Friday, August 31, 2007

Sniff Sniff

On Wednesday my class was playing a game called "Sevensies". It is very simple, and I don't even know where exactly I learned it.

The basic concept is that the class stands in a circle and one person starts counting. Every person who is a number 7 sits down. It keeps going until there is one person left. I have many variations, such as counting by tens and the person who is a 100 sits down.

I was sitting on the floor, because I was "out" and I felt this bumping against my arm. I figured it was the kid next to me, laying his head against my arm. It was the end of the day, so I didn't say anything, figured it's not a big deal. After this has been going on for a while I hear him say "Ms. J, you smell like chocolate."

He'd been sniffing me, and apparently now I can rest assured that I smell like chocolate.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


My school is part of a program where you can work towards your ESOL endorsement, while they pay for you to go. It is really a good deal, and as part of our staff development this year, we're doing a lot of the work anyway, and it was up to us whether or not we wanted to take the class and get credit for it. Hmm, free Master's credits...or do the work for nothing...really hard decision. Actually what is going to be hard is getting back into the "school groove". Granted, it's only been a year since I've graduated, but it is a little hard to get myself mentally in the place where I am used to doing school work. So today, I've done many things to procrastinate, such as writing this blog, going to the pool and painting my toenails. Oh well, I've got until Friday at midnight!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Unexpected Blessings

Unexpected blessings are the best. Don't get me wrong, I like regular blessings too, but the ones that come at you out of the blue, just to remind you that you are significant, thought of, and loved are fantastic.

I am going to see my brother and friend Anna over labor day weekend. My dad found a great deal on a plane ticket. I debated buying the ticket, knowing that in the week until I get paid again, I might get close to under $100 in my checking account, and I don't like to do that. Of course I have savings I could dip into, but I don't like to do that either. I bought the ticket knowing that I'd kick myself if I didn't; and plus, a long weekend in with family/friends only happens for me now and then.

Today I got a check from my summer job in the mail. I didn't know I still had one coming, but it more than covered the cost of the plane ticket.

How amazing, and what better timing.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Do You Speak Kansan?

Two things that Kansans say that bother me:

"Do you want that in a sack?" No, actually, you can keep the burlap sack, I'll have my groceries in a bag please.

"Where do you stay?" Huh? Translation: Where do you live. Oh, now I get it.

Wow it feels good to get that off my mind.

Bouquets of Newly Sharpened Pencils

That time of year is once again upon us. Either you are already in school, trying to beat the heat (like me) while learning or teaching; or you are savoring the last few days of summer before school starts; or you are not heading back to school this year, but you can still feel the anticipation and excitement of a new school year...perhaps remembering back to when you were a child.

My second year has gotten off to a sweltering start. With temperatures well above 100 here, it is a bit sticky and hot in a school that is still working out the kinks in the new air conditioning system. Oh well, as frustrating as it is, in the grand scheme of things we'll all be okay. Besides that, the only other mishap I've had is 2 boxes of books that had to be discarded due to mold...eww. Two thumbs up to our custodian who looked in the boxes, and threw them away for me. I don't do well with mold...I'll throw food away in a heartbeat with even the tiniest hint of mold.

Last Tuesday night was meet your teacher night at my school. I had 16 of the 20 kids show up. I'd like to think they all heard what a fantastic teacher I am, and had been so excited all summer to come meet me, but in reality it's probably because we were giving away ice cream.

The first day of school was so much easier than last year. It was nice to not have the nervous energy I did last year, and be able to come back with routines clearly established for these new kiddos. I have a great bunch of kids, and this year I can already tell that I will encounter totally different challenges than last year.

I do not have a class of 2nd graders yet, we're still working out our 1st grade energy. I don't remember the beginning of the year being this much work last year, although I am sure it was. It's just a lot of "please don't put your foot up there", and "wake up" and "put your head up" and "no, we're not going home yet, it's only 11:30, we've got 5 more hours to go sweetie."

Last year a lot of students would call me "teacher", which really kind of bothers me. However, I've come to realize that in Hispanic culture they don't say Senora or Senor _____, they say maestra or maestro (teacher). So far this year I've had lots of students call me teacher, but I think the best quote of the first week is "Teacher, I just don't know what I am supposed to be doing."

Don't we all feel that way sometimes?

Pre-Student Pictures

The AC wasn't working correctly, so I compensated. This method has since been banned. We collect compliments!
From the front looking back.
Front of the room.
A tribute to my dad-construction themed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

And It's Not Even The First Day Yet...

A short list of what has happened in the past few days.

I've decided to start my ESL endorsement (Master's Credits!!!).

I fell outside of my apartment and had a piece of dirt or something in my hand, which was removed by the school nurse.

I found mold in my closet at school and had 2 boxes of books that had to be thrown out.

I have successfully gotten my class ready for the first day (Tomorrow!!!).

I had a fantastic turn out at the "Meet Your Teacher" night. (16/20)

I've come up with a creative way to beat the heat at school. Pictures to follow tomorrow!

I have decided after meeting my students, that this year will be as fun as last year. Takes the edge off a little!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I knelt on a tack yesterday at work. I did the math in my head, and figured out that my last tetanus shot was 9 years ago, probably time to go in for a booster. Seeing as there is only really one hospital that accepts my insurance, I spent an hour in an extension of that hospital near where I live. Not the most fun I've had in my life.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Welcome Back...

I am back in Kansas now, and very thankful for air conditioning. It is so hot, I forgot how hot it was.

I was greeted last night by a re-arranged living room, and a beeping smoke detector. The living room was promptly put back how I prefer to have it, and the maintenance guys came today and fixed the beeping. Thank you.

I start my week of "pre kids" work tomorrow, and while it is good to be back, I am dealing with the change and transitions that are inevitable in life.

I hate change, and fully realized this and was able to verbalize this my junior year in college, after moving back to Bethel. Pretty much any transition for me involves a cocktail of nervous energy, sadness and anticipation...this one is no different. A part of me just wants to pack up and move home, or back to wherever the last familiar thing was; as if that would make it all better. I appreciate your prayers and encouragement as I experience this transition back to a life and a job that I truly do love.

For now, I'll just keep reminding myself of that...I love what I do here, even when transitions are hard.