Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thrifting is Embarrassing

Yesterday I forgot to mention a funny story that happened. Well, it's probably funny to all the people who make fun of my height. One of my students came up to me and asked me where the paper towels were. I walked him over to the cabinet and they were on the top shelf but pushed back a little bit. I tried to reach them but knew I would eventually make a fool out of myself, so I had the student get it for me because he was easily 7 inches taller than me, probably more. When he goes to get it he bends his knees a bit and imitates me trying to reach them. Then he said he was just kidding and that he wished he was short like me. I don't know why he would say that because I think taller people have much more advantages.

Yesterday we FINALLY got the planners in so my MT had my label and pass them out today. He printed off labels with each students' name so that we could put them on and know which one belonged to each student and so it would cut down on people trying to steal them. The labels had the students middle names on them, and you would think that would be no big deal, right? Wrong! I have never heard so many people complain about their middle names being shown. I was actually in utter shock that so many people were legitimately upset. Note to self: Don't ever put middle names on public items.

I already have one student who I know I'm going to be beating heads with. She was working on her work book while my mentor teacher was explaining things today. I walked over to her and told her she needed to close the book and pay attention. She gave me an attitude and said "I am listening. I can do this and listen." I told her that wasn't really the point and she needed to stop. She closed the book and I walked away. A little bit later she had it opened again and I told her I would write her a detention if she didn't close it. She gave me an attitude again, but I just walked away. She gets on my nerves, but I'm not going to let her get the best of me.

After school on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have help nights. I usually do the history one now while my MT teaches a class for UC. Today, we went over to the English room and so the other teacher was in there. My 3 students were very chatty and everything so I walked over to stand by them to keep them on task. The one student told me she pay me $10 a paragraph to do her homework then this situation unraveled:
Girl 1: That's $120!
Me: But I don't need to do it. I already passed the OGT.
Boy: You could like buy a nice pair of Jordan's with that money.
Me: Do I look like the kind of girl that would wear Jordan's.
Girl 2: I WEAR JORDANS. They have nice ones for girls.
Me: No, I'm not saying girls can't wear them! But can you really see ME wearing them.
Boy: You could work them.
(pause)
Boy: (looking at the skirt I was wearing) You could buy like 2 skirts.
Me: (considering how my thrifting wouldn't even come close to $120) I buy my clothes from thrift stores.
(All 3 of them start cracking up)
Girl 2: I can't believe that you admitted that. You were so proud when you said that. Your head was held high.
Me: Well, you must not have many white friends then.
(All 3 burst out laughing again)
Girl 2: If you ask anyone if they shop at thrift stores they wouldn't admit it.
Me: White people love thrifting.
Boy: Miss _______, do you buy stuff at the thrift store?
Teacher: Oh yeah! I love the thrift store.
Girl 2: Ew. That stuff is so gross.
Me: Well, I don't buy all my stuff from thrift stores. A lot of it comes from Urban Outfitters and Target.
Girl 2: I love Target. Don't hate on Target.
Girl 1: Target is great.
Girl 2: You guys dress nice though. I like your style.


This is pretty much my life motto. I found it here.


So, the skirt I'm wearing was a thrift store find in Michigan when I worked there last summer. The shirt is from my awesome roommate/bff, Hannah, who gave it to me when she was downsizing her closet. Appropriate thrifted items for today. Am I right? And the belt is from Urban Outfitters.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week Three

I'm terrible at coming up with titles for my posts, so I thought I'd state the obvious. I can't believe that we are in the third week of school already! My supervisor is coming in to observe me next Tuesday. I don't know why I'm worried because she's already seen me before and now I actually know these kids. I'm sure it'll be fine, but pray for me!!

Today we sent home the first progress reports of the year. My MT said there were several reasons he did this. For one it limited the number of phone calls he would have to make to parents from 160 to about 40. This way parents who wanted to talk to him would call him. He would also be able to see right away where there was a communication issue between the student and parent. If the student doesn't have his parent sign the report than he has to call those homes. Another reason is that students do not have to wait until midterms to see their grades and have to scramble to try to do better. A number of things this progress report showed me was that I grade way too fast and because of this sometimes I forget to put grades into my grade book. It was funny to see how many students were all of a sudden concerned with their grades. They all have the ability to check their grades at home because their grades our on a program called PowerSchool. Of course though they don't bother with their grades until now so my MT and I were stuck answering questions for students who should have had some of their problems dealt with a week or so ago.

Also, while we were answering questions about grades I ended up going back to the computer and answering individual questions and updating grades for corrections or late turned in work. My MT was still among the class answering questions, but he said he was surprised how many students asked to see me instead of him answering their questions. He said this was a very good sign because it shows that the students are seeing me as an authority figure and in some ways will respect me when I starting teaching more and more in front of the classroom. So, good things are happening!

During advisory today we played this really cool game that I wish I would have been able to do in high school. I can't remember if I said this before but advisory is meant to be a place of academic advising and social emotional learning. The students will be together for the rest of their high school years in the same advisory so the hope is that it becomes a place where students can feel comfortable sharing things about themselves where they may not have such a place. Today's activity was call 60 Second Interviews. Each student was to chose two questions to ask their partners. We lined up two rows of chairs with both rows facing each other so that students would interview the person across from them. One student would get 60 seconds to ask their questions and then any remaining time could be used to ask follow up questions. Then they would switch so the other partner would ask their two questions. After each pair asked their questions in the 2 minutes. The outer row would move over one seat and it would continue. It is very similar to speed dating. I was listening to a pair talking and the one student asked the other student "What worries you most about the world today?" The other student responds, "Getting shot because I know a lot of people who have been shot." I was shocked by this and it is just another reminder to me that these students are growing up in an entirely different world than my own white bread suburban roots. I know I would have answered something more world wide, but then again I didn't have to worry about getting shot (at least I assumed I wouldn't ever get shot in my hometown). It's crazy what high schoolers have to deal with.

So, I bought this dress LAST summer for $10 at Plato's Closet. Want to know how I knew the cost? I still had the tag on it which meant I hadn't worn it yet. This dress would actually cost about $45 if I had bought it at retail price, so I'm happy with the purchase I made last summer! I really like it though and I don't know why I never wore it.

One of my students also gave me her volleyball schedule because I said I would like to go to a game. I want to support my students because I want them to know I'm interested in their lives and I do want a hopeful future for them. Anyone want to go to a game with me next Tuesday or Thursday?!

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Friday, Friday Gotta Get Down On Friday


Okay, so you all should have seen that one coming. But that's okay. Those delicious things to the right are the funfetti cupcakes I made for my advisory. Most of the students were actually pretty thankful. However, the firepit didn't go so well because we didn't have the chairs set up. A few students kept making comments when someone would speak. So, now I know that if I want something to run smoothly you can't change things up on kids and you have to have the room set up ahead of time. One of my students did ask me if he could call me Miss Avacado (this was the item I used during the name game).

Every week we check binders and the students get two grades 1 for the binder order and organization and the second for the warm up. If students get A's on both for the entire quarter than they are considered "Super Students" and one day for lunch my MT takes them out to a restaurant. You know what that means? I get to go out to lunch with them! I'm super excited and it's going to be cool to hang out with students in a different context other than the classroom. When my MT was explaining it to the students he says, "Now, I'm going to warn you I've had students purposely fail the last binder check because they couldn't handle the responsibility that goes with it. Boys, I should warn you, women will want you and men will want to be you. Girls, it's going to be very expensive because of the amount of people calling you and the number of guys wanting to go on a date with you." He went on and on. It was so funny, but I laugh at everything!

