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Quick recap and update

Christmas was lovely. My entire immediate family was present at my parents house. Christmas eve was like a big slumber party, complete with my brother playing video games until the wee hours of the morning, and some of us sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Christmas day was complete with snow that ended up sticking for a good 24 hours. Everyone here in Georgia kept calling it a "white Christmas" but I'd love to see what they would do if it was a real white Christmas like they have in the mid-west, with over a foot of snow. :)

I think there was only one, maybe 2, days of Christmas break where I was at home alone. Every other day had some sort of activity. My mom and sister and I had fun at Charming Charlie, spending over 2 hours browsing and buying fun jewelry. I went along with Nicole to help her brother and sister-in-law move into their new place, which was right next to a park by the river, so I was happy when they asked us to walk their dog because we got to explore the park. That night was New Year's, so Nicole glammed it up by wearing sequins and bringing champagne. We got to watch the New York ball drop online and toast the new year.

My birthday was a couple days ago, but while people were still off work, I came up with a bowling birthday party at the local bowling alley. The whole family was there and a couple friends, and it was great. I followed Nicole's new year's example and wore sequins, just because I'm 28 and I can. :) We all had so much fun trying to beat each other and teaching Thomas how to bowl. I even commented to my brother at one point that this was one of the best 20-something birthdays I've ever had.

School started back on Wednesday, and I was hoping things would be different, a new start, better behaving kids. But the first day felt like any day of last semester. I'm learning and realizing that part of my frustration with my students is that I expect them to mature over the year and be able to function academically and socially on a certain level, and they're either just not capable or don't know how, so I need to adjust my expectations of my kids and find ways to help them grow in those areas without becoming frustrated. There were some small victories and moments of "yay, I don't fail as a teacher!" on Thursday when they did a mini-research project in the media center. Most of them were remembering how to properly cite sources in MLA format, something I ran myself ragged teaching them last semester. So they are learning what I'm desperately trying to teach them and I should focus on that and not the more frustrating and depressing aspects of my days with them.

There are several new kids in my classes, transfers from other schools or other teachers in my building, and a couple of kids who are new in town. The most challenging new kid, teaching-wise, is a boy in a wheelchair. A couple years ago, he was shot and paralyzed from the waist down. We've had to rearrange my room to accommodate a table for him to sit at in his wheelchair, and space for him and his parapro, who helps him with a lot of different things. He's very smart, respectful, and hardworking, which is wonderful. Because of some brain damage, he doesn't have full use of his hands, but with a special tool, he's able to hold a pencil and write. His writing is chicken scratch, but is actually better than some of my other students handwriting. He asked me yesterday if I could read it, and I told him just that, which made him laugh. I talked to him quite a bit yesterday, along with his parapro, about how we would work together this semester so he still got what he needed and wasn't slacking or falling behind. It's going to be a bit of a steep learning curve for me, since I've never faced this type of challenge in my classroom before, but I'm actually excited to have a "problem" to solve, so I can grow as an educator.

It's only been 3 days, but this new semester, while still similar to last semester in matters of actual classroom issues and teaching, is different due to the simple fact that more people are taking time to chat with me. A few teachers in my department are beginning to make more of an effort to chat in the mornings or between classes, two of the front office ladies have actually gone out of their way to talk to me after I had gone out of my to talk to them, and the ladies in the media center continue to be friendly and sociable. It's funny how the simple change of having people be friendly can make a workplace so much better. I hope this trend continues throughout the semester.

The first few days back after a break are always hard to adjust to, so I've been very tired and actually went to bed around 9 last night. Hopefully soon, my internal clock with adjust to being back on a schedule. There's supposed to be a winter storm, with snow and sleet and freezing rain, coming through this weekend, all the kids are desperately praying for a snow day Monday, and the weatherman actually said we should go stock up at the grocery store today. So that's what I'm off to do. :)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
:) I like reading your "highlights of the past days" posts.

and yay for sequins!!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )