Catching up

I’ve been really giving this class my best and I haven’t blogged like I wanted to. It’s funny how just a few minute changes make teaching so much different.

wpid-20151002_111731.jpgOne of my babies thought they’d bribe me by putting my name in their noun search. Well, it worked. Here’s a cookie! I love this group.

We have a SUPER transient population. I knew this going in, but I didn’t realize just how much. I’ve already had 7 new kids come in post Day 1. I’ve already had 3 kids move and I have 4 more about to leave in the next few weeks. I had a student come in on 9/15 and withdraw 9/28. Since we had 2 work days that means she was only in my class for 7 days! This is pretty interesting.

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My absolute favorite student (yes, I have a favorite student and I tell him all the time) is about to leave due to immigration issues. The day he found out he was on his way to school. He literally hugged me and cried for most of the morning. I will also say I cried, too. He’s a fantastic ESOL kid. He’s making strides. He’s putting in effort and his family is very supportive. Needless to say whenever he wants to laugh or wants to talk to me I stop what I’m doing and listen.

I even asked his mom if I could adopt him so he could stay.

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He knew very little if any English when he got to room D44. Now he can speak in some very well thought out sentences. This page right here is the page we were working on when he said “Mr.Whitaker, that says red”. #Ialmostfainted

I don’t need to say how much I adore my team. This is a special group of professionals. We all understand our craft differently, but we all want the exact same thing…longer Summers and more money!  Oh and we want to produce the best students MCS has ever seen, too. I need to do a collaborative lesson with Ms. Mills’ class and Ms. Butler’s class. Since Whitaker’s book worms have been in just about everyone else’s room it’s only fair to corrupt these classes as well. See, you soon Mills and Butler!

Not sure why, but I have 4 Kennesaw State University students observing me. Talk about a fun adventure. They’re getting a full dose of what it’s like and I think they’re going to do great.  I have the best job!

I’m going to be competing in two lifting comps in the next 60 days. I’m very amped. Two  lifts. One I’m going to crush and one is going to be there to keep me humble. Thanks to my coaches I think I have a great chance of making a run at doing this for a while. I’ve also returned to running to keep my cardio strong. I had given up on running when I became a CrossFitter. Now, I’m looking at balancing the two. I’ve been coaching at yet another box. I think the only thing that would seriously make me consider giving up teaching is coaching. I love these athletes. I’m super humble that Miles, Jake and Cathy trust me with their people. Top that with all that I get from them and it’s like awesome wrapped in bacon sprinkled with a hefty dose of Heck yeah!

You already know that I’ve been meal prepping. Not going to give that up for the world. My little dinner party has been a super success. So many great stories and so much great food. Still seeing the results of my Whole130. It’s been very, very easy to maintain my overall fitness now that I’m eating pretty normal. Let’s see how it translates into my comps and results moving into 2016.

More pictures soon.

Teacher Philosopher

wpid-20141022_111637.jpgThe 2nd part of this school year has been outstanding. I put my focus back on what really needs to happen/change and the other stuff is just going to do what it does. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t give every student a real chance to better him/herself. And I’d feel even worse if I continued to put a great deal of my time into trying to get behaviors and attitudes on par at the expense of those who really do want to learn.

That being said, I have found myself thinking about my profession more.

Here are a couple of things I’ve noticed this year

  • Student’s always seem to transition to my school on Friday mid morning and Monday morning.
  • There aren’t many families (3+ students) that at least one isn’t in the SST process.
  • Just about every student we’ve received after Day 1 has had some kind of glaring deficiency.
  • Not having a school wide discipline plan is a very tough thing.
  • If it weren’t for my team mates I’d be sunk like a rock.
  • Homework still has to be the most overread, under appreciated, dusty tool in the tool box. Project, baby!
  • Students do want Love and Respect even though they don’t even understand these concepts. It’s hard wired into their being.
  • No matter the seniority every teacher needs a rope thrown to them every now and then.
  • People WHISPER what they think they want, but the SHOUT what they’re willing to give up time and resources for  through their actions.
  • No one in the school is our enemy. There is not Us vs.Them. We’re all on a fast moving train. It’s up to US to make it a luxury liner or a speeding train to disaster.
  • Technology is overrated. Very useful, but it’s not everything we make it out to be.

I enjoy teaching. There are a lot of “but’s” to that statement. However, I feel very comfortable that I’m in the right field. I’m making a difference and as I’ll share in my next post It’s my Lifestyle career.

I may have fixed a HUGE problem in my classroom

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If you know me or follow my blog you know I'm not very organized. I want to be. However, BEING has alluded me to years. Last year I was buried in paper work. I honestly can't say I know what happened to it all, but I can tell you my inner tree hugger is silently crying. 

In order to save a tree or two and to keep my sanity I did something different this year. To my surprise so far it's been a 10 bow tie idea! I have the students keep the "Red Number Journal" for all class work and the "Blue Number Journal" for all their homework assignments that require them to write or what not.

  • I'm not sure, but I certainly feel I've used a lot less paper. 
  • I was able to check homework today in less than 3 minutes where as before I'd have to hunt down papers and the such. 
  • The kids have a great note system whenever we go back over their journals and put a sticky for key info. 
  • The kids can get to work quickly in the morning. No searching for paper or writing sheets. Just go to the next empty page, date and start. 
  • Whenever I have parent conferences I know I can quickly put my hands on ALL the kids class and homework in less than a minute. 
  • I feel as if the class moves better and flows easily. Translation…less stress. 

 

 Most teachers waste these composition books. During pre-planning I sent my helpers to find as many partially used comp books as they could. We neatly tore out the used pages and slapped a sticker over the name. I'm pretty sure I have almost 50+ recycled journals ready for duty. 

Not sure where I got this idea. I don't think it qualifies as a true interactive notebook,but I will give Pinterest credit either way. The teachers on my hall used to have 3 journals. 1 for Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science. That made me even crazier, cause I know most of the students didn't use them fully. Plus the kids didn't have a good place in my room to put their stuff so instant insanity. This year, thankfully I have a much better system and I see it working. 

One day I will report that I've found a great way to do my lessons in advance. Yeah, right. Anyone have any good suggestions on what to do with lesson planning so not to have to do them Sunday night? 

Tomorrow I must talk about what I did to defeat the ugly "Mr. Whitaker can I sharpen my pencil" monster. 

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