Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bitter sweet end

As of Friday around 1:30, I have officially been on SUMMER BREAK!!! (at least from work, as my Maymester grad class does not end until this Friday...)

It was very strange finishing out this year. I was stressed, very short on patience, and frankly feeling quite gigantic. For the past couple of years, the school year has ended with weekly time trials down at Cherry Creek, which managed to keep me sane, relaxed, and focused on something else rather than the end of school. This year school ended with me taking classes four out of five nights a week, little to no exercise, and little to no actual sleep.

It was rough.

Luckily the kids were good and we ended the year on a positive note. Chris was sweet enough to join us at our end of the year celebration (parents like to call it "graduation", but really? It's Kindergarten...). We both watched in awe as one of my little guys wolfed down a plate FULL of hot cheetos and washed it down with orange sugar juice -- and that was all. We were constantly amazed at the parents inhaling multiple plates of food and pizza while the teachers stood around hungry. Chris played a version of "fetch" with the wound up five year olds for an hour outside to help burn off the four or five cupcakes that they each managed to snag before anyone noticed.

My favorite part of the day? One parent wanted a class picture, so we gathered up all of the cheeto stained kids and smiled for a few pictures before one of them, and then all of them, adamantly insisted that Chris be in the picture too. Those kids loved him from the moment they saw him and they were luckily enough to have in come in help on a fairly regular basis. Even if he was just in for a few minutes, they would crowd around him with books or their writing journals and want nothing more than to read with him, show off their writing, or tell him funny stories. By the end of the last day, he even became their new tattling post (much to my pleasure to pass on that crown). Chris is an AMAZING teacher for those kids and as hard as I've tried I can't seem to convince him to teach Kindergarten. Any school that doesn't hire him to teach there is missing out on an amazing opportunity. There are not many of him out in this world -- wanting to teach because he genuinely wants to make a difference -- his care, love, and management shocks me every time I see him with my students.

Packing up my classroom this year was a bit of a bitter sweet experience. I absolutely could not wait to be done. This summer holds so many exciting things that I've waited years and years to do -- painting and preparing a nursery at the top of that list. But at the same time, it was hard to pack up the classroom knowing that when I return in August, I will be 9 months pregnant, about to explode, and essentially setting up MY classroom and MY students for someone else to teach for three months. I know that when I go back after Thanksgiving, I will want to be somewhere else. There will be another kid in my life to focus my energy on, and I know that it might take a year or two to get back to being as good of a teacher as I know I can be. It will be, well, different.

Good different, but different.

And I'm not generally a fan of different. Different overwhelms me.

Hence many many tears yesterday, some undue anxiety, and inner stress when all I *should* be doing is enjoying being on summer break.

But, as with any year, I think a week of decompression and rest is going to make all the difference in the world.

Then we can start working on that nursery!!

Meanwhile, since blogs are not as fun without pictures, here are a few from our little jaunt up Eldorado Canyon today -- Chris bouldering around, me pushing his pad so he would fall on something soft.

As we hiked up to the boulder, Chris told me "we have to think of something funny to answer when people ask what's on my back?" (bouldering pad), I just sorta scoffed but not thirty seconds later a nice, old, tourist man said "What is that thing on your back?" Haha. It was funny...
26 weeks! Chris now calls me "Chunky Monkey".
I am one to admit that I think bouldering is one of the stupider aspects of climbing. You climb something short, with no protection but a pad on the ground. Chris took me so I could see what it really is like. He's right. It serves its purpose, looks hard, and is not really that dangerous (at least today, haha).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Conversation of the day

Yes it is only 9:30 am on Saturday morning and we already have a winner for the "conversation of the day" between hubby and I.

me: "are you having an emotional affair?" (joking, I'm reading a pretty funny/sad thread on one of the baby boards)

C: "with my skis?"

me: "maybe"

C: "No more of an emotional affair than you're having with that picture of brownies and cream cookies."


