Candid Teacher's Classroom

The view from the other side of the desk.

One Day at a Time April 29, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 8:35 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I’m beginning to smile again.

Yesterday, I was finally able to “let go” and have a few minute’s peace without obsessing over the fact that I will be unemployed on June 17th.  I think that’s pretty quick, considering I just found out last Wednesday.
I know it took a whole week, but I feel that’s a fair amount of time to “grieve” over my job loss.  I’m certain that pangs of panic will take hold of me at time; I fully expect that.  However, I can now relax a bit without worrying that I should be applying for jobs EVERY single second of my spare time.

I know I won’t feel fully at peace until I have a new job secured, but that could take a while, so I need to learn to live with this feeling for some time.  I’m still somewhat in denial about the fact that this is all happening.  We’ll see how I feel in a month, or week, or even tomorrow.

If anyone knows of an opening for someone with top-notch credentials, please let me know.  I’m certified K-5 Elementary Education, K-12 Reading Certification, have dual Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Communications: Writing Arts, and have 6 credits towards my English as a Second Language certification.  I have awesome classroom management skills, innovative lessons and ideas, am a team-player, and I’m super detail oriented.  I also love writing and language in general.  I enjoy proofreading/editing, reading, and am a perfectionist.

I know there are many many qualified and over-qualified candidates searching for jobs right now.  It’s a tough spot to be in.  I’ll keep hoping that I will have the right combination of qualifications for an employer!!

Candid Teacher


5 Days April 27, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 1:06 am

Candid Teacher Admits: It feels like a part of my heart has left.

It’s been 5 days since I got the news, and it hasn’t gotten one bit easier.  Having to go to work each day and smile and “perform” like usual for the students doesn’t make it easier either.  And, on my prep times, having to face my co-workers, though they mean well, makes it that much more difficult.  It feels like I have to constantly put on a happy face so I don’t break down to every person who asks, “How are you holding up?”

Everyone means so well by offering their sympathy.  It just feels like part of me has left.  I wait for it to return, and I’m trying so many different things to revive it..
Being alone, going out with friends, staying in with friends, hugs, phone conversations, reaching out to other teachers, crying, getting angry, working out, throwing myself into work, being bitter, and even a glass of wine.

I know not all of these ideas are constructive, but I thought they may bring temporary relief.
I feel like a circus act that can’t find its groove.

When will I return to, well, me?  And what will it take?


Candid Teacher


Shocked. April 22, 2010

Filed under: Budget,education,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 11:17 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: It feels like the end of the world.

I’ve been laid off.

There’s no easy way around it.  Use all the flowery language you’d like, but when push comes to shove, that’s it.

I wasn’t terminated for performance issues.  Does that make it any better?

I guess so.  But honestly, when someone tells you, “I’m so satisfied with the job you’ve done.  You’re an excellent teacher, and I wish I didn’t have to say this to you,” yet they still can’t offer you a contract for the following school year, it all feels about the same.  Rejection.

As of June 30th, I will be unemployed.

In honesty, I never thought about losing a job.  Who does?  I only thought about getting my first job.  It never crossed my mind that I may lose it due to circumstances far beyond my control.

So, if anyone out there knows of a K-5 elementary teaching job or K-12 reading specialist job, please let me know.  I’m willing to relocate.

If I do not obtain another position, Candid Teacher will be no more.

Yours, for now,

Candid Teacher


I’m Going to Brag! April 20, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 8:45 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I got a compliment.  Please let me brag about it!

In this profession, teachers are cut-throat to one another, parents are not thankful, administrators think we should work harder, the general public thinks we get too much time off, and the students are not appreciative of all we do.

So please, please, please let me brag about my compliment!

Before school began today I was talking to another faculty member in the copy room.  She told me she loved my classroom and thought I had such a great manner with the students.
I was already over the moon (I know, it doesn’t take much).. but can you believe it, it doesn’t stop there!

She continued to tell me that her daughter was currently in pre-school, but the school she is set to attend next year may revert to half-day Kindergarten if the budget doesn’t pass.  She said that if the budget doesn’t pass, she’s going to have her daughter attend the school we teach at and that she wants ME to be her teacher.  She says she can’t imagine a better teacher for her daughter.