The honeymoon stage with the students is coming to an end, I think. One girl was already caught cheating by my MT the other day on a quiz about procedures! They are also starting to do a "Mom against Dad" thing where they will ask one of us something and if the one tells them no they will go to me, mostly, and tell me that my MT told them they could. For example, one girl told me that my MT said she could go to the bathroom, so I wrote her a pass. He never did. Then later she apparently had asked my MT what grade she would get on her OGT workbook that she didn't complete. He said he "didn't know" because I was doing the grading. When I got to hers she tried to tell me that he was okay with her not finishing, but I just thought to myself, "Yeah, right" so I gave her an F because that's what I was doing with the books that weren't finished. She got SO pissed and grabbed away her book so I couldn't grade it (it's not like I had my own grade sheet or anything). Then my MT said she went up to him later and told him I gave her an F and he just said, with a smile, "Okay." Hahaha.

Today I graded around 150 binders and warm ups, 150 OGT workbooks, and 150 quizzes! AND I got them all done before I left for the day. My MT says I'm a grading machine. But I have to thank my teachers in middle and high school who always let me come in to grade papers. Yeah, I was that nerdy kid in high school. As I was grading the binders I turned to one binder and it said "Ricky Minaj" with a heart for the dotted I and then there was an arrow pointing from it to the words, "Nicki is wifey." HAHA! It was even funnier because I know his personality. I hope her gets to marry her one day! HAHA. Also, some of the attitudes were coming out when I was grading those OGT workbooks. They had 2 days and part of a class day to finish just one lesson for homework. So, it's not like they didn't have time. I graded them in front of them and some girls started getting attitudes towards me. But it's not my fault you didn't do your work. When I start again I need to make it clear that I mean business from day 1. I think some of them think they can walk all over me, but as I realize that I kind of was in the beginning I know now that I can't be that way when I get my own class.

Can you guess where this outfit is from? Yeah, Urban Outfitters and Target. Don't worry, though, as we get into the fall season I'll start wearing clothes that is not from either of those places, maybe. Actually, the belt is from a thrift store though! But that's not too shocking either.

I hope you all have a good weekend! I'm working at my actual paying job! I'm so lucky! I do miss the old people though! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Very (Kind Of) Short Post

So, I don't have much to write about today. I think we're finally at that part in the school year where I'm done writing a lot. Anyways, today every single copy machine in the building was not working. My MT gave me this advice: "That, Miss Albert, is why you never make copies the day you want to teach something." It was an ironic comment because he did need to make copies for advisory, but he actually is very organized and good at having copies made ahead of time.

Today I got my first taste of the things that home life can do to a student. I'm going to be very very vague about this post because I want to protect her identity. Yesterday when I was grading quizzes a student had written something on the back of her paper. Today, I asked her if I could talk to her out in the hall. She was very bubbly and happy the past few days so I was concerned about how she really felt. She asked if she was in trouble. I told her definitely not and tried to smile to make her feel at ease. When we got to the hall I asked if she was okay and told her I saw what she wrote. She told me that a very tragic event took place. She said she was crying a lot the day before, but she told me, "I'm cool now." I knew she wasn't because once she knew I was talking to her about her quiz she looked like she wanted to cry. I told her I would be there to talk to her if she need anything and then I asked if she wanted me to refer her to the counselor. She told me that she wanted me to do that. My heart breaks for her I can't imagine what she's going through. However, I want to help because I struggled in high school with issues and I wish that someone would have noticed my cry for help, although I was never very explicit as anything like she was.

On a lighter note, I'm bringing in cupcakes tomorrow and I get to bake them soon! I'm excited although we have so much grading to do tomorrow since they are turning in their notebooks, lesson 1 of their OGT books, and they are taking the procedures quiz again! My teacher did warn me that I should be aware that students will find something to complain about when you try to do something nice, so I'm bracing myself for them to complain about my funfetti cupcakes, although I don't know how you can find much to complain about since it's the best kind of cupcake there is.

I didn't really like the outfit I was wearing today because I just looked really gross. So, I'm not going to post it, but I will say that the khaki pants I wore today were from like 7th grade! The shirt I bought at The Buckle for my senior pictures! It was a pretty old outfit.

I do need your help, though! Does anyone know where I can get professional looking black and khaki skinny pants? For a pretty decent or cheap price? That would be much appreciated!

Also, if you haven't noticed I have a new tab labeled, "History." In this tab I will be putting movies, books, and tv shows I recommend and their historical context in case you're interested... since I am a history teacher and all and prefer a good war movie over a chic flick any day! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can I Have Yo' Number?

Do you remember this skit from Mad TV? Where Darrell asks the girl in the theater for her number? So, a situation that reminded me of this happened to me while I was walking to the school (but not quite as hilarious). So, this situation happened while I walked past him on the sidewalk:
Me: (being courteous) Hi.
Man: Hi. You're very pretty.
Me: Thank you.
Man: Are you married or something?
Me: No, I'm not.
Man: You're single?
Me: Yeah.
Man: How are you single?
Me: I don't know?
Guy: What's your name?
Me: Jasilyn.
Guy: I have a phone number.
Me: Um, that's okay. (As I try to politely walk away)
Random things like this always happen to me. Can't a normal person my age talk to me? Haha.

Anyways, that made me laugh this morning. Today in advisory we had our group write a question for me and my MT that the students would want to know about us but within reason. It was funny. One of the questions was "Do you want to have children?" I said no because I don't really like kids or babies and all the students started saying, "What? You don't like kids." Hahaha. It's true, I don't know if I could ever have children. Another question asked if I liked being at the school. I said "Yes, I love it. I tell all my friends how much I love it." One of the girls yelled out, "Why?" with the most confused look on her face. We didn't get through all the questions, but I peered at them and one of them asked, "Why do you always look bord?" Yes, spelled like that. I don't know the answer to that one though... how am I supposed to look? Haha. Friday is our celebration day so I'm making funfetti cupcakes for them! I asked my mentor teacher if I could because I wasn't sure if he wanted us to bring in stuff or just the students and he looked at me and goes, "Are you really asking if you can bring in cupcakes?" He was all for it!

The only other notes I made today was that a teacher needs to go through instructions they give again and again and again then ask the students if they have any questions. At that time they'll probably ask you to go through them again anyways. Today we also gave the students a quiz on procedures because we finished up the main procedures we needed to get through for the first weeks. Today's warm up was "What questions do you have about the procedures?" I liked that he did this because it allowed for extra clarification of procedures again for students that missed it or may have just tuned out what was being said.

During our team meeting today after school the teachers on our team give shout outs at the very beginning. My MT gave a shout out to me saying I was great and even though he had gone 13 years without someone he doesn't know what he'll do without me when I leave. I was kind of embarrassed because I feel awkward when people praise me in front of others (although I do secretly like it too!) haha.

Onto the last item for this post. My outfit. I'm wearing pants and a shirt bought at UO. Now, I bought both of these items on the sale rack. I never buy anything full price there because I'm cheap. One of the girls in my classes told me she loves everything I wear. It made me smile. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally, A Laugh

I know I promised funny stories, but since the students haven't really been able to talk not much has happened in the way of a funny comment. I promise this post will contain one... but later on. Be patient!

