Candid Teacher's Classroom

The view from the other side of the desk.

Hot, hot, hot! June 1, 2011

Filed under: education,just for fun,teaching — candidteacher @ 8:14 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I like it hot, but this is going overboard.

In both elementary schools that I work in, my “room” used to be a storage closet.  Therefore it has no windows, no ventilation, and no air conditioning.  In addition to being illegal (I believe), it is honestly like being in hell for a few hours.  In one of the schools there is a small fan in the room, and I had a small fan in the other room as well but I had brought it back home for use in my apartment.  Without that, the air simply hangs and is so opressive that it is actually hard to breathe!

It was so bad yesterday afternoon that I had to take my students to the air conditioned (hallelujah!) faculty room for respite from the heat.  I also had to let them have drink breaks every 5-10 minutes.  I like it hot, but even I couldn’t take it.  My students were sweating through their shirts.

As one of my pudgier students said with labored breath, “That fan you had was good.  You should bring that back,”  Such wise words from a very sweaty 8-year-old.  I will heed his advice so that I don’t leave looking like a drowned rat yet again.

Yours,
Candid Teacher

 

I’ll Take Some Blame, But Not All Of It May 3, 2011

Filed under: education,just for fun,teaching — candidteacher @ 8:37 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I’m immature, so I’m the first to laugh at passing gas or a joke about it.  But if you try to blame me when it isn’t my fault, that just isn’t happening.

When I started this blog, I thought I’d tell my point of view (in a candid manner, get it?) but in a “mature” sort of fashion.  Well, that has quickly flown out the window.  In order for me to write about this incident, I don’t have enough composure to get through it without a few giggles.  Here we go.

A few days ago, I was working with my fifth graders.  That day, I only had two present: one girl and one boy.  The girl was sitting next to me and the boy was across from me.  As they were reading, someone very clearly passed gas.  They both froze and so did I- let’s face it, sometimes I forget I’m the adult.  After a moment of impressing myself by not laughing out loud, I said, “Don’t worry about it.  It happens to everyone,” and continued with the lesson.  Dealing with this without letting a chuckle slide through was very difficult, and I silently congratulated myself for this victory.

After a beat, the girl stopped reading mid-sentence to say, “Wait, who was that anyway?”  I wanted to say, “SERIOUSLY? It was YOU and don’t try to blame it on either one of us!!”  In another victory for myself, I pretended to be mature.  The best I could come up with was, “Just let it go.”

SERIOUSLY.

While I’m easygoing about this stuff, I will not take the blame for you.  Yes, I know cafeteria lunch can be brutal, but teachers shouldn’t have to suffer for your humility!  Let it go.  Only three people including you witnessed it, so be happy for that.

What would you have done?

Yours,
Candid Teacher

 

I Did It by Myself! February 11, 2011

Filed under: education,just for fun,Kindergarten,teaching — candidteacher @ 12:12 am

Candid Teacher Admits: The funniest moments are often also the most “interesting” at the time.

My first year of teaching came with many, many challenges.  I had 24 diverse students, a half-day aide who was little to no help, a belittling and degrading principal, no allies on the kindergarten staff, lived on my own & alone for the first time, and found myself spiraling into a schedule of work-eat-sleep-repeat.

However, that first year also brought me a very, shall we say, spirited group of students.  They were full of personality, if you will.  One student was very immature and, though he was technically “potty trained”, he was not able to wipe himself after a bowel movement.

Oh yes, buckle up.

So, one lovely day in my kindergarten classroom, this child disappeared for a good 10 minutes before I wondered why he was still in the bathroom.  I knocked on the door and heard sobs coming from the other side.  I opened the door a bit (without looking in, of course), and asked the distressed student what was wrong.  Though I had to ask him to repeat himself a number of times before I understood him, he finally wailed, “I cannot wipe myself!”

Oh, hell no.  This was not in the job description.

So, I called the nurse and she came while I took the rest of the students to their scheduled special.  She explained that he would not wipe himself without baby wipes.  So, in collaboration with his mother, we determined that he would carry some baby wipes in a ziploc in his pocket while he learned to clean himself up properly.

