Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy and Sad

About a month ago, I got an invitation to go to Lansing Dec 8-9 for the Network of Michigan Educators banquet and Innovative Schools Conference.

It was really awesome to be in a room of NBCTs and other exemplary teachers since I don't always feel like my gifts are being appreciated where I am. The conference was awesome and I have a million ideas spinning in my head of things I want to do and grants I would like to secure.

Unfortunately I got home yesterday afternoon to find my 10 year old pooch,  Captain Morgan (yes that is really his name) very ill and not well. We had to make the decision to put him down. I did not plan on being out from school again today but with amazing colleagues and a very understanding principal, we made it happen.

I have never cried so much and so hard. My poor buddy was miserable this morning. Except for his momma's owner we have been the only family he has known since he was 7 weeks old. He was a best friend, a protector and a constant in our lives.

I have never put down a dog before. The animal hospital we took him to did an amazing job making him comfortable so he could go in peace. I was the last thing he saw and felt and I am grateful he passed on to a place where nothing can hurt him anymore.

There is an ache in my heart and Christmas will be so hard without him. You never really think about how much your pet is like your child until this. I can only be comforted in knowing we gave him a good life and he was happy here.

RIP MoMo August 2004 - December 10, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Saturday

What do you think of when you think of Saturday?

Relaxation? Doing nothing? Spending time with the small people who may share your house with you? 

I'm sure if I asked you what you think of when you think of Sunday, your list would mirror mine: laundry, house keeping you haven't had time to take care of all week, lesson planning, grading, etc etc. 

But Saturday is supposed to be for relaxing. Right?

Not so when you're a graduate student in an online cohort. All of our big papers are due on Saturdays. I often spend the vast majority of Saturday working on the paper because I just don't have enough hours in the day during the week to do much with them on top of the smaller assignments we have spread throughout the week and trying to acknowledge the no-so-small-anymore people who live with me. (At this point, I just pray my children understand I'm doing this never-ending school thing to benefit their future as well as my own.) 

This is how my Saturday night is looking....
I may weigh 300 lbs by the time this degree is over -- see all that naughty food on my desk??

Instead of being out partying, spending time with friends or family, this is what I am doing. Exciting, right? *wink*

Alas, the end IS in sight. When I hit the "submit" button tonight, I will be D-O-N-E until January 4 when my new winter course begins. An entire month off from doing double duty. I am ever so grateful because I kind of miss spending real time with my family! 

Sorry my blog is nothing uber exciting these days...between things at school (that I am not going to go into publicly), working so hard on this course (if all goes well, I will finish the course with 100%) and trying to balance my family obligations, I am wiped.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What a week!

It's not even over but it's been a week for the record books. Wow.

Sub shortages really stink. I'm just gonna put that out there. Getting 4-6 children from another class because there is no sub stinks even more.

I am SO drained. Whew. One more day. I can do this! :)

My graduate classes end Sunday as well. THANK YOU LORD for small things in life...because I don't know if I could keep going after this week. It's been a long one.

As I was moving a few things around and cleaning up in my classroom today before going home, I was sorting the massive pile I need to grade and came across one friend's writing. She is a resource student and often misses a good part of writing instruction so she doesn't do our Paragraph of the Week with us and writes a story or something else instead. She is a really slow processor and her language skills are lacking big-time so getting her to write voluntarily is always a plus.

Then I noticed what she wrote.
"Mrs. Wood is the beautiful woman in the classroom. She is funny too. She gives me a snack." 

What a sweetie!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoyed the day surrounded by friends and family. We keep it pretty low key here, just hubby, me and the three girls. I'm fine with that for a variety of reasons I won't go into. :) We were happy and healthy and that's all that matters.

Earlier this week, The Husband moved himself out of our home office area. He moved his computer desk into the TV room (I suspect so he can watch TV and be on the computer at the same time.) At any rate, that means the entire office is now mine. Yay!

I spent some time today cleaning and organizing the extra space I have. Now all of my Thirty-One goodness is in my office and not scattered elsewhere because there was no room. I need to buy myself a small table for my small sewing machine and life will be golden (not that I really sew...but I could if I wanted to and that's what counts, right?). 

While I was reorganizing my bookshelves, I came across a large envelope that said had the name of my Former School and the year 2006-2007 on it. That was my first year of teaching. Curiously, I opened it and found the memory book my kiddos had made me that year. I was a long-term sub so I knew I wasn't going to be back at my school the next year, and really didn't even have a job anymore once school was out that year. So we made memory books for all of the staff, down to the lunch ladies and custodian (because our school was small so all of the kids knew all of the teachers).

Those kids were rough -- by far the toughest first year I could imagine. But man did I learn a lot from them! I would never, in a million years, change that first year for anything. Because of what I taught them but mostly because of what they taught me. I started tearing up reading their little notes. They are all (hopefully) graduated from high school and in college by now...I think about them a lot. I guess that's normal when it's your first class. Here are a few of their notes:

 This kiddo was a particular pickle for a long time. He had a rough home life and it took him a LOT of time to trust people. A few years ago, he actually found me on FaceBook and sent me a message. It said a lot that he wrote this -- it took me until about March to finally break through to him (I started with them the Monday after Thanksgiving). It was worth it.

 Even though you aren't supposed to have favorites...we all do. This one was one of mine. I later had his sister and his brother.  His writing isn't the best but it says "I will always remember you because of how you came into our class and still stuck it out even thou we wasn't the best kids". Cue.The.Tears.