I am a very organized person, but some of the things my MT wants I thought were a little unnecessary. For example, for the warm ups he wants the students to have EXACTLY what he wants. Nothing more, nothing less. He wants the date in a certain spot, etc. I love this idea, but I was kind of thinking to myself "What's the big deal if they put the word 'Warm Up' after the date?" Well, when he was explaining to the students why organization is important I understood. In order for students to get work back promptly they need to have it organized. When I was grading the warm ups I noticed right away the difference between an A and an F. An A had exactly what I wanted and an F didn't. It made grading that much quicker. So, for all you future teachers: ORGANIZATION ORGANIZATION ORGANIZATION! Another thing my MT does is he always has the lights off when the students enter. One good thing about our classroom this year is that it is really big so there are two large lights in the front of the room that turn off and two in the back that can stay on so that the room isn't too dark, but even when he didn't have this he always had the lights off. He says he does this to give the students a sense of what they should be doing and to give them the idea that they need to be acting differently from the well lit hallway. Plus, he always has warm ups on the overhead projector that are easier to see with the lights off. I think it does make a difference too!

I actually taught some lessons today! The high school I'm at has 6 core values that everyone in the school is constantly reminded of. In their English class they went over what they were and it was our job to do a "Positive School Culture Matrix" with the students in order to get the students to understand what the core values look like in practice. The way the class went was that they did their warm up and then individually each row had a location in the school and they had to write an example of what each core value would look like in that location. Then as a class we came back together and I went down the rows and had each student give an example for the core value I asked them in their location. The rest of the class would fill out the matrix for the boxes they didn't have to do independently. The core values of the school are: Courage, Respect, Empathy, Desire, Integrity, and Teamwork.

For the first bell my MT did the warm up with the students and I was supposed to explain the lesson. However, I was so wrapped up in stuff, plus I didn't really know what to do, so my part of the lesson was pretty bad. Haha. He had to pick up most of the pieces for me. Before the second class started he asked me if I wanted to try it again. I said yes because I need to practice my teacher persona, plus I'm not nervous in front of them, so I felt I could give it a try since I better understood what the lesson looked like. So, for the second bell I went through the warm up. I asked for volunteers to give one of the six core values in order and then the description. My MT said some stuff before and after. Then it was my turn to give the description of the lesson and when the individual work was finished I led the discussion on the whole group part. I changed things as I remembered my MT doing. It went alright. My MT thought it was better than I did, but he also gave me some good advice. I needed a louder voice because the reason I had to keep repeating myself was that the students couldn't hear me when my back was to the front, I needed more confidence where I acted like I knew what I was talking about and clearer instructions. I attempted it again third bell and it went great! At the end of the lesson my MT gave me the thumbs up and had a huge smile on his face.

During lunch we debriefed what happened. He told me that it went great. Another piece of advice he gave me was that I needed to work on having the students raise their hands instead of shouting out because if I don't than they will begin to think they can bend the rules on other procedures for the class and from there they will eventually control the class. It's so hard trying to keep track of everything I need to do, but that's why I write them down! He did tell me that he sensed that the students respect me because he would be able to tell right away if they didn't. He said it helped that I have been involved grading, etc since day 1. He also finished by saying he was my biggest fan and that he was rooting for me to do well! :)

Now, the funny story. So, my MT taught 5th bell because they are very "squirrelly." As he was going through the matrix with the class he went to one student who had to give an example of courage in the restroom. Now we were looking for an answer that said something like "Having the courage to tell someone to stop clogging the sink." However, with a straight face, this kid said, "You can have the courage to take a doo-doo." HAHAHA It was so funny! I taught again 6th bell, but it didn't go so well because they kept asking to repeat since they would ask their neighbor a question and then not hear the response. I also realized how awful my classroom management is. My MT stepped out of the room and the students started shouting out answers. I kept trying to have them raise their hands, but it was hard to try to restrain all of them. Plus, I should have followed my MT procedure not talking when they are talking and not start up until they are done. But too many things were going through my mind like wanting to get through the matrix so they wouldn't have homework, but they did have homework. So, not talking when the students are talking is something I need to work on next time!

I found this today on cleveland.com and I thought it was funny. I'm totally like this, even now because I still feel like I don't have to do anything since UC hasn't started yet.

Today I am wearing pants from a thrift store and my shirt is from Urban Outfitters. See? I'm not kidding that all my clothes come from Target, UO, or the thrift store. But actually the yellow tank top underneath is from a store called Gadzooks that used to be in the mall in my hometown and it carried Forever 21 stuff. I saw Brooke today (a fellow education classmate and my friend) because she has my MT as a teacher for classroom management and she said I looked very teachery! Haha I'm glad I do!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Manic Monday

So, today was pretty uneventful. I really hate the fact that we are still going over procedures and routines, but I know the benefits in the future will outweigh all this boring stuff right now. As much as I would love to be getting into the history information I know none of it will go successfully if the students don't understand what is expected of them. Today I did explain the grading of the binder (because I did the grading). As the classes went on the better I got at explaining the grades. One thing I do is I lose my train of thought when I'm talking so it sounds like I'm nervous or stuttering, but I'm really not. I do this when I talk to people in person (even friends) because I am much more of a listener than a talker. One thing my MT pointed out to me was that when I told the students where there grade was located I needed to tell them to turn to exactly where I was explaining the grade and pause and make sure everyone was there. Explaining things to them is a very slow process and they need to be guided through every step. I'm not trying to dumb them down, but you can't assume everyone understands you despite every effort you make to give directions as explicitly as possible.

My MT also wanted me to enter the binder check and warm up grades into the computer. I had them all done by 3rd bell. He couldn't believe it and said I was a ninja when it came to grading. I also spent some time grading the summer homework. I got it all done before I left, so now I only need to grade the homework that students turn in late, but I think there is going to be more late homework than homework I graded today. :(

Since I'm pretty good at grammar and writing my MT wants me to proofread and go over everything he hands out, including information for the class he is teaching at UC. I read over his syllabus today for the classroom management class he is teaching for UC. He wanted me to catch any writing mistakes and also give him feedback on what I thought. I felt pretty adult-like giving him the feedback, especially since it is for a graduate level class. He asked me about the course load and what I thought of the course. I really like what he wanted to do because I liked my professor for my class, but I feel like I didn't learn much I could put into practice. In my MT's class he has the students write their own philosophy and throughout the course they will observe other teachers and do readings that they can pull into their philosophy. It made me want to go back and rewrite my own. If you didn't know it most teachers have to write a teaching philosophy that they use to explain why they do what they do. This is mostly for interview purposes.

Today's outfit comes from Urban Outfitters and Target. SHOCKER! Everything but the sweater is from Target. Oh, and I have bangs again! I finally got my hair cut. It was so gross and nasty since I haven't had it cut since last September. It's shorter now, but it needed to be cut. I must look pretty decent today though because this conversation happened on my way home:
Guy on Street: Hey.
Me: Hello.
GoS: What's your name?
Me: (pausing because I don't know what to say, but awkwardly I proceed) I don't have a name.
GoS: You don't have a name? You're looking nice, baby. (Then he continues to say stuff to me as we walk in opposite directions.

I forgot to mention this last week in my post, but as one of the bells was leaving one of the boys said, "Cleveland sucks!" and I responded, "Do you want to spend an afternoon in detention with me?" He was the same boy that asked if I burned LeBron's jersey. It was really funny.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cleveland Visits Cincinnati

This weekend one of my best friends from back home came to visit me! In the 5 years I've lived in Cincinnati she is the first one to visit me! I've had people come down to pick me up, but no one has come down just to see me and hang out. I am grateful for good friends! :)

She came down Friday night and we went to a restaurant near campus called Myra's. If you live in Clifton and have never been there you need to go! The food is so good. Then we came back to my house but decided we were craving Kahlua floats. We ran up to Kroghetto where we bought ice cream and I picked up some groceries. We went back to my apartment where we had our Kahlua floats and watched the first episode of Doctor Who. We both wanted to watch the show because we hear a lot of people talk about it. Yeah, it was very interesting!