Out of the 6 wonderful Kindergarten teachers at my school, she wants me to teach her daughter.  I was (and still am, clearly) so ecstatic!!

What high praise!  A teacher knows how hard it is to be a teacher.   For her to say that she wants ME to be the one to impart knowledge and skills to her daughter is, to me, the highest compliment.

Thank you, thank you!

That was at 8 AM this morning, and as you can see, it has made my entire day.

Now, back to lesson planning to inspire these kids.  Even if it feels like nobody appreciates it, I know someone truly does!


Candid Teacher


Vote Yes! April 19, 2010

Filed under: Budget,education,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 10:56 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: Tomorrow is the moment of truth.

Much of my blossoming career depends on tomorrow’s vote for the school budget.  Unfortunately, the town I teach in has a lot of immigrants who either cannot vote, are not registered to vote, or do not have the information necessary to vote.  Also, there are a great number of apartment complexes housing people without children who are not aware of the issues and therefore, do not feel compelled to vote.

I am very nervous and I feel that tomorrow will have a great effect not just on next year, but my entire life.  If the budget does not pass, I can basically kiss my job goodbye.  I will have to consider moving back in with my parents, hold of plans to travel, and try desperately to find another job with the rest of America.  If it does pass, I have a greater chance of having my contract renewed next year and a lot of worry is lifted from me for the time being.

It shocks me when I hear that people are voting “no”.  Those people are complaining about teacher’s salaries.  But, let’s face it, the only reason people care about how much we make is because their property taxes are directly impacted by the budget and our salaries.  I understand that property taxes are astronomically high, but why should teachers and students have to suffer because of this?  It’s really an unfair situation.

My friends who graduated from college the same year as me make upwards of $30,000 more than me a year.  The people voting “no” to the budget make far more than me, probably double.  But of course, they say teachers make too much because they have to fund our salaries.  We did not choose for our salaries to come from your pockets, but where else to you propose we accrue the revenue from?  Would you prefer that you pay a tuition for your children to attend school?  This is the peril of working in a non-profit sector.

Please, everyone, go out and vote.  Every single vote “yes” counts so much and the many teachers who may lose their jobs thank you sincerely for taking the time to fight for us.


Candid Teacher


Good Morning Boys and Girls April 15, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,Sexism,teaching — candidteacher @ 12:14 am

Candid Teacher Admits: Our culture is innately sexist, and I have found I am promoting this by accident.

Today in my graduate course, we discussed sexism in the classroom and how it is prevalent, yet nobody seems to notice.

I begin each morning with, “Good morning boys and girls.”
Look at that statement.  Is it sexist?


Look again. Who do I greet first every morning?  What kind of message does this send to the girls?
Do you think that’s too insignificant?  Okay, well then consider it with everything else that goes on throughout the day:
Do you say, “Hey, guys,” as a way of greeting your friends?  I know I do.  And the girls do not care or mention that they are not, in fact, boys.  But try saying, “Hey girls,” instead.  See what kind of reaction you get from boys you greet this way – I’m sure they’ll pipe up and let you know they are not girls!

Open a science, math, or physical education book.  How long does it take for you to get to a picture of a girl?  Someone of a different nationality?  Someone with a psychical handicap?  A science textbook published in 2007 showed 1 girl for every 5 boys.  And the ratio of Caucasians to other nationalities was even lower.

Why is it that boys gravitate towards “building” and “doing” while girls gravitate towards “housekeeping” and more passive roles?

As a Kindergarten teacher, I get to see that from a very young age, these roles are ingrained in us.  Pick up any children’s book.  Go ahead, pick one.  Fairytales are especially great for this.  What are the roles?  Who is portrayed in each role (hero, princess, mother, villain)?  Further more, what race are they?  Are the “villains” ugly, fat, old, or a race other than Caucasian?  Are the “heroes” strong Caucasian men that are young and buff?  Are the women helpless and passive?  More often than not, this is the case.

With children’s books, text books, T.V., parents, and even teachers (oops) perpetuating these roles, how can we break free of this?

I welcome your suggestions.  I do not wish to promote the ideas that a woman must be a homemaker while the man must be “strong”.  I want to help students be open to new ideas and accepting of others.  What can we do to make sure this happens?


It’s Seuss! April 12, 2010

Filed under: education,just for fun,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 9:22 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: Our field trip was actually fantastic!

