Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sorry, but I had to write this.

This makes me have the sads. Every year of teaching my husband and I both happily buy supplies for our classroom. About two weeks ago, my husband was told they would receive no money for art (he gets $100 once a year to order only from approved suppliers). Keep in mind he teaches the whole school of about 600 kids. I just don't know how you can teach art with nothing. When he entered his room, there was not even paper. PAPER. He also is not allowed any reams of copy paper since he is not a regular classroom teacher but teaches specials. I understand when we are grocery shopping and he puts paper plates, coffee filters or printer paper in the cart for school. We have spent as much as $5,000 out of pocket on a year on supplies. No joke. We also pay taxes (love it when people say they pay you because of taxes) and while we personally choose to homeschool we pay our local large public school that husband works for about $1,000 yearly in property tax. I try not to visualize us handing our paycheck back lol. I get upset about teacher pay but we knew going in we would not make much but we had no idea how little it would still be about twenty years later. I never realized how much overtime I would put into it. You literally work weekends and yes, summer. During summer you are planning, setting up your room for next year after having to take it down for floor waxing, and attending professional development you are required to go to. I remember staying at school until midnight my first few years of teaching. Even if I left the building at a decent time, I still brought a bag of work home. It never ends. I am not complaining because I felt good like I was investing in the future of our country. I am a dreamer, I guess.
I am very sad about the state of education in our state. I know there may be an announcement about a raise soon. I had to stop reading comments about it because...well, people tend to forget police, firefighters, teachers--we are human, too. We have feelings. We are not robots.
It is also disparaging to me that I went to college all four years and took the education courses to become a teacher but it does not matter...anyone can teach now. I personally don't see it as fair because not only does it make those of us who ran the whole marathon feel worthless, I really cannot see how it can benefit students to have a "teacher" who has never taken child development or psychology or any curriculum courses.
I am often asked when I run into "old" students if I have any advice for them because they want to go into teaching and be like me. Yes, this really has happened. I want to say "don't do it," or "run!" but I remember during my student teaching I called my second grade teacher to ask her if she had any advice for a beginner teacher. She tried very hard to talk me out of it but I was headstrong and thought I was going to change the world. I think I needed to experience it all myself. I have no regrets about the eleven years I have had so far in education and no regrets about the six on/off years at home. I'm still a dreamer. I still want to make a difference. I still believe I can. I still have the passion for education! I still believe a good teacher, a good principal, a good school can CHANGE a child's life. It only takes one person to believe in you to CHANGE your life.
I am living proof. If that second grade teacher had not "caught" me and changed my life I have no idea where I would be. She taught me to read. She made me LOVE reading and writing. I knew my first grade teacher did not like me. I knew she saw me as a loser because I spoke Spanish (which I got detention for) and I did not know how to read. She would happily call that Eagles reading group to her table and then my group-The Crows- would be last. :( I remember that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when she called us. I was about to be in trouble because I could not read as fluently as she wanted me to. I tested low in everything and she made me feel like I was an embarrassment as a human being. The next school year, my second grade teacher was a blessing. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to show other kids they were worth something. She made me feel like I was smart for the first time in my life.
So keep this in mind next time you are grumpy about something a teacher or principal did. Please keep this in mind next time you are angry at your child's teacher or school. Because honestly, most of us would take a bullet for your kid.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Garfield hates Mondays.

This must be some sort of crazy thing that happens when you become an adult and start to get older. I am slowly turning into Garfield the cat.

This is what we have in common so far:

·       We hate Mondays. I never really knew why Garfield hated Mondays since he is a cat and never had a work week, but I guess Mondays hit everyone in the face now and then.

·       We love our bed. I truly think there is some percentage of bear in my blood. If I could, I would hibernate through Winter. I must be an adult so I have to settle for hanging out in my bed on evenings.

·       We don’t “get” Odie. Odie is like always hyper, always happy. I think the older I get, the more I am likewhy is Odie always so darn happy? I wish I was more like Odie. He just seems unaware about what is really going on and like he is in a perpetual party state. I'm actually a little jealous of a cartoon dog.

Oh, and this would totally be me blogging right now if I was

I wanted to take a minute to share some good professional development reading with you. I am a true NERD. I love professional development! Love it! However, since I have been staying at home/homeschooling lately I have not had many chances to attend PD in the real world. So I have been keeping up with PD through books. 

My local library here in Oklahoma makes it easy-peasy because I can request books online and have them sent to the library closest to me. I like doing PD through reading or online because I can do things at my own pace. It doesn’t matter if I am wearing my holey sweatpants with bleach stains, either. Even Garfield agrees with me.

Without further ado, here are some good reads for teachers/administrators!!!

This is a very good early childhood book! There are activities and misconceptions of current teaching of reading practices are discussed. It shows you how to plan phonics lessons and activities along with how to construct relationships for your young students with the text.

Guided Reading-Fountas and Pinnell

This book is my boo. I have called it my reading teacher Bible before. This book is what first got me really interested in teaching reading. I think every college should use this book as a textbook for education courses. I was very lucky the university I went to had education courses that were very strong on teaching reading and writing. This was one of our textbooks and I will be forever grateful. This books shows you step-by-step how to set up and conduct guided reading groups along with literacy centers. This would be the ONE book on this list I would read first if I could only read one right away.
They also have other books on Interactive Writing, etc. Love them!

Ms. Hammond uses a wealth of research to share effective teaching practices, and culturally relevant teaching. A good read!

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I read his book and then was pleasantly surprised when I got to hear him speak/met him like a month later. This man has mad energy! This book really made me feel good about teaching and made me want to do better (we can all do better and grow after all). Read this if you need some happiness in your life.

LETRS: Module One- Louisa Moats and Carol Tolman

If you want to know about how to teach reading and also the neuroscience behind the brain, etc. then this book and the whole series is for you.

I am a LETRS certified trainer, but I still learn something new every day about the brain and how it relates to reading and writing. I would not recommend ordering this from Amazon since it is very pricey there (I linked it above so you can read the reviews/preview the book), but I like Abe Books for ordering used textbooks/workbooks like this one.  

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Proust and the Squid – Maryanne Wolf

This book will definitely give you knowledge about reading and the brain. I will admit I am still reading it at the moment. It is one of those books I go to read little bits at a time much like snacking because it is so good.

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The First Days of School – Harry and Rosemary Wong

This book changed my teaching. I read it halfway through my second year of teaching. It really made me think about the intent behind all of my classroom procedures. 
At the time, our district sent us to Great Expectations training so some of the things I read in this book went hand-in-hand with the idea of planning out your classroom procedures and how that sets the tone for your whole school year. This is a must-read!
Sidenote: I also got to see Harry and Rosemary Wong speak two years ago. It was a great, energizing session!

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire – Rafe Esquith

I found this a quick read. This is a good thing because if you are teaching you are short on time most days. I like books like this because they are inspirational and like a shot of Vitamin B when you need some teaching energy. 

This book has good advice for administrators along with real-life examples. There is also a book written by Todd Whitaker for teachers entitled "What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most."

Tony Wagner explores what teachers, parents and employers can do to help students become creative innovators.

HAPPY READING teacher friends!!!
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