Saturday morning we made buttermilk-blueberry breakfast cake which I wrote about yesterday and can be found here. After breakfast we walked to Bellevue Park which is really close to my apartment and has an AWESOME view of downtown Cincinnati, which my camera does not justice to. I don't know why I don't hang out at the park more often because it's beautiful (but kind of shady) and has a swing set! So, we swung on the swings like little kids.







After the park we went down to Ludlow and walked around. We weren't hungry yet, so we decided to go to a vintage store in Northside called Casablanca Vintage. I went there with my friend Kendra a few weeks ago. It is a fun store to walk around in. We tried on some awesome things!


Searching for something good!



Military style.


Ready to travel somewhere far away from here!

After our vintage trip we went to Urban Outfitters where she talked me out of buying everything I wanted. I can't go into UO without wanting everything off the sale racks even though that stuff is still really expensive. We went back to my apartment where we just hung out and talked about high school and people whose names we have not heard in years! Then she started playing a crossword so we were both trying to figure the answers out. We then got hungry. I started shaking because I was so hungry! We went to Five Guys. I had never been there before and she had so I trusted her judgement. It was actually really good. I was craving a burger, so it hit the spot!

When we got back to my apartment we hung out and talked and made banana bread.
I'm a banana bread baking master. Plus, I had two bananas I really needed to use. As we were waiting for it to bake we Facebook creeped on people from back home and then she decided to dress up in Hannah's apron.

We spent the rest of the evening talking and watching Detroit Rock City. In high school we would watch that movie CONSTANTLY. We know like every line from the movie. We went to bed early because we are both old women and have no need to stay up late.

This morning we finished off the breakfast cake and reminisced about growing up in Mentor. Her visit made me miss home and my childhood so much. No matter what happens Cleveland will always be home and a part of me will miss it terribly. I can't wait to go back! All in all it was a fun weekend that was much needed!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

My friend Becky came down from Cleveland to visit me this weekend! For breakfast I wanted to try out this recipe that found on Pinterest. The real recipe can be found here.

What you will need:
  • 1/2 cup (8 tbs.) butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp lemon zest or more (I forgot this and it was still tasty)
  • 7/8 cup sugar + 1 tbs. sugar (1 tbs. will be used at the end!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


Directions:

1. Preheat over to 350F. Cream butter, lemon zest, and 7/8 sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

3. In a separate bowl mix the 2 cups of blueberries and 1/4 cup of flour together (to prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom).

4. In another bowl whisk together remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time while alternating with the buttermilk -- This is when it's good to have friends with you in the kitchen! :) ). Fold in the blueberries.

6. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or similar) with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.

7. Bake for 35 minutes. (We baked ours for 45 because it wasn't finished at 35. You may need to bake for additional time as well!)

8. ENJOY!


The verdict? It was amazing! We definitely ate too much because we couldn't stop. It's even good cold. We took it back out later in the evening and started eating small pieces with a knife. I want to try it with ice cream some time. I'm such a fatty, but whatever I don't have anyone to impress! Haha. If you try this recipe out let me know what you think!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Booty Cootie

Yes, that is a word that my mentor teacher (I'm going to use MT now to abbreviate mentor teacher) used to tell students not to put their heads on the desks. He said that when students are gone teachers come into the classroom and hang out and they like to sit on desks and so their booty cootie rubs off. When a student lays their heads down on the desk they pick up that booty cootie on their face. Clever. I may just use it!

Today in advisory it was firepit Friday, so we all got chairs and sat in a circle around the "camp fire." Everyone then took a small pebble and my MT posed a question. Once the question was given one person had to put their pebble in the fire and that meant they had the floor to speak. The question was "What were/are you nervous or anxious about during the first week of school?" If a student didn't want to answer they could simply say they were not comfortable saying it. I gave some lame answer like "I was nervous about my first year as a teacher." I could have come up with something far better than that because I'm nervous and anxious about everything! My MT almost started crying during his. I felt so bad because he has a lot going on and still works hard every day.

Today in class we went over the syllabus and collected binders for their first binder check. He let me read the introductory paragraph and the core vales to the class from the syllabus. He slowly wants me to make my presence in front of the class. During the last two bells I actually graded binders. It was kind of frustrating because we spent all week trying to get these kids A's. We even walked around and showed them exactly what they needed to do and they all had the opportunity to come in and ask for help, yet a lot of people did not get the 2 A's. You know in high school on some of your binders and notebooks you would write the name of your teacher and the bell and subject? Well, some kids had MY name down! I felt awesome and like I was actually their teacher. Yeah, I'm moving up in the world.

My teacher also described two more procedures that he goes over. One is his tardy procedure (and the rest of the team does this too so the students are familiar with it). There is a tardy binder next to the door and when a student comes in the must sign it even if they have a note. Then when we have time my MT or I will check the binder and see if it's excused or not. If the student has a note that is when we go over to collect it. If the student does not have an excused tardy they get an automatic detention. A tardy is if they are about 1-3 minutes late. They student will get a Thursday night school if they stroll in 10+ minutes late because that is no longer a tardy, it's skipping class. If the student fails to fill out the binder then that automatically get a detention whether they had a note or not. My MT also wants his class to be preparation for the work place, so what the students say and how they act should reflect that. He has a list of words across the front of the room. They are: Quiet, please; I'm sorry; Thank you; Excuse me; Please. These are words that the students need to use instead of words like Shut up. If my MT or I hear them say a word, like shut up, we just nicely ask them to please rephrase the sentence using one of our workplace words. Easy as that.

My friend (you know the one I gave the detention to?) and I had our talk this morning. I asked him why he didn't stop by after school. He said he forgot. Whether or not this is true I don't know. However, I felt bad (I really need to grow a back bone). I decided not to give him the Thursday night school, but he was still getting the detention. I allowed him to say something in defense for himself, but he didn't because hopefully he knows that he is guilty of his actions.

Today I received this shirt and this lanyard and flash drive from the school. We got the polo shirt because we helped work summer bridge. All of the teachers got the lanyard and flash drive from the school as a gift and my MT gave me his. I love being a teacher! Plus, now I have somewhere to put my keys. Yes, I have my own keys to the classroom. My mentor teacher also told me that he brags about me to everyone. I laughed, and he said, "I really do." This is a good thing! I'm glad my hard work shows!

Today, I wore black pants that I bought at some thrift store. I was going to wear a different pair, but for some reason all my pants a big on me now, even with my shirt tucked in, and they didn't have a belt loops, so I had to wear this pair. They make my hips look massive! HAHA! The shirt I'm wearing I bought at Plato's Closet about a year or so ago (actually I might have bought it in Michigan). Well, it doesn't really matter now. I realized that I am to the point after 4 days where I stand at my closet and I don't know what to wear. I need more teaching clothes and I need it to be fall/winter because that will make my choices much smaller. Although it is freezing inside the school so I could probably get away with wearing my wool sweater.

I am happy it's the weekend though, and my friend Becky will be visiting me! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yes, I Am That Teacher

Today's attire is brought to you by Urban Outfitters and Target. This is actually the first time I've worn this dress. I bought it back in December when UO had a sale which was a 50% off all sale items sale the day after Christmas. I haven't worn it though because I'm really self conscience in clothing without sleeves and I never had a tank top to go under it, which I definitely need because the dress comes down far too low for my liking. The gray tank top, the white chevron tights, and the gold shoes (which you cannot see) are all from Target. Little known fact, I love Target and UO, and most of my clothes that do not come from thrift stores probably come from either of those two. The tights were actually on sale for like $1.75? I bought them on my trip home. I love them and I should have bought more!

