Thursday, June 28, 2007

Song: "Fat Lip"- Sum 41
Mood: Exhausted and slightly home-sick :(

So it was bound to happen eventually... I have gotten a slight case of home-sickness. I know it's normal and it'll pass eventually, but it struck me on my way home from my math training... and I started crying... and crying... and crying. And no, I am not PMSing ;)

I had my math training yesterday and today. It was at Stough Elementary and I'm interested to hear how many of you would pronounce the word "Stough." I said it to someone and was told that I was saying it incorrectly and didn't I know the grammar rules? Anyway...

Stough Elementary is quite a drive from Holly Springs! I hit major traffic both days in the morning. I don't know how Steve can handle it. I sat on 55 this morning for more than 45 minutes trying to get to US-1. I HATE traffic that doesn't move!!

The trainings were absolutely excellent!! I got to meet Katie (she'll be teaching 4th grade at Oak Grove this year also, but she's track 4) and I met some other people as well. The presenters were VERY young (like maybe 24 or 25 years-old) but they were awesome. Both have taught Math Trailblazers in their 4th grade classes for a few years and really know the program.

I am so excited to actually have a book and resources there for me to follow! I have a pacing guide and I feel like I can actually do this!!!

Yesterday when I got home I wasn't as excited about it all as I am today. Steve and I drove into Fuquay-Varina to get dinner (we went to our favorite Mexican place and had our less than $20 dinner) and then we went to Wal-Mart (errrr) and then Dairy Queen. It was a great evening, but it went by too fast.

I am excited to have ONE MORE DAY of vacation!! I plan on sleeping in tomorrow. Waking up at 6:15 is just not what I've been used to! I am excited to get into my classroom and work and get it organized. I got an email today from one of the other 4th grade teachers inviting me to lunch on Monday with some of the other 4th grade teachers. I'm excited to meet people!!

I think I am going to REALLY love Oak Grove. I LOVE Wake County Public School System so far. It's amazing that the teachers here REALLY take their jobs seriously. Everyone knows to follow the curriculum and uses the resources provided. It's so weird... Lincoln is like so tiny compared to WCPSS and the demand for teachers is non-existant in Michigan. The people teaching in LCS should be DAMN LUCKY to have jobs (considering how many people are qualified, excellent and looking) and yet... here in NC, there's such a demand and the expectations are SO MUCH MORE!!!

I think LCS needs to revamp everything. Just seeing how organized and disciplined things are here really makes me lose respect for Lincoln. Knowing the people that I was teaching with and the shit they got away with (leaving their rooms unattended... not planning lessons... leaving in the middle of the day to go shopping... showing movies all the time... playing on the computer instead of teaching... running copies whenever they wanted...) is INSANE.

I am so much happier in a district that values and holds the teachers to a very high standard. I guess that could be one reason why all the schools here are rated so highly and the schools in Lincoln just aren't. The teacher quality isn't there... and it's the fault of the administration.

Anyway-- tomorrow we go to take our driver's exams. I am very nervous about not passing and being stuck without a license!!! I want the protect our shores license plate... it's got a beach on it and it's SOOOO cute!!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Music: "Don't Turn Off the Lights"- Enrique Ingesias
Mood: Happy

Today I had my all-day training for new teachers to Wake County. It wasn't required, but suggested that I go. I am glad that I went! I got up early (6:15) and left the house by 7am so that I'd have more than enough time to get to Leesville Rd. High School in north Raleigh.

I was about five minutes into my commute when I hit MAJOR traffic on 55. I was a little nervous because I thought that the majority of the traffic would be going to US-1 (which is where I was going) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were all staying on 55!

Once I was on North US-1 I had smooth driving! No traffic problems at all. I arrived at Leesville Rd. High School at 7:45 and I had until 8:30 before the day began.

I went inside and found the registration table and was given directions to the room where the 4th and 5th grade teachers were being trained. When I got to the room I saw Julie Cuttler (the IRT from Oak Grove)! I was excited to see someone that I knew!

The training was excellent. They went through all the required curriculum for reading, writing, math, social studies and science. They even went through both grades (4th and 5th) so that each grade could see what the grade above/below would be teaching.

After the training for 4th/5th we were given a small break and told to go to the cafeteria for a session on classroom management. I met a girl in the 4th/5th session that was also from Michigan (Traverse City and then Livonia). She also teaches 4th grade and was teaching in Durham last year. Her name was Laura and she and I sat together at the classroom management session.