Months went by and one routine day, the aforementioned student rocketed out of the bathroom at full speed with an air of excitement and pride.  He hustled over to where I was seated across the room working with another student.  As he neared me, he shouted my name and then placed his hand on my cheek, “Miss S,” he said, “I did it! I did it by myself!  I wiped myself up!”  He was so excited, and I didn’t want to dampen his happiness, but he was standing far too close (and let’s not forget that his precariously placed hand, which was just used in the act of “wiping”, was on my cheek). “That’s great!  Did you remember to wash your hands really well, too?”  I asked with what I hoped sounded like genuine enthusiasm.  “Uh huh!” he replied with a nod.

After more congratulatory words, I got a baby wipe and bathed my face with it.  Though I scrubbed vigorously, it felt as though that hand was still there, burning a hole of feces into my skin (though I must say, I didn’t actually see any evidence on the child’s hand).  Then, I forced the incident out of my mind until I could get home and properly wash my face.

That child’s victory, no matter how interesting its nature, is something that will always stay with me.  I wonder if it holds as much meaning to him.

Yours,
Candid Teacher

 

Ah Hah! May 27, 2010

Filed under: education,just for fun,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 10:50 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I like teaching Kindergarten.

This may seem like an odd statement since I’ve taught Kindergarten the past two years.  However, going on interviews for Kindergarten and other grade levels has made me realize that I enjoy the Kindergarten curriculum and child.  I know a piece of that is due to the fact that I’m now comfortable with the curriculum and the expectations of a Kindergarten student, but I also really enjoy teaching social and beginning academic skills.

I get to teach students how to speak at appropriate volumes, make eye contact, use words to problem solve, make and maintain friendships, and help them develop into independent thinkers.  It’s gratifying to know that when they leave my classroom, they will have manners and respect.  (Well, I’ve tried to teach that anyway.  They SHOULD have manners and respect.)

Also, I get to sing and reward them with “dance parties” and stickers, so really, that’s pretty sweet too.

Social skills are so important in their lives now and in their futures in the workplace.  I’m glad I get to play a role in shaping them in that way.

Yours,

Candid Teacher

 

My Class is Cuter Than Yours May 17, 2010

Filed under: education,just for fun,Kindergarten,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 9:04 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I feel like a proud mom; “My kid is the ____!” (Insert cutest, best, smartest, most talented, and so forth in the blank.)

Some days, I feel like a proud mom and secretly hope my students slip and call me “mom”.  While they do call me this occasionally, it never happens often enough!

Today was one of those days.  As I observed my students during snack I thought, “The kids in my class are so much cuter than any other Kindergarten class in this building.”  Then I realized I felt that way about last year’s students as well.

Though I have kids who push my buttons and wear me down so much all I can think about doing is sleeping once I get home, when I step back and look at the class as a whole, I feel such pride.  These are my kids, and I will truly miss them next year.  (Of course, I do realize it will be a lot easier to miss them once I don’t have to deal with their tantrums and “personalities”.)    It’s so heart-wrenching to know that I won’t get to see them grow next year.  Not only that, but I won’t get to see my students from last year advance to second grade and blossom even more.

I know they’ll all go on and be fine without me and eventually, I’ll be fine without them.  But every day I give my students pieces of myself.  I hope they’ll take good care of those pieces and carry them with them forever.  I know I’ll always hold onto fragments from each and every student as well.

Yours,

Candid Teacher

“I appreciate all that I am and all that I have.”

 

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…”.

Yours,
Candid Teacher

 

Quirky Kids March 22, 2010

Filed under: education,just for fun,teaching,Uncategorized — candidteacher @ 10:42 pm

Candid Teacher Admits: I forget how funny, insightful, and just plain wonderful kids can be.

It’s so easy to become jaded and allow each day to fade together without realizing how much life there is in my students and in children in general.  They say amazing things every day but I often forget those things rather quickly.  Instead I worry about meetings after school, a parent I have to get back to, or how to raise a child’s reading level.

On the first day of school this year, a student’s mother was late.  To help him keep from worrying, I joked around with him and said, “If you stay here, you’re going to have to make me dinner!”  Instead of giving me a weird look or ignoring the statement altogether, he enthusiastically chimed, “Okay! What should we make?”  He went on to tell me that his favorite foods were chicken and macaroni and cheese, and decided we should make both.  As we walked to the office to wait for his mother, he saw the other students remaining in the school and declared we should make enough food for the entire school.  “We have a lot of work to do!”  he exclaimed.

I know if I make a conscious effort to remember these moments and treasure them, I will be able to enjoy my profession and my students more.

These moments are precious.  At the close of each week, I will strive to step back and note more than just my teaching practice, but my students and their quirky personalities as well.

Yours,

Candid Teacher