I did not think the field trip would go very well.  Today was our first and only trip to see Seussical the Musical, performed by a local community college.  I thought the play would be enjoyable, but that the students would be a little wild.  My students have left their brains behind on spring break, and this made me fear for the trip.  Taking students out of the safe bubble of the school and into the “real” world is always nerve-wracking.  Granted, field trips to plays are, more or less, the easiest trip to manage due to the fact that the children sit the entire time.  Even so, I was nervous.

I was fortunate in that I had my assistant and 3 parents along on the trip.  One of the parents was invited because her child has trouble controlling impulses.  He calls out and gets up whenever he desires.  I hope the experience was an eye-opening one for her.  Though the students all became restless toward the end (it was an hour and a half; even I was squirming a bit), this particular student called out, turned around in his seat, kicked his legs, made noises, and so forth constantly.  And, as luck would have it, this attitude was contagious to the child sitting next to him as well.

Other than that and a child who wet herself on the bus on the way home (poor thing), it was a success!  I enjoyed the peformance as much as, if not more than, my students.  The play had catchy songs, interesting variations on the Dr. Seuss’ stories, and meaningful messages.

Now, if only I could get these songs out of my head… “Oh the things you can think, hmm hm hm hm hm hmm…”.

Candid Teacher


Students Are So Insightful April 7, 2010

Filed under: education,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 11:23 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I killed a spider with my shoe.  And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Yesterday, I was in the middle of reading to my students when about 5 of them became wide-eyed and were animatedly pointing towards the white board.  I paused to inquire why they were pointing, and they informed me that there was a spider.  This spider was so small that I had to have a student come up and point to it in order for me to see it.  However, as it was clearly distracting to the lesson, I took off my shoe and killed it.
Or so I thought.
A moment later, the wide-eyed looks returned and I saw the spider getting up…  fiesty little thing!  So again, I repeated the scene of taking off my shoe and killing it.  This time I was certain it was dead.

I carried on reading and we discussed the book as a group.  Then, a student raised her hand and said, “Why did you kill that spider?  It wasn’t doing anything to us,”

I was dumbfounded.  This child was correct – the spider meant no harm and spiders actually help the environment (my father, an entomologist, would be proud of me here).  Despite this knowledge, my first instinct was to smash the heck out of that spider.  I faultered, trying to explain why I killed the spider.  I could say, “Because I think they’re gross,” but my student’s question was so profoundly honest that I didn’t feel that would suffice.

All I could muster was that the spider was inside where it did not belong, but if the spider had been outside, we could have left it alone.  I also reinforced that yes, she was right, the spider was not doing anything wrong.  I told her that I would have taken it outside (white lie, sorry!) if I did not have to stay with the class.  Unfortunately, we were inside and it was inopportune to leave the building; therefore we could not take the spider outside.

Even now, a day later, I still don’t feel this was an adequate explanation.  Just because someone or something is in the “wrong place” or somewhere you deem it “doesn’t belong” doesn’t mean it should be forced to leave, or in this case, get killed.  While I would still kill that spider again because spiders really do just freak me out, I am so proud of this student for being such an empathetic and caring person.

To that student: Thank you for enabling me to see the beauty in something that I dislike so greatly!


Candid Teacher


My Brain is on Spring Break April 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 8:52 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: My students returned from break more refreshed than I did.

I know spring break is supposed to help revive you from the daily pressures of work or school.  And, as I mentioned in my last post, I generally get bored when I have time off.  However, I think I may have left my brain behind on spring break and only brought my body to work today.

It was very difficult for me to get back into the swing of things.  I am fortunate that my students were as focused as they were, since I, too, found myself gazing out the window, wishing I could be outside on this beautiful day instead of inside singing about the months of the year.

Reality has not fully hit me yet.  I enjoyed getting in bed later than 9:30 PM and being able to go to bed without worrying whether lessons will go wrong or parents will complain.  (I didn’t sleep so well last night… nightmares about work and students’ parents can be surprisingly realistic.)  I am happy to report that today went very smoothly, but my brain is still somewhere else on vacation, while my body feels the full weight of the return to school.

I must admit, the countdown has begun.  It sounds so sweet to say:
8 more Mondays until summer vacation!


Candid Teacher