Even though I've been teaching for a while, I learned a lot from the presenter. She was very funny and explained things according to Harry Wong (educational genius). I loved hearing all the things that I do being reinforced!

After the session we were able to meet the Wake County Teacher of the Year (she's from Fuquay-Varina HS). She gave some words of advice and welcomed us to Wake County. Then we were released for lunch.

Laura and I went to Panera Bread and it was good. We got back at 1:00 for the next session. The second part of the day was rather boring. We were told about growth of the district (which was interesting for the first 30 minutes... but an hour and a half into graphs and demographic data I was checked out). Then we heard about the assessments given by grade and then we learned about staff/professional development. All good stuff.

The best part was the year-round lady. She basically talked about what to expect and how year-round works. I am so glad I picked Oak Grove because they've been doing year-round for 15 years and have it perfected. All the other year-round schools just switched and July 2nd will be their first run.

The superintendent was the last person to come and speak to us. He was very nice and very friendly. It was weird that for such a HUGE district he'd be there to talk to us, but he was very positive and welcoming and professional.

There were only seven people in my morning training... weird to think that there are only seven new hires for the entire county for 4th and 5th grade. Today's session was ONLY for year-round people. Which means that the rest must be traditional calendar. Anyway, the afternoon session had all grades represented and there were only about 45 people. Very small compared to the 2,500 new teachers that they said they hired for 2007-2008. Maybe they didn't know about the training.

I got home and Steve was already here. Not too long after I got home we had a visitor come to our door. It was the "welcome wagon" coming to greet us and welcome us to Holly Springs! It was very nice! She brought all kinds of info and had a lot of handouts for dentist offices, doctors, nail places (that are not in shopping plazas) and hair salons. We were excited and touched that someone actually came to our house to welcome us!!

I'm telling you... the south is wonderful! Everyone has been SO warm and friendly. We couldn't be happier (unless my parents were here)!!

Tomorrow I have another training-- for math. Should be fun. I hate math so much, so maybe this will help me to embrace it!!

Until next time...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Song: "I'll Do For You"- Father MC
Mood: Overwhelmed

Have you ever had a moment where you just feel like there's SO much to do and you'll never get it all done? I feel like I need to freeze time and get stuff done, because there's not enough time in the day for me to do all that I need to do.

This is my summer vacation. From my last day of school until the end of this week... this is it. I'm torn because I have a MILLION things that must get done, but then I'm also disappointed because I want to just relax and enjoy my summer as much as I can. I know it's my own fault... I am the one that chose to go the year-round route, but I feel like I am getting the short-end of the stick when it comes to vacation. I'm sure it'll all pay off when I get three weeks of vacation that are much needed, but right now I just can't get a grip on how much I could use having until August to get all this stuff done!

I got another email from my student. She is absolutely the cutest thing ever. She told me about her weekend and how she went to a bowling birthday party and a sleepover. I am so excited to actually get back into the classroom and this little girl is a HUGE reason for that! I sometimes forget how much I absolutely love teaching. I can't think of anything better to do each day, than to spend it with kids.

Speaking of things to do all day... I have to go to an all-day teacher training tomorrow. It's not manditory, but it was suggested that I at least go for a little bit to see what they say. I am so lucky to have some teaching experience behind me. I'd be freaking out if I didn't have experience to help me.

I am nervous about teaching in a new school. I am not nervous about the kids, but I am nervous about the curriculum, the parents, the staff and expectations. I feel like I don't know what to expect. I guess I'll figure it out as I go, but I am a planner by nature, and I like to have a firm grip on things.

Steve said that he'd come in next week and help me set up my classroom. I am excited to have him there to help. When I was there last week I was asked if I had anyone to help and I said no. It was sad to think about doing all the set-up without any help or friends. Last year, Marcia Cannon came in to help me and in years prior, I've had my mom and other friends there to help.

Which leads me to another issue... no friends. I usually make friends easily and I hope once school starts I can make some new friends. Right now I feel sad because I don't know anyone here. I tried to contact the JC of Raleigh and got nothing back from the girl. Then I went online to contact the person from the Alumnae Club of Raleigh and still haven't heard anything. FRUSTRATING!!!!

Well... I have a million classroom books to categorize and put into my computer, so I am going to go. I did find some of my teaching stuff that I'll need for next week, so that's a good thing. I think I am going to try and get my social studies curriculum planned. We'll see... tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday I have trainings. Maybe Friday and this weekend I'll get the rest of these books done and I can get the social studies curriculum mapped out.

Heavy sigh...
Until next time,