Today at the school we mostly played the name game. Man, I am so overwhelmed by the amount of names I have to know. I'm probably going to look over names tonight. I think I have advisory and Bell 1 down, but once they come in I forget them. I have talked to a few people 1-on-1 and that helps me remember their names better! While we were playing the name game in one of the classes I saw one of the students mouthing words to someone outside the door, so I walked over to the door to see who he was talking to. Right when I stepped to the window I saw a student from another class (who was waiting for his locker to be assigned) sticking both of his middle fingers up to the kid in my class. I walked outside to ask him what he was doing and he told me he was pointing his index fingers up to the kid. Yeah, sure. So I asked him his name and walked back in to write his name and the situation so I wouldn't forget. I walked back out and told him I wanted to talk to him after school. My mentor teacher told me to give him a detention. So, I wrote my first detention slip. BUT my good friend did not show up after school, so I was told to give him a Thursday night school. We'll have a nice chat tomorrow. I'm not out to get students, but 1. that situation was uncalled for, and 2. I'm not okay with people walking all over me. In the last class my mentor teacher stepped out to talk with another student and as I was helping a student the class started talking. I told them that they were supposed to be silent but a few girls wouldn't listen. So, I told them I had already written a detention and I could do it again. That made them quiet. The one thing I need to work on is my authority while making myself personable to the students. We'll see...

I wish I could say this was the detention slip because that would mean I was teaching at Hogwarts, but, unfortunately, it's not.

A few things I want to note for myself and all my teacher friends are procedures my mentor teacher did/told me today. Every day he goes through the same procedures (students do the silent warm up, homework, and then class response to warm up). A few students in different classes already had their homework sheet/assignment books out while they were doing their warm ups. My mentor teacher would stop by these students and say, "I caught a student being good during the warm up. So and so has already caught onto the procedure that I go over homework after the warm up." At this point the students all got out where they wrote down the homework for the night. I love his idea of positive reinforcement for the students. I have to remember to do this often. Also, we had a pre-made lesson that we have to do for as a teacher of the school regarding the core values and it involved getting students into groups of 5. My mentor teacher told me we weren't going to follow that procedure because it is too early to allow students to work in groups, and especially groups of 5. He usually has a whole lesson on teaching the students the procedures of working in groups and he said that we aren't even close to the point of teaching them that step yet. Although all this stuff is really boring and dragging on, once the students learn it he will have a well managed class.

I'm trying to get to know my students better. I found out two play volleyball and I told the one I would love to have a schedule to go to one of her games. So, anyone want to join me when I figure it out? Once school gets going I'm going to spend a lot of time there. I have to stay after on Mondays and Wednesdays for meetings (until UC starts and I have to go to class on Wednesday evening) and I have to stay after for help group on Tuesdays and Thursdays especially during the first few weeks because my mentor teacher is actually teaching a class on classroom management for UC, but I'll have to stay after that anyways. I'm really excited for the opportunity to be this involved in the school, but man oh man, my whole week will be shot because I won't get home until 5ish (possibly later) and I usually go to sleep now at 10 because I'm an old woman and have to wake up early. I'm not going to complain though because I've been so content with my life these past few weeks, and I'm loving this opportunity.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Love Cleveland


Today my students got the first of the many doses they will probably get of my love for Cleveland, but I will come back to this later.

Today was once again going over procedures and slowly moving on. It is so important to keep the instruction at the beginning of the year teacher focused until students are used to the routines and procedures because if you don't those kids will learn how to walk all over you. My teacher started going over what he calls "Teachable Moments." These are moments that a procedure or punishment needs to be explained, but it is best done when the problem arises. There were two examples I remembered today and they were when I kid swore when he was talking to himself and when it came to trash on the desk.

Another procedure I forgot to mention that I want to write about so that if I read this when I get a real job I can go back. My mentor teacher had me write names of all the students on the desks in alphabetical order by last name and I color coded each class to distinguish them. Bell one was red, bell two was green, etc. This is very convenient because right away the students know where they are supposed to go and as a teacher you can let a student know if they are in a place they are supposed to be. Sometimes students (I know I would have been one of them) get embarrassed when they realize they are in the wrong place and just stay there the rest of the class because they don't want to make it known that they made a mistake. This happened a lot yesterday with students going to the English class because our room had that classroom's number. Also, it makes it easy to take attendance because you don't have to waste class time taking roll call. You can simply look at the desks and mark who was absent. My teacher also uses binders for the class. I can't decide whether I would implement it more along his lines or the teacher I had for my practicum spring quarter. I may end up taking ideas from both. What my mentor teacher does though is has students buy a binder and have 2 dividers. Before the dividers will be all the graded work. In between the dividers will be all the handouts they received that will be included on the notebook check that will happen every Friday. After the last divider will be all the warm ups and extra loose leaf paper. As students receive handouts and other papers we will write on the board what order they need to go in along with the color of the worksheet. I am all about binder organization. I loved when my teachers had us do this. I'm a loser.

So, after a reminder of basic procedures he introduced himself and I introduced myself. I told them I was in my 5th year at UC and would be graduating in December with 2 degrees. I also told them I was from Cleveland, and one of the biggest Cleveland fans they would ever meet. Some of the students thought I was crazy, but it wouldn't be the first time. I finished by telling them some of my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. Strenghts: Grammar/writing; organization. Weaknesses: Learning names (there are a lot more, but I want to make an impression to the students that I know what I'm doing). I told them I would be happy to proofread anything they needed me to and my mentor teacher said that I, in fact, proofread all his stuff as well. (Side note: I'm better at proofreading other papers, not my own, which is why I probably have a lot of typos, etc).

Then we went into the name game. If you've been following my posts I wrote about this game during summer bridge. It's the same game but with a lot my names to remember. If you didn't read it then you can read it here because I don't feel like typing it all out again. During the game a student referred to me as "MRS. Albert" and I said, "I am NOT married." Next time it happened in a different class my mentor teacher said, "It is MISS Albert. Let's not try to marry Miss Albert off. She doesn't deserve it." It's times like this that I am glad I am not tied down to someone because it makes me feel like I can do anything and focus more on this job and these students, although I do hope to meet someone soon, but I doubt that will ever happen. Haha. The game was fun and the students enjoyed it. It actually did help me to remember names too! The bell schedule is still weird though and so we got through like half the class in the first three bells, but the last two bells we didn't even start the game.

After 5th bell one of the students came up to me and asked if I burned my LeBron jersey. I told him I never had one, but I would have if I did. He asked if I liked LeBron and I said no. A few of the students laughed and I'm so glad I'm already building up that relationship with them. I don't need 10th grade friends, but I want them to find some common ground with me or see me as relational so that I can help them in the future. After school we had our weekly team meeting. We took a field trip to the office to see the time the bells were on. They were were 3 minutes faster than atomic time. People were looking at us like we were crazy because there was a group of like 8 of us just huddled in the office.

After I got off at 5 I went and had dinner at Don Pablos with Kayla and Adam. It was nice to catch up with both of them, especially Kayla who has been in Europe for the past forever! I felt like a real adult going to dinner with friends after work, too bad I don't get paid at work... However, this whole teaching thing is wiping me out. I am so tired right now and I had coffee and 2 Diet Cokes today! I'm about to slam into my pillow very soon. I really hope that this blog makes people realize how hard teachers work. Although I'm not doing nearly as much work as most teachers, it is a tiring job that requires so much of just one individual.

