Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Concert of Hope and Remembrance...

Sometime back in the summer, the Cancer Association of Anderson decided they would remember my brother, Randy, at the Annual Concert of Hope and Remembrance. My dad is the director of the choir and orchestra. The Concert of Hope and Remembrance is a fund raiser for the Cancer Association of Anderson. They usually remember someone who has passed away due to cancer, but this year they blessed our "family system!" The concert was amazing...the music was outstanding and I got the impression that there was standing room only in the church sanctuary where the concert was held.

There were over 130 people singing in the choir.

My Dad was amazing at the concert! It's like watching a puppet master...he moves his pinky and people make beautiful music! I love this picture of him!

The music choice was Patriotic Music of America, and Music from other Countries too.

My sister, Becky, gave an extremely moving and very appropriate memorial speech about Randy. I wish that I had a recording of it to link here, but she has it posted on her blog. Please check it out at http://gritsandgossip.blogspot.com.

Randy would have been mortified that all this hoopla was made over him...but we enjoyed it and we got to miss him publicly. Great!

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's been a MONDAY...

Well friends, today was a Monday ALL DAY LONG! It started out seemingly innocent and quickly went downhill! Here are a few of the things that happened that made this day seem like four days all rolled into one:
We were given a deadline by which to have grades in our state-wide grading program for mid-term reports. This deadline was AFTER the first deadline, which we passed because our district had to update the program the day before our first deadline, thus disabling the program.

I facilitated MAP testing for all my students, which is a big deal. They did well, but it was stressful.

I am hosting lunch study hall this nine weeks in my classroom. Lunch study hall was supposed to be pretty big today due to a re-test by another teacher, but I was administering MAP tests and couldn't get back to my classroom, so my poor teammate ended up having kids come to his room.

We had a curriculum meeting with our principal and instructional coach during planning, which has been scheduled for several weeks now. I made a stupid mistake and scheduled a parent conference during that meeting time. :(

When the parent arrived for the conference, another parent, who had canceled a meeting on Friday, showed up too, thinking that she would reschedule the meeting on her own, which would've been fine if we had not had the other parent in a meeting at the same time.

The conference lasted a little longer than I thought it would, so when I got outside to walk my student across the highway, she was already walking herself.

This is JUST the beginning. I'm not anywhere close to done with stuff that's important. I'm tired and want to go to bed. BUT, the saving grace is that I have a lot of great students this year and I love my job...and Saluda Trail is the best place to teach in the world. Did I mention that I love my job?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


When we got back to school my principal asked us to complete a survey online. One of the things she asked us was what we wanted to work on to help meet our school goal of increasing rigor and achievement in academics. I said that I felt like I needed more guidance on how to use differentiation in my classroom. I know that differenting means that I will have students working on different concepts at various levels in the same class, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate this into the middle school classroom. I think that part of the reason I'm struggling with this is that in my mind I will give up some control of exactly what's going on in my classroom. Another reason I struggle with this is that I feel like we don't have time to do anything other than give direct instruction and get it all covered.

Do any of my teacher friends have any suggestions? I'd like to try to go ahead and get started with this now since this is the coolest group of kids I've had in a very long time!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I know it sounds like I'm at a race, and sometimes teaching feels like a race to me, but really, the title of this post is meant to indicate that school is well in session! In case it's been forever since you've talked to me, let me express to you once again, that I LOVE my job! Part of the reason for this is that I have taught at great schools. Part of the reason for this love is that I enjoy teaching math. Part of the reason for this is that I really enjoy teaching young adolescents. And part of the reason I love my job is because I have found my calling...what I should be doing with my life to make a difference in the world.

So this year is a pivotal year for me...I have a 6th grader in my house, who also goes to my school. I am enjoying taking him with me each day. I am frequently surprised when I round a corner in the building and run into him or look up from my desk and catch him walking into my room. I seem to forget that he's there, in my building, until I see him and my heart beats a little faster and I smile a little bigger every time he comes into my line of sight! The year that I was in 8th grade, and my mom taught 8th grade was the year that she quit teaching for several years. It seemed like she couldn't handle 8th graders with bad attitudes all day and then come home to an 8th grader with a bad attitude in the evening. So I'm hoping that my son and I don't experience anything like that this year. Overall, though, I think we've gotten off to a great start.

My students are really good kids this year. I teach roughly 100 students every day. By this time last year (and years prior) I had figured out exactly who's home I would be calling on a regular basis. I had already sent out several students with behavior reflection folders by now, and was fighting the urge to tell my husband that we had done our children a terrible disservice by bringing them into a world where they would have to live along side people like my students. I know, it sounds awful, but behavior problems in the classroom can really make a teacher feel beat down and can also cause him or her to lose faith in humanity. Well, this year I have not had to send out ANYONE with behavior reflection folders yet, and have only had to warn and/or isolate 2 boys (only for talking...not being nasty middle schoolers!). As selfish as this may sound, I am excited to think that this may be a year when I get to teach and care about my students, and just enjoy them! This kind of year is one of the things that keep teachers hanging on when we have four or five years of difficulty strung together.

I've had some funny moments, but none of them translate well into stories you can read, so I'll save the funny stories for my next post. Until then, I'm off to spend some time with my family and plan for doing the best job ever!