Friday, May 14, 2010


We all read Lord of the Flies by William Golding in high school right? Where the schoolboys are left to govern themselves on the island and all sorts of horrible, yet totally predictable, things end up happening?

Well, today I found out what would happen if that situation ever arose with my classroom of kids.

I am sick.

Really really stinkin' sick.

I was better enough to even go to yoga on Wednesday (don't even get me started on how fantastic prenatal yoga feels), but then Thursday I regressed big time and now I have a horrible hacking cough complete with Snuffleupagus voice and all (wait, does he talk? I'm sure he does, and he probably sounds like me).

If it weren't taking one precious paid day away from my already thin maternity leave in the fall, I would've called a sub and stayed home crying in bed. But alas...

Needless to say, my kids did not get the normally authoritative and "teacher-voiced" teacher they are used to today. Luckily it was field day for the rest of the school, so I felt some sort of power to slack off and feel good about it. As my kids played puzzles this morning for no good reason, I needed them to clean up. I "shouted" (okay, wheezed) out a "clean up" and this is when I realized what would happen if Lord of the Flies happened in room 224.

One kid heard me say clean up, and then, almost simultaneously, 17 five year olds broke out in the "Clean Up" song -- yeah, the one from Barney (Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up clean up, everybody do your share...).


I have it banned from my classroom for a good reason.

Only they didn't just sing that song, they just sang the "Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up" part. For ten minutes.

Ah, self-rule in Kindergarten. Enough to make anyone nutzzzz.

8ish days left!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Empty Threat

My kids will not be quiet.

Life is just oh too exciting in May and they don't want anyone to miss out on any part of it.

When Teacher is preggo and suffering from a really nasty cold, she can be a little... well... short on patience.

Today when they wouldn't be quiet about five minutes before the final bell rang for school to get out, I threw out the empty threat that "we can sit here all night if we have to!" only to be greeted by...

Excited squeals and "YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I guess I had that coming.

9ish school days left...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Happy mother's day!

Well, it's that time of year again.

May daze.

The time of year when students are sick of each other, students are sick of Teacher, and Teacher is sick of students.

I'm there. My kids are there. We've been there for a few weeks now. But there are still shining moments...

It is also that time of year for assessments.

Long gone are the days when Kindergarten was all fun and games. My kids are expected to read, write, add, and subtract. Every year there are kids that shock me with what they managed to learn during the school year. I love teaching Kindergarten because I don't feel like I teach them a whole lot, but then one day they manage to read you a book. After five years, I'm still not sure how they actually learn to read.

I have one little guy that I'm so proud of that I can't help but brag about him here. He was not dealt the easiest home life. His mom struggles to make ends meet. Before he entered my class this year, he was one of *those* kids that you hear about ahead of time. I was warned about him. I was warned about his behavior, lack of attention and self-control, and, despite being in a preschool program, had managed to learn next to nothing.

When he came into my room he still could not write his name and his letters more closely resembled an uncontrolled scribble than English. He was a handful.

Today he came in for his end-of-the-year testing and he is leaving Kindergarten "on grade level" in reading, writing, AND math. His behavior is good -- he still struggles with self-control now and then, but he's good. He's generally polite. He genuinely cares about other people. I don't take any credit for any of this, he has been greatly blessed with an amazing mom.

She kicked out his bad-influence father so that her son could have a better life. She has held her child to seriously high standards academically and worked with him at home more than any parent I have had in my class -- because she knows how hard life is when you drop out of school. She has put her own aspirations aside to make sure he has a steady home-life. She takes him to the boys' club to make sure he stays active and is able to get his energy and aggression out in a productive way.

Today I had the pleasure of showing her exactly how far he has come. She whipped tattered flash cards out of her coat pocket that she made and has been working on him with. She downplays her role in his success, but I admire her.

A few hours later my student came knocking on my door with a mother's day card in his hand. For me. From him and his mom.

I just hope that I can be as good of a mom to my son as she is to hers.