use my tools.

One of the best tools MY therapist gave me was like a reality check. I’m sure there’s a name for it but I’ve since forgotten.

I’m in a spiral of negativity. In my mind, not winning at the district negated winning at my school. Those people were right. I shouldn’t be a teacher. I should have been fired. They were right to give me an improvement plan. I deserved to have kids that cause me to evacuate my class and then be judged when I had to protect my students.

Reality check.

What’s the truth here? I WAS nominated and chosen as TOY for my building. I had FIVE different students nominate me. I had TERRIBLE school leaders that did not treat me with the appropriate amount of respect and seriousness deserved. I am currently working for school leaders who DO respect me and treat my needs and questions seriously. I won TOY in my second year in my district and my fourth year as a certified teacher (which is SUPER early to win in my area). I did something out of my comfort zone because my school leaders, students, and colleagues believed in me.

The other truth?

I feel like I may have been overlooked for some reason other than qualifications or qualities. BUT part of winning at the building level is interviewing the candidates the following year. SO that means I can help pick the next candidate based on honesty and integrity and influence others to do the same (if it isn’t already).

Oh, the irony… as if my mental health could pick a better time to take a roller coaster… during mental health awareness month. (Yes, I know that’s unfair of me but still not untrue)

Speak out, speak up, and love yourself!

Happy mental health awareness month!

Teaching In Public