Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Week in Review

Last week after my rather frustrated blog post, I put Russ in charge of the budget. I must admit that it's hard for me to not feel in control, but I snapped this picture of Russ while he was budgeting. Does he look frustrated? Nope. Because he doesn't let things like the budget stress him out. What an incredible husband.

My students and I made our own Flat Stanleys. I think some turned out better than others, but they are all cute. (Mine is the one on the top far left - I am just as into these little art projects as my students are!) I actually had a really good teacher week. I think I've only had 2 of these in the entire year. That might sound sad, but it's actually not. It mostly just means that the students understood the concepts I taught or that my lessons went really well. I often have good teaching DAYS, but good teaching WEEKS are harder to come by.

I started feeling sick on Thursday and have gotten steadily worse. These two items have been my CONSTANT companions:

Since I don't do so well just recovering and relaxing, while I was sick this weekend I made my students' valentines! They turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself. Thanks for the idea mom!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I decided we are just going to throw our budget out the window. Then we'll be happier and be able to spend money without feeling guilty...right?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Hard to Think Up Titles

Let me back up from before my Christmas Day post to show off my Christmas decorations. We just have a small apartment in Maeser Hall, but I think the decorating turned out to be pretty cute!

Right before Christmas Break, my school had a sing-along where each grade sang a song. Well, the first grade teachers also decided to sing "12 Days of Christmas" only with modified words so it was things like "On the 5th day of Christmas my students gave to me...5 more months of school! 4 broken pencils, 3 untied shoes, 2 bathroom breaks, and a nasty case of the swine flu". It was great fun and our students were out of their minds with excitement that we would actually go up there and sing in front of the school.

My mom and dad came to visit in December for Garrett's commissioning into the Air Force and were both able to come to my classroom. Dad told the students his dragon stories (I'd never seen them be so attentive for so long) and mom, of course, was a great help. During their visit we also went as a family to see Jon Schmidt. I was a little nervous that it would be a boring piano concert, but it was really entertaining and I'm very glad we went. Russ actually wasn't able to come though because it was checkouts here in Heritage Halls. Although Russ loves his job, he can have a pretty inconvenient schedule sometimes.

Now we can fast forward back to Arizona. :) I didn't take nearly the amount of pictures I should have. But we had a lot of fun. We went shooting in the desert with Mike and his kids, we went to see "Invictus" and "Sherlock Holmes" - both good, by the way, we went out to dinner with the family and Russ's best friend from childhood and his wife (it is strange to me that some people grow up in the same city their ENTIRE life! They had so much to catch up on!!!). The highlight, I thought, was an evening when just the adults got together and had food, talked, and played games. It was a lot of fun.

(Can't you tell which ones are Russ's siblings?)

Unfortunately, this is the only picture we took of us. I look like Gollum!

After Arizona we headed up to Spokane, Washington for Garrett's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, but an interesting visit. My grandparents live on a hill and some days it was so icy on the road down that we were stranded. My grandpa was also in the hospital, so we spent time visiting him also. Garrett and Krystal are a very cute couple and we are just sad that we won't get to see them much. They are in Spokane for the next 2 months until they head off to flight school. They'll have an adventure ahead of them - that's for sure!

This is my absolute favorite picture. Tyler did a good job, but we know his time will come and then we'll ALL be married!

Our whole family at the reception

We came back the day before school started for me and work started again for Russ. It was a really nice break, but settling back into a routine was easier than I thought it would be. Since we got home Russ has been studying hard for the GMAT (he takes the test in about 3 weeks) and carrying on in his normal Hall Adviser duties. This past week he taught the RA class on earthquake training. He has also been doing a lot of service for the ward - cleaning the church on Saturdays and helping a family in our ward a couple times a week. He's always so good about giving service. It's one of my favorite qualities.

The school year for me is just half over (I think we've had 92 / 180 days). I just have to look back at this whole internship and laugh. It's been such an experiment! I can't tell you how many times I've completely changed things in my classroom and how I teach things. I just really don't think college prepares you for what it is REALLY like. The girls in my cohort who student taught and graduated in December are starting to look for teaching jobs now and one who got a job said that she learned more in her first week teaching than in her entire student teaching. I would agree with that. When you student teach you walk into an established classroom and you can learn a lot, but you don't really know how much work and preparation went into the routines you see.

I am lucky enough to have two other interns at my school from whom I get TONS of ideas. In fact, just this past week we had a teacher work day and I spent the day totally changing how I do centers, making portfolios for each student, and completely re-vamping my writer's workshop. My poor students! haha

Some days are SO HARD in teaching, but with all the new things I am doing now, I feel like I owe it to myself to teach at least one more year and see just how much smoothly things go. Now I know what I like and don't like and I just know a BILLION things I didn't know when I first started. There really isn't much of a way to plan your first year teaching. You just have to go into it and stumble around a little and experiment a lot.

But despite how much I change things up, all of my students are progressing in reading and spelling and their behavior is much better now AND at my parent teacher conferences this past week a few parents told me that their kids just LOVE me and that I'm their favorite teacher and they wish I could be their teacher every year. That makes all the hard work worth it.