Talk about tear-worthy...."I will remember you when you saved us from not learning". This is a chld who I literally had to claw crayons out of her hands (5th grader) the first month I was there because that is what their previous teacher had allowed them to do. Basically as long as the kids weren't being naughty, the previous teacher let them do whatever they wanted. So yeah....I guess I really did save them.


I save stuff like this for a reason....because it reminds me. Reminds me of where I started and how tough it was (and believe me, it was TOUGH -- I wanted to give up two weeks in until all of the teachers told me "no, no, honey you have no idea how good you are doing, they actually LISTEN to you") but it also reminds me of why I became a teacher and why I stay in the city. It isn't always easy to be a teacher where I am. It's much better the last few years since our superintendent changed but it's a tough job with tough kids. This reminds me why I wanted to become a teacher. The kids need me....but more importantly, I need them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holy Snow!

Would you believe me if I told you that today, November 18th, we had a snow day?

We did. A colossal one! We've had somewhere in the vicinity of 12-15" of snow since  yesterday. It's only November. I'm scared of what is to come, seriously!

Instead of really getting anything accomplished today (seriously, WHERE did my day go?), I slept in after three phone calls letting us know things were shut down (one from the district we live in telling me The Littles don't have school, one from my district saying I don't have school and one from The Oldest's college saying she doesn't have school -- pretty sure the Mr. wasn't very impressed with all those calls in the 5 o'clock hour), waited on the U-verse guy to come install my internet upgrade, took The Oldest out in this yuck to go to work and while I was out, decided to get my nails done, something I haven't done in ages. Not since early in the summer for sure. I was well overdue.

I didn't get anything done for the day job...and got a little done for grad school. Conferences were supposed to be tonight so those will have to be rescheduled for Thursday. It just keeps coming down out there. It seriously worries me for the rest of the winter since it's not even winter yet!

The good news is, my new little car drove great in the snow. I'm really glad we found me a small, comfortable car that is clean, runs well, has nothing wrong with it (aside from a weird whir sound when the fan is on) and drives well in the snow. Can't beat it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What weekend?!

Please tell me I am wrong and it's really only Saturday night....how did it get to be 9:30 on Sunday night already? Wow.

I promised myself when school started there would be no Sunday Night Blues for me this year and thus far, I have kept that promise. I don't have them now either...I probably should but I don't. I'm just truly floored that the weekend is over already.

It was VERY busy and I did not get everything on my list done which may explain why I feel like time zoomed by. I gotta slow down a bit. I had two things on my schedule this weekend that I really should have politely declined doing...but I committed to them long ago and I don't like to back out of stuff. I probably needed and deserved the mental break those two things brought me (a mental break from grad school and teaching, I mean), but it sure cut into the time I had to do other things!

I'm sad that I didn't have time to go through the kiddos' math projects. I had high hopes that I would get through them all (all 66 of them!) but I didn't do anything except take the basket out of the car and bring it up to my office. Oh well. They are gonna have to wait. I had lesson planning, graduate school and a big event that took up most of my day yesterday and a smaller one that took up a portion of today that prevented me from getting to them. If my little guys ask me about it, I'll be honest with them: I was just plumb overbooked this weekend. I'd love to promise to have them all done by tomorrow afternoon....but I don't think I can promise that either because we're finishing up conferences this week and I have to run around The Husband and The Oldest until one of us gets to the SOS to legalize my car.

If you're reading this...say a little prayer for my sanity this week if you don't mind. I'll make it and be fine but I am VERY ready for things to slow down in my life and have some down time. Only 7 (school) days until Thanksgiving break and man do I need it!

Friday, November 14, 2014

{Five for Friday}

http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.com/2014/11/five-for-friday-linky-party-november.html
 I don't always manage to link up for these (let alone on time!) but here I am :)

{1}
Awhile ago, a gal I used to teach with asked me to help her do a Thirty-One fundraiser to help the mission efforts of her and her husband in Ecuador. Sadly, the fundraiser didn't go as well as it should have but I made my own donation to help her out and she was so thankful. ♥

{2} 
Every week, my students do a Paragraph of the Week courtesy of Teaching in Room 6. This week's prompt what "What do you think it will be like if kids were in charge of the world?" I got the usual answers: no homework, we wouldn't have to go to school, etc. One very astute young friend of mine wrote, "All of the houses would be messy because kids are so lazy". Bahahaha.

{3}
Parent Conferences -- I have a love/hate relationship with them. It's always great to share with parents how their children are doing and get to see the kiddos in a slightly different context than the normal school day. The conferences make for some l-o-n-g days though. We had our first night last night and I had all but two kiddos represented. One of the girls told me at the end of the day yesterday, "Mrs. Wood, you get to see my baby!" and I said, "S, you are nine years old, I am very sure you don't have a baby." She giggled. I may have too. ;)

{4}
My 13 year old car decided to have a fit and die on me this week. Not nice! First the heat went out which The Husband fixed. Then the exhaust went crazy. It would cost way more than it's worth to fix all of that for such an old car so we had to go car hunting. Normally I'd enjoy it but I have so many things going on! Alas, this fabulous little car will come home with me tomorrow. 
{5}
My kiddos turned in their first choice board projects today! I am so excited to go through them all and see the final products up close. (I will post some pictures of them once I find the time to actually go through them -- lots on the docket for this weekend!) The kiddos worked so hard and were very proud of themselves. :)