1.23.2011

Random thoughts that are more like frustrations

I am enjoying the weekend at home and finally feeling a bit better. It's such a difference to what I felt like over the week. It was a bad week and I will admit to anyone who asks that I was not nice to some of my kids. I was tired and cranky, which isn't really a good excuse, but what can I say. I am only human. I am going to make a concious effort tomorrow to make sure I apologize to my class and my students and work harder at not taking it out on them, unless they truly deserve it. You know the ones...the slugs that sit there and do nothing all day and then when you ask them a question just shrug their shoulders since they haven't listened to a word you said since "Good Morning". We all have those students, and if you don't, well, you are extremely lucky!
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In past years, I have taken great pride in teaching reading. I feel it's my strong suit. I feel I give time to my struggling readers and help them come along nicely. This year though, I feel as if there isn't enough time to do a darn thing. The schedule isn't much different, the reading material is the same, but for some reason, I don't feel there is enough time in the day to get it all done. And I feel I am not being effective. It bothers me tremendously, but I don't know how to change it. In fact, I feel more pressure to get my kids "test worthy" instead of teaching them what they really need to know. It sucks. I don't like it one bit. In fact, my principal is walking around and making sure we are working on the skills that will be tested on in a couple of weeks. When she walks in, she has her little standards chart for this term and is looking to see what we are covering. It isn't good. I feel like I am teaching to the test and not teaching what the kids really need to know - how to read! And with the testing, I am just as competitive as the next teacher, but we have a couple of teachers who may or may not give the test in the manner it's intended to be given. And wouldn't you know that their students almost all get 100%????? Even the ones who can't read? Interesting, huh? But, as long as the test scores are high, no one seems to care how they get that way. To me, it's not a true representation of what the student knows (or doesn't know) or how well they are doing in class.
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Teaching writing is not my strong suit. Never has been, never will. I have tried to find new and different things, but it hasn't helped me. I see so many wonderful writing projects out there in blogland, and I look at my students writing and I feel like I have failed them. We don't have time to get it all in. Part of me wants to throw in the towel and just write for fun each day, but that won't help them on the writing prompt each trimester. But then I think it will help them to be a more well-rounded writer. I don't know. I just want to scream!!!! And no one can help me figure it out. If you ask one teacher (who may or may not talk out of her ass all.the.time.) her kids are wonderful writers and she has done a marvelous job with them. (Side note - they can't spell worth crap!!!!!) She's no help since she toots her own horn and enjoys seeing me struggle. Maybe I will just go with the flow and see what happens with my writing as the year progresses.
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I had such high hopes for the year and they are being squashed. Or I feel they are, anyway. I was so optomistic before I went back in January, but it didn't last long. I know a big part of it has to do with me being sick. I haven't had the energy or desire to do much. I want to, but it doesn't happen. Basically, my last week looked like this: drag myself out of bed late, go to work, yell at my kids, do work, clean the room, get my daughter, come home, sit on the couch and watch TV, eat dinner, go to bed, do it all again the next day. It wasn't productive. I was grading papers on Friday afternoon instead of coming home early. And when I did get home, I went to bed! Yep, mother of the year, people!

These last 2 weeks have felt like a whirlwind of crap, if there is such a thing. Looking back, I should have taken a day off last week. I should have stayed home and relaxed. But most of the subs we have suck. I don't want to leave my students' learning to someone who doesn't really know what they are doing. Mind you, there are some good subs, but they are always working! I need to somehow change my attitude and mindset and try to block everything else out. I don't know how to do that, and it's making me frustrated and I end up questioning myself and what I'm doing. I think I have second-guessed myself more this year than before. I have never really done it in years past, but now I am and I don't know why. Things to ponder.
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This week is another whirlwind week for me. We have an assembly Tuesday morning which will make the rest of the day suck. It's the reading rewards program for the minor league baseball team we have out here. They come, put on some loud, abnoxious assembly and then tell the kids to read 10 books to get a free ticket to the game. Most kids don't do it and I haven't been to a game since I was like 25. Damn, that was a while back! The kids get so excited over the stupid mascot and then they can't stay calm til Wednesday. Then on Wednesday, I have an IEP to go to in the middle of my reading time, so that means the kids won't have me there for groups. No groups Tuesday or Wednesday now. Then on Thursday, I have 2 SST's in the afternoon during math time. So that means Thursday's lesson will suck. What a week of some wasted learning time!
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But, next week is a fun week. We'll celebrate the 100th day of school and do some Groundhog's Day stuff. We'll have to review for the benchmark test, but that's nothing new! Oh, our district and union have reached an agreement for next year to save jobs. This is the earliest EVER that they have a deal. We'll still be furloughed next year for 6 days, which will keep our pay less, but at least we aren't giving up even more than we did last year. Hopefully the new govenor will get his bill or tax or whatever passed so we get to keep what $ we have, but who knows. California is a weird state!
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Happy Sunday all! Time to finish the laundry I didn't do yesterday, do plans and hopefully sit out and enjoy the warm, sunny weather. 80 degrees today! My kind of winter!

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