Sunday, March 07, 2010

So... I took the day off on Tuesday because I wasn't feeling well, and I was exhausted from my trip to New York City. I'm glad that I had the extra time to really focus on my lesson plan that I had to write (and teach) for the county team on Thursday.

I decided to do a writing lesson. I had been wanting to do a lesson on character development, and figured that this is as good a time as any! Jen came over on Wednesday night for Steve to work on her new netbook and to work on her laptop, and while she was here, she helped me tweek my lesson plan and really get it to a place where I was comfortable.

We ended up going to a new restaurant in Holly Springs (an up-scale Italian place) called Il Forno. I had lobster ravioli and while it was good, it over highly overpriced ($20) and didn't come with salad ($9). So... after dinner we came back to our place, worked on my lesson a bit more and then Jen went home.

Thursday morning I was a wreck. I was totally nervous because the team of five was coming at 1:00.  I made each team member a copy of my lesson plan and all the handouts that I was going to use (the email said just one copy was needed). Jen had suggested that I change my recess to before lunch, then come back from lunch and do read aloud so that they'd be calmer before the team arrived. I'm so glad that she suggested this because they showed up at 12:50 (my recess is usually 12:30-1:00).

So they arrived ten minutes early... and Azizi in the office called to let me know (thank God for her because she always gives a "heads up" about stuff like that). I prepared my kids slightly, but since I wasn't supposed to be observed until 1:00, I assumed that they were going to come and talk to me for the first ten minutes and then start the observation at 1:00. I was wrong.

They walked in and I immediately felt like I could throw up. I shook each of their hands and said hello. I asked if they wanted to talk to me before the lesson and the captain (the AP at Enloe HS) said that we could talk after.

So they asked where they should sit, and they decided to spread out around my room. This made me even more nervous! They were in the back, the sides, and the front of my room, and no matter where I looked, I had one of them in my eye-sight.

One of my boys was cleaning out his desk (we thought we had ten more minutes) and so I asked him to put his stuff away and then I got started. I started right around 12:55 or so.

I get about twenty minutes into my lesson and I see them all stand up and start to walk around. I actually felt a bit relieved that they were up and checking out what my kids were doing, but instead, they headed towards the door. I said, "You're not leaving are you?" The captain said, "Yes, it's just a snapshot." So then I said, "But you didn't even get to see the fun part of the lesson!!" They all chuckled and said thank you to me and then they left.

I literally stood at the front of the room in shock. I told my kids to keep working, which they did, but I was in disbelief that I had made this hour long lesson, only for them to see 25 minutes of it. All I could think of was, "SERIOUSLY??" So I checked my email from the captain and sure enough, it says, "We will be in your classroom from 1:00-2:00." Then I started to panic a little. What if they hated me and that's why they left? Then I realized that they never even talked to me!

I kept watching the front doors to see when they were leaving, but they didn't leave, and then 10 more minutes passed and they still hadn't left yet. Where were they??? After about 25 minutes, I saw them leave through the front doors and then I let out a big sigh to my kids. I had finished my lesson and they loved it, but no one was there to see it but me.

I told them to put their writing away and that we were going outside (I needed time to just think and unwind). As I was lining my kids up to go outside, my principal came to my door with a little blue gift bag and handed it to me. She said, "I thought you could use this." Then she asked how it went and I told her that they only stayed for 25 minutes. She said that she felt that was a good sign. She said they usually give an hour so that if they need to see a transition, or need to see more, they have the time blocked for it. (She was on a county team for TOY before).

Then as I was walking my kids out, I said that they didn't talk to me and didn't ask me any questions, and I thought they hated me. She said, she felt it was quite the opposite. She said they came down to the office for a bit and were talking to her. (INTERESTING) She said that she knew three of the five people, and is good friends with the one. She said she's sure it went well.

So then... I go outside, she had given me a Mt. Dew and big bag of Cheetos (very sweet since I was too nervous to eat lunch). I talked to another teacher outside and she said she'd guess that they liked me too if they didn't stay the whole time. She said that you don't need any more than 25 minutes to know if someone has "it" or not. We'll see I guess!

On Friday, I saw our guidance counselor in the hall and she asked how it went and I told her that it was a short visit. She told me that she had an appointment with our principal at 1:15 and when she went to talk to her, she was in the conference room. She said there was a lot of laughing, and it didn't sound like a serious meeting, which she had an appointment so there shouldn't have been a meeting. Then she came back, and my principal was walking the five county people to the door. My GC knew the one guy and said hello and then asked him what he was doing at my school. He told her that he was there to observe one of our teachers (me) and she said, "Oh... Cathy is a great teacher!" He then said, "Yes, we really enjoyed meeting her, and loved her classroom." She said that they were all saying how nice I was and that they really enjoyed their time in my room.

So... the last bit of interesting news about this is that I was reading back through my emails (I sent the captain a thank you email) and noticed that the county teams have until March 26th to finish their observations. The fact that they did mine on March 4th maybe says something too. Who knows.

I won't know anything until April. They county has a reception for the Top 24 (Semi-Finalists) and then they announce the finalists (Top 12) at the reception. Then between April whatever (when they do the reception) to May 15th they do individual interviews with the Top 12 and that's how they determine the Teacher of the Year. They announce the Teacher of the Year at the TOY Banquet in May. Everyone who is a TOY is invited and then they make the big announcement there.

Today I'm going to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D with some of my 4th graders. I'm excited to see it and hope that it's a good movie!! Then I have to write my newsletter for the week. We're taking Ned to Craig's for a bit so he can meet Craig's dog because Craig said he'd be willing to take Ned next weekend when we go to Charlotte for the workshop.

Still no news on the adoption front. It's been three weeks since the home study was done... and we're just waiting on them to tell us to come see them. I hate having to wait on other people...

Until next time...