Finally, today's outfit! Sorry for the blurry, bright picture. I was running late this morning and had opened the curtain and didn't have time to close it and take a better picture. I'm wearing pants I bought at Gabriel Bros. (a great store to but clothing for very cheap) and a shirt I bought at Target back in 11th or 12th grade. I still wear clothes from high school, and I'm proud of it! Haha! One thing that really bothers me about my height is the difficulty of finding pants that won't drag AND I don't own any shoes with a heel, so I look really awkward with that pant leg. Oh well, I'm over it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of School

Unfortunately, I can't say this will last, but for today it has. I feel like God has blessed me so much to put me in a major and school that I absolutely love. When I'm not teaching I think of all the things I want to do, like design and making crafts. However, the reality is I like doing those things for myself. If I had to design for someone else I'd go crazy because I don't want to create things based on what other people want. With teaching, however, I could see me doing this for years (hopefully this isn't just the honeymoon stage).

Well, as I said I'm going to put up what I wear to class. I'd like feedback on my outfits! If you see something that you don't think a teacher should wear or that makes me look too young let me know! Now, I'm not going to dress inappropriately - I'm not that kind of person - but I'd like feedback! Today I wore a pinstripe shirt that has a bow that ties that I was given for free by my awesome roommate and fellow high school teacher, Hannah. The pants I'm wearing I bought at a thrift store in Kentucky. My webcam doesn't do my outfit any justice, but the pants are REALLY nice. I actually bought a few pairs before I started back because I'm teaching every day now. Thrifting advice I give to you is to look at thrift stores for dress pants before you go to a real store (hopefully Ally at Fever Thrift* will appreciate this --also check out her thrifting blog it's awesome! AND she's also another teacher in my classes). More often these pants are cheap and in much nicer condition than jeans you would find, at least the dress pants I looked at were all in great condition.

On to the first day. It started with a clap in. All the teachers stood outside and clapped for the news students. There was a balloon arch and the principal was welcoming everyone. It was kind of corny but cute. I'm not going to talk in detail about every class because, honestly, it was pretty boring. There were also some problems on the administrative level that should have been worked out that caused problems through out the day. However, it didn't really disrupt the flow of our own classroom. For one, they gave us a bell schedule that they didn't even follow, so my teacher would be talking and the bell would ring mid sentence which makes it hard because he's really good at time. Another problem was that they put down the wrong classroom number so a lot of students went to the wrong room which caused them to show up late and miss some of the material they needed.

My job today was to greet students as they walked in the door. One thing I need to work on, like I said, being assertive and not timid or shy. When I'm around friends I'm pretty outgoing but around new people I tend to shy away. However, when I made the decision to be outgoing I really was. I welcomed students and told them what they were to be doing while my mentor teacher stood outside and kept people from coming in if they were not in uniform. The school has a uniform policy and one thing my teacher does it will not allow students to come in without the correct uniform. He won't even let students tuck in their shirts inside because it is so easy for them to just walk in and forget about it and it causes more classroom discipline issues than there needs to be. I also took attendance and got to put it in the computer. You should have seen me trying to figure out how to put everything in the computer though... haha it was hilarious. I also collected summer homework, which was confusing because 1. I didn't know what to expect, and 2. I was given papers from some people and not others and some turned in some sheets but not others. It was a mess, but I got it all covered.

Like I said in an earlier post, my mentor teacher is huge on procedures. He spent all 5 classes describing procedures for warm ups, homework, start of class, etc. He has an opening phrase that either one of us will say once the bell rings and that is "30 seconds. Have a seat please and thank you." This way students will know they need to be seated, quiet and ready. He even explained what he meant by seated quiet and ready. Even with high school students you need to be explicit with what you want from them. One thing I noticed he does a lot of is praising. Praising for everything! If students are quiet while doing their warm ups he stopped the class and thanked them for being silent and even told them to notice the silence. Also, this way students we shown that they CAN be silent during the warm up, so he can pretty much use it against them if they start talking later in the year. He likes students to raise their hands, so when a student does he praises them and says explicitly what he is praising them for. If a student answers a question without raising their hands he reminds the class that he answers questions by students who raises their hands. I like that he doesn't explicitly point out that one student or give them a hard time. Also, when he would explain how he wanted the warm up set up both of us would walk around and make sure the students were doing it exactly how he wants them. Honestly, it was a pretty boring day. The repetition of doing something 5 times is draining, but it was a successful day.

At the end of the day my mentor teacher asked me how it went. I told him I was surprised with myself because I was more outgoing than usual. He went on to say that he thought that I was fantastic and that we have great chemistry together in the classroom. It's really true though. We are a great team. He's been teaching for 13 years and he told me that he thought, "What would I have done without Miss Albert?" But it's so true because there is so much a teacher has to do that first day like attendance and tending to late students that with me there he didn't have to break stride because I was there. I told him I really appreciated that he let me come in 2 weeks early because I actually felt like I was part of the staff and that it was my room too. If I had just been there yesterday I definitely would have felt like I was imposing. He told me that he really appreciated the feedback and he had a lot of teachers make fun of him for having the intern come in 2 weeks early to do work, but now he knows that it was successful. I really like that our relationship is such that we can talk about this kind of stuff and give each other feedback. I also like our team teaching strategy. UC wants interns to take 2 or 3 classes all by themselves, but my mentor teacher is totally against that because teachers will never get a chance to co-teach, so for me to be given this opportunity is really great. I will have the rest of my career to be thrown into a class by myself on the first day, but to be given the opportunity to be shown the ropes will help me my first years of teaching.

All in all I'm so thankful for this opportunity. I'm so happy right now. Let's just hope I can say that in 5 weeks!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Day of Freedom

Today I woke up bright and early at 6:30. Headed to the school about 7:45. Spent the morning in an inservice type thing. I enjoyed it because they had Panera coffee and bagels. I am not only all about coffee but I'm also about free food. There were several topics covered. 1. They made all the new teachers and interns stand and introduce themselves. I was dreading it. I hate talking in front of people I don't know (great quality for a teacher to have, am I right?). Of course, I was the last to go, but it was over in about 10 seconds. 2. Then there was a discussion about the new teacher evaluations. This was interesting to me because I realized how much pressure there actually is to be a good teacher. That is one thing I am dreading about becoming an actual teacher. 3. Finally, my mentor teacher and all the other teachers involved in the advisory board gave a presentation of how advisory is supposed to be run. I'm actually looking forward to this. Every Monday and Wednesday advisory does some type of activity from the advisory handbook. Every Tuesday and Thursday is academic advising. My favorite day is going to be Friday because it's "Fire pit day" and every last Friday it's a celebration day. Basically, the whole idea is that students can be comfortable getting out anything that is on their mind in a safe environment. I love this, and I could have definitely used it in high school. During the presentation the principal came over and introduced herself to me. So, yeah, I have an in with the principal. Just kidding.

Around 11ish we went back to the classroom and it was continuous work since then. My mentor teacher had me take out all the English books that were in the classroom and in their place on the shelves I had to put all the OGT workbooks and count how many 9th 10th grade editions there were. 262 if you were wondering. Then his wife and 3 daughters stopped by. They are adorable and his 1 year old daughter is the tannest baby I have ever seen. His wide is gorgeous too. I want to know her secret to staying thin after having 3 children. It's probably running around after them because she is with them all day without any rest. One of the reasons I don't really want kids...

