Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh the joys of first grade

I am having a blast teaching first grade. The kids in my class this year are really smart, adorable, and not to mention hilarious. Today one of my students waddled up to me and informed me that "His left shoelace got tied to his right one. He REALLY didn't know how it happened. He was just walking down the hallway and suddenly his right shoelaces became double knotted to his left one."
Riiight HAHAHA.

So anyways, our school uses the book and methods of "Teaching with Love and Logic" which is not only an eductional discipline book but is also used for parenting. The book and system are AMAZING. I love everything about it. It teaches kids responsibility for their own actions as well as how to deliver consequences with empathy. And a ton of other stuff. I think I will definitely use it for when Blake and I have kids one day.

So back to the story, when the student came to me to try to untie his shoelaces for him, I responded with "Wow. It seems you have a tough problem that you're going to need to work through. I hope you can come up with a solution. Good luck, let me know how it goes." Then I walked off. He was pretty floored. It was really funny to watch from the corner of my eye. Love and Logic is new to me, so I'm just starting to get the hang of it.

The student sat there for a couple of second, clearly in deep thought. He probably wasn't used to not having an adult immediately fix his mistakes. A few minutes later he came up to me and said "Mrs. Hilliard, I thought about it and I think I'll just take the shoelaces out of my shoes and put them in my backpack for the rest of the day. I can try to work on untying them when I get home." I was very pleased.

Love and Logic teaches kids to take responsibility for their actions and problems, and I guarantee he won't be doing that again now that he knows I won't sit there for a long time and try to untie it for him. And I know he wouldn't want to waddle around all the rest of the day either.

I'm definitely loving my job. It is a laugh a minute. I have an especially funny group of kids. The situations they get themselves just couldn't make this stuff up. I've given up trying to keep a straight face when they say something funny. I think they know that I'm crazy about them and they seem equally crazy about me from all the sweet parent letters I've gotten so far haha.

The workload is pretty incredible though. We actually have each day sectioned off into 12 separate categories where we teach 12 seperate lessons a day in various subjects. Back in Richardson we simply had a Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies block lol. And the lessons now are extremely in depth and each require a ton of manipulatives and materials that you have to prepare ahead of time. But it's good, because first grade kiddos definitely need that hands-on, interactive learning. That paired with having to learn a brand new curriculum, as well as getting probably over 100 e-mails a day about all various things, tons of meetings all the time, allllll the grading, and about 500 other things I don't have time to even get into, it's just a lot lol.

That is why me, along with a lot of the other first grade teachers, are there from 7:00-7:00 pretty much every day. It's kind of weird though, because the school day FLYS by. I mean it's 7:00 and the next thing I know, I turn around and it's time for them to go. All the while I'm running 90 miles a minute lol. For example, a typical lunch for me is I start walking the kids down at 11:30, then have to get their lunch cards for them and get them pointed in the right direction. That puts me back to about 11:40. Then I will either have a parent call or some other task I need to handle immediately. And that puts me to about 11:50. And 5 minutes to eat since I have to head down at 11:55 to get the kids.

I've learned to hold my bladder so well haha. It's like, well I need to pee, but I'll need to wait about 3 hours until my planning period if I have time to swing by the restroom. I think only super high energy, multi-taskers, and people with a huge heart for kids can be teachers. I mean its seriously hard work. My goodness. But I love every minute of it.

My deal is trying to set SOME time aside for myself as well as for me and Blake. We've been doing pretty good about that, making sure we eat together, and if I'm home working on school stuff, we still are hanging out. During the school year, it's just hard for me to get my mind off teaching. I told myself that I would ABSOLUTELY NOT do ANYTHING for school tomorrow, and just save it for Sunday when we have our school's dedication at 2:00 and after that I'll get all my work done. But I can just visualize all those papers in my take home bag and they are just waiting to be graded. Not to mention the lesson tweaking and Center ideas and prep I still want to do. But I'll try to not do it until Sunday. We'll see how it goes.

Somehow I haven't really gotten stressed about anything this year yet! I think I'm just so thankful to be able to teach at such a wonderful school. A lot of teachers teach a long time before they are able to get into a school like this. I have a great team to work with and all the teachers at the whole school are so nice. And don't get me started on how much I love my kids. And there are definitely perks, all my awesome parent volunteers who take care of all my copies, any cutting, laminating, and any other tasks I need done. And not to metion that one of my kid's parents who buys and brings me lunch every Friday hehe :) I did offer money repeatedly, but they refused. They rock!

I am just loving life right now. And Blake and I are celebrating our anniversary tomorrow! 2 years on Tuesday! Look for a blog post about that soon....Maybe...