Then we took a break for lunch and right after lunch I put names on cards and taped them to the desks. The largest class is going to be 34 students! The smallest is 29! So, I have 4 classes of 30+ and 1 of 29. It is going to be so much fun learning names. Then I had to hang up any posters that fell down. Then, 2 posters fell down again, so we just put them aside and we'll probably try again when the air conditioning works. He then had me create a seating chart. It started off awesome and organized then somehow it decided to turn into a nightmare on me. I was so upset, but I'm done and I'm not touching it anymore!

Finally, we ran through tomorrow's lesson plan. I'm in charge of standing in the classroom and greeting students and pointing them to the board for their task. He told me to be assertive and aggressive when greeting students because this is the one chance to make it our classroom and if I'm passive and shy the students will walk all over me. But no pressure or anything. That is the one thing I've been constantly told I need to work on by my supervisor and if I screw it up tomorrow I not only ruined my chances of classroom management for myself, but I also made it really hard for my mentor teacher. So yeah, no pressure. Tomorrow it's going to be my job to greet students, take attendance, and collect summer homework. I'm both excited and nervous because I don't want to mess this up! The last thing I did was wrote the bell schedule on the board. Gosh, my handwriting is so bad when I print and write on a board. I love cursive. I wish more people were accepting of it! Haha. While I was writing it two boys came in and introduced themselves to me. They were really nice. I remember their names, but I'm not so sure I remember their faces... they played basketball though!

When we were about to leave my mentor teacher told me that he was really impressed by the hard work I've done in these weeks before school started. He said he knows this is where I'm supposed to be and that I show him I want to be there. He said that we'll probably have some issues in the future with lesson plans, etc, but that's okay. He finished by saying he's had some real duds. Haha! This really made me relieved and thankful. I was so worried this summer to be working with him because when I had observed in his class before he came off very professional and he didn't really interact with me (which is okay!). However, I'm soooo sooo sooo glad that he is my mentor teacher. I am truly blessed to be in a position to have someone willing to show me the ropes of more than just the classroom and I'm learning so much.

Well, I should probably relax. Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight! Wish me luck!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Potato Tacos

I decided that I am no longer going to keep this blog solely as a teaching blog focusing on the classroom. Teachers have lives outside of school, right? It's hard to believe, but yes. Besides history I am very passionate about arts/crafts, traveling, cooking, and thrifting. Well, I don't cook all that often, but when I do I go big... or bigger than my normal spaghetti and sauce.

So, to kick off this new direction of my blog I am going to blog about what I made for dinner tonight: Potato Tacos! I found this recipe that the lovely Danielle posted on her blog which can be found here. I'm going to write my own recipe because I did not follow hers exactly. For meals like this it is very easy to create it to what fits your own tastes which is why don't have amounts for the seasoning.

What you will need:
  • 4 red potatoes (she suggests 2 medium potatos, but I wanted more potatoes for later meals)
  • 1 Vidalia onion (she didn't give a type of onion, so that is what I bought)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • red pepper flakes
  • cumin
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • Chili powder (my addition)
  • Hint of lime tortilla chips (If you use traditional taco shells make sure you add salt to the mixture)
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • Mexican-style cheese
  • Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

1. Chop potatoes (peel first!), green pepper, jalapeno, and onion. Add to a large bowl (make sure it's large! The entire recipe together makes a lot).



2. Drain black beans and corn then add them to the mixture. Add package of taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Add as much as you want. I like spicy foods so I added a lot.



3. In a frying pan add a little oil and the ingredients in the bowl (without the bowl, of course!) Cook on medium until the potatoes are cooked (they'll be brownish with a crisp). I think it took me like 10 minutes.

4. Prepare your toppings! I cut of the tomatoes into small chunks. I cut the lemon into 4's. I chopped up the cilantro and put it in a separate bowl. I may have cut too much up, but I love cilantro. The Greek yogurt is a great and delicious substitute for sour cream (Yes, I was hesitant at first too). Finally, put out your cheese and chips.



5. Ta da! You're done! Now that was simple and delicious!



6. Make sure to invite friends over! I invited my friend, Katy. Here is her loving it!




I would say that this recipe makes about enough for 4 people (and these 4 people can have seconds), but it all depends on how much they eat. I know I'll be enjoying this for the next few days.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meetings Meetings Meetings

Today I sat through a team meeting from 9-3. Long day. It wasn't all bad though. I really like everyone on our team. The team had been out an English teacher up until yesterday, which is crazy since school starts Tuesday! The new teacher is only 23 (a year older than me) and the math teacher is 26. You may be asking why I am sharing this information and I will tell you! One of the most difficult things for me during my practicum for spring quarter was that my mentor complained about how she didn't like her job and how you don't get any respect from the students for being a short white female. This got me really depressed because I already am so self-conscious about looking like a high school student that I didn't want this add to it. I mean I am going to have to be mean to the students, I know that, but I think these 2 young female teachers will be very good role models for me, especially the math teacher since she might be slightly taller than me and she is smaller.

One of the big discussions at the meeting was eliminating zeros in grading. This idea says that no child can get below a 55 on an assignment. An F is an F and a student shouldn't receive a low F that could bring down their GPA even more. Plus, to make an F 50-0 on a grading scale is ridiculous, especially if everything else only falls between 10 points. We read about this in our seminar class during spring quarter in a book called Fair Isn't Always Equal by Rick Wormeli. There are so many variables that make this idea a good and bad thing. For example a student who doesn't turn in an assignment shouldn't get a 50 if a student who turns in the assignment but doesn't "get" the material gets a 50. The one student is showing effort which should be rewarded. This could get solved by simply putting an X in the grade book where the student has a missed assignment. The argument goes on and on. My mentor teacher gave the team the option to do which ever one they feel comfortable with. He is going to try out the new "No Zero" policy, which will be interesting for me to see especially with it being my first time ever recording grades. This trial period will also be a chance to even change some of the grades (not officially) to zeros to see how it changes a GPA or how students respond to the fact that zeros will not be given. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

The CECH library at UC has a lot of children's books and yesterday on the tour my mentor teacher asked if I could possibly take a few books out for his daughter. I went there this morning to get them and I also picked up a book of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and a book of Danish fairy tales. I'm excited to read these because I love real fairy tales, not the Disney-fied version. Stories like Greek mythology and J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard interest me. I should be preparing for the Praxis or doing something better with my time, but the books aren't long and it'll give me something to read on my breaks at work. Anyway back to the point. I came in today and my mentor teacher was like "I could have just gone to the public library to get the books. I don't know why I made you do it." I don't mind. I walk past UC to get to the school. This just motivates me to get up and leave the house earlier instead of sitting on Facebook or Tumblr drinking coffee. Before we left this afternoon he told the other teachers that not only does he make me sit through a 9-3 meeting, but he also makes me get books for his daughter. It was funny. I should be a personal assistant to someone famous (maybe Joseph Gordon-Levitt?).

Nah, we look better as a couple. Don't you think?

Oh, also, at the meeting the science teacher is bringing the students on a field trip to the zoo! The zoo has a policy of 10 students per teacher which means the students need a lot a chaperons. Since the entire team is going I get to spend a school day at the zoo in September. Being an intern has its perks!

My mentor teacher gave me tomorrow off which is nice, but I really need to use that time productively and really start to work on my powerpoint. I go back at 8 in the morning on Monday for meetings ALL DAY LONG. Well, technically until 3, but we have another team meeting at 3:30 and then depending how much prep work there is to do my mentor teacher and I could possibly be there until 8. At least I'll get some free coffee in the morning! I'll need it! Then school officially starts Tuesday! I'm excited but oh so nervous!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Moving In --- My Desk Edition


So, these are the lucky items I have displayed on my desk at the school:
1. A Franklin D. Roosevelt pencil sharpener -- He's my hero and my favorite president. I wrote about him on the essay portion of my OGT.
2. A perpetual calender I bought in San Francisco -- I love it and it's totally my style.
3. A doily coaster from Urban Outfitters -- Needed a place to put my coffee.
4. A small candle holder that I turned into a place to put paper clips and rubber bands -- Don't worry, the wax was removed.
5. A picture of my sister, my brother, and me on our first trip on an airplane/and to Florida. I was about 5.
6. A dinosaur wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey. I mean, come on, I had to put something Cleveland related after all the nonsense my mentor teacher gave me about it! :)

Summer Bridge

Summer Bridge is kind of like an orientation for 7,8, and 9th grade students. 7th and 8th grades are included because they are new additions to the school. Makes sense because the school is huge! My mentor teacher and I were scheduled to work it this morning at 8:30. I thought it would be worse waking up at 7, but it wasn't!

Anyway the whole thing was a cluster because no one really knew what they were supposed to be doing. My mentor teacher was taking the place of another teacher today who pretty much told him good luck. It kind of ticked my mentor teacher off because there was no organization. I just laughed. Anyway we had 9th graders and they were split into groups and we all walked over to U of Cincinnati's campus (my school!). My mentor teacher had me lead our group around because I know the campus since it'll be my 5th year.

When we got there we played an ice breaker name where one person would say their name and something they liked that started with that letter and so one. So, like this, "My name is Mr. Duthie and I like doughnuts." (Remember name has been changed!). Then I would say, "He's Mr. Duthie and he likes doughnuts. I'm Miss Albert and I like avacados." The game would continue all around with each person adding their name to the growing list. Some of the kids got really annoying because they didn't even try to remember the names, but I guess that's what you get with kids. It made me realize how awful I am at names! Which is great because there were only 20 kids and on Tuesday I'll have to learn 160 names!

Then, my mentor teacher talked to them about time management and GPA. It's sad because in our education classes we are told that we should not have students focus on grades, but the reality of life is that that one GPA has a lot of power in determining their future because colleges and jobs don't care about effort, etc. They just want to know your GPA. After that we all walked to one of the lecture rooms on campus where they played an ice breaker and watched part of a clip called 2 Million Minutes (which is the number of minutes a student spends in high school if you were wondering).

After that was lunch. The Bearcat (UCs mascot) was out handing kids t-shirts. I got one. One of the perks of being a teacher! After lunch we returned to the room and discussed GPAs a little more then it was the library tours. The students went to two libraries on Cincinnati's campus. It's cool because UC is giving these high school students library cards! They get so many amazing opportunities. In between tours my mentor teacher wanted me to take them on the scenic route so of course I took them to UCs football and soccer field. If you've never been to the University of Cincinnati you should go. It's a beautiful campus and it's cool because our football stadium is right smack dab in the middle. But I'm not really a football fan (unless it's the Browns). I've only been to 1 UC game my whole time in college.

After the tours we wrapped up and walked back to the high school. Then my mentor teacher and I headed to one of the restaurants near campus for a social studies department meeting. One of the teachers is from Akron so we were talking about how people freak out in Cincinnati for just a little bit of snow. Think I'm exaggerating? Come visit in January and you'll see I'm not!

It was a cool opportunity to work Summer Bridge. I got to experience what it would be like to have to chaperon a field trip. Not fun. Then my mentor teacher came over to me during our time in the auditorium and told me it was a "Teaching Moment." What he wanted me to see was what NOT to do. If you tell students to do something you need to be on top of them like a hawk, which most of the teachers were not doing. They were just standing around talking. This meant that students weren't finding their pairs for the ice breaker. They were just getting with friends and pretending it was their partner. I also learned the importance of organization.

It was such a long day. I don't know how my mentor teacher does it. He's so involved in the school, is going to teach a class at UC, AND has a wife and 3 small daughters. I'm wiped out and I'm not even doing anything! We have a good relationship so far which I appreciate and am blessed to have. There are so many mentor teachers who just give all their work to their interns and leave the interns to learn nothing. The other day my mentor teacher had sent me a text message telling me the plan for the next day. I sent him a text back with "Okay." The next day when we were going over the syllabus he told me that I am the only person who he has even known to spell out OK and end it with a period. I don't mind though. Writing is my thing (all though I'm horrible at it and can never catch my own typos and stuff, I think it's important). Basically, he appointed me proofreader of everything! Haha.

Oh, by the way, one of the students asked me today if I was going into 9th grade too. Awesome! I'm looking forward to hearing that A LOT...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer's Almost Over

I meant to update yesterday, but we all know how good I am at that. At least I got back to it today. Anyways, I got my first lesson to create yesterday. My mentor teacher wants me to come up with a 40 minute power point lecture on the interwar period (1919-1939). Easy right? Not quite. I'm so bad at knowing what students should learn. I tend to over stuff with information than give them the right amount they'll need. This mostly comes from the fact that I'm not with these students all year, so I have no idea what they'll need to know or not. I guess I picked the wrong subject...

Anyways, I am excited to create it, but we'll see where it goes. Yesterday was spent in meetings with the Freedom Center. They work with social studies teachers at the school I'm at for two years (9th and 10th grade) and allow the students to create videos in iMovie about what Freedom means to them. These videos will be uploaded to iTunes. It's hard to explain the details, but it's a very cool idea. Three social studies teachers, an English teacher, myself, and the lady in charge of the project from the FC all met. I didn't say anything, but I was simply observing. They talked about what changes needed to be made, what problems they ran into, etc. It was really cool to see how teachers can collaboratively work together to revise material not just produce something new. It was a successful meeting.

Today my mentor teacher and I talked about the first three weeks of school. We talked about what we're going to do, his big push to create procedures and routines to keep the classroom manageable, and even made copies. He left me in charge of doing that. But that was totally okay with me since I like all that office work kind of stuff.

I am so glad he has me come in these weeks before school because I've been observing so much that I'd never learn in a classroom or even from him telling me. Today a woman came in to tell him that his class roster was up and that it wasn't set in stone. Here's the class numbers: 35, 36, 39, 28, 24. Thirty-nine students! I'm pretty sure anything over 35 is illegal in the state of Ohio. And basically she said good luck, hopefully some students don't come. Okay? Well, I wish more people could see what kind of stuff teachers have to put up with instead of just bashing them for their child's poor performance. Oh well, I'm just preaching now. I also heard a discussion about how they don't have enough money to purchase OGT books (something the students NEED) for social studies or math. It's kind of ridiculous, but I guess that's what teachers have to face. My mentor teacher and I went and checked out the social studies book room where we stole a bunch of OGT and textbooks.

I must say though that if I could go back to high school, I'd go to this school. These students have more opportunities than I think they could ever imagine. They have more opportunities than I ever had in my suburban school. They have mac comupters, and iPads and iTouches the teachers can borrow for the class. All the teachers have Macbook pro computers given to them. Students can win an iTouch. The best part? Yes it gets better... the school is working with universities to give away 30, yes 30, FULL RIDE scholarships for education and technology tracks for certain colleges. Now, there is much more explanation to go along with this, but that's the basic gist. But not only 30 for the whole school. It's 30 for each grade. I honestly wish I had an opportunity like that! Now it is a STEM school (science, technology, engineering, and math), but it's still awesome that a urban school has these types of opportunities.

Well, I'm done blogging for now. I'll try updating tomorrow. But we'll see...
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