siempre a las carreras

I made it throught my first FULL year as a bilingual teacher with no injuries and/or lawsuits and I'm still somewhat sane and have a job for next year! Go me!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2005

I got a new car!!!

Brown Pride (my 1995 chevy cavalier that I've had for SEVEN years) has retired! I got a 2005 "sunburst orange" cobalt. It's basically the new cavalier and I'm loving it. I just needed something more reliable b/c it's not that easy to just call in if I'm having car trouble. I didn't trade in my old car b/c it has more sentimental value than monetary value. Why did I get a new car you ask? Let's see...the sun visor on my old car fell off, the rear view mirror snapped off, the engine light and ABS light came on all the time, it sometimes smelled like gas and hesitated to start. Oh yeah, and you could hear me from a mile away b/c the muffler had a hole :) Brown pride still runs and will be at my parents' house. Maybe my mom can learn to drive around the block since she probably woudln't go past 25 miles an hour. I feel like a real grown up now b/c I signed my life away and if I mess up it's my ass.

I just thought I'd share b/c I know you understand that with our salary, it's not that easy to just afford new stuff :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

¿Que hago?

I don't know what to do? My principal is pressuring me about my plans for next year. I can't give him an answer until I go to this job fair on Sat. I was clear about it and told him that I could not make a decision until I knew what other bilingual programs were like, etc. I'm not too keen on staying b/c the vet first grade bilingual teacher is leaving, which would only leave me (there are two bilingual, two monolingual classes). The principal assured me that he would look for a vet bilingual teacher to be my mentor, etc. I'm not sure about that b/c if he doesn't, then I'm screwed b/c then the bilingual planning would fall all on me (like it did on the other bilingual teacher this year). She was the only reason I was considering staying b/c I felt like next year I could be more of a contribution to the planning and share the load. He kept going on and on about all of the resources available at the school and that if I didn't see them this semester it was b/c of the situation that I came into. BUT the reason the other teacher is leaving is b/c she felt like the workload was too much for her (and I agree). So if the vet didn't get to see these resources, how do I know that I'm going to? I'm just going to go to the job fair and ask a lot of questions. If nothing compares to what I have now, then I'll just stay there. I told the vet teacher that I was feeling very selfish b/c I was thinking only about me. What is best for ME. Best pay, best benefits, most structured program, etc. But she told me that I have to think about me b/c I have to go there and face that every day. I have to keep reminding myself of that. I was hired on a temp. contract b/c it was Feb. 1, so I'm not tied down to this district and I'm just starting. Why shouldn't I explore my options, right?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Algo que me hizo sentir bien

I know I ranted for about five pages about the hell I've been living at school the last few weeks, BUT I forgot to say what made me feel soooooo good last Friday and why I won't quit on any of my kids. One of my kids said, "Maestra, yo he aprendido más desde que usted está aquí que con Ms. G___." How cool is that?

Ok, maybe I lied...

I said I would start sharing things on here soon, but it's been a while. The last three weeks were HELL. In case you don't know me, let me give you a little bit of background...

I took over a first grade bilingual class on Feb. 1. The totally incompetent permanent sub had been there since August (why she wasn't replaced sooner, I don't know). I shadowed her for two days and took over on the third day. (I came to find out later that this lady was CRAZY - everybody was tired of her b/c she had no manners and never knew how to do anything. The most frequent comments I got the first two weeks I was there was, "Bless your heart." and "good luck.") The kids were not used to working at all. Most of them weren't reading at grade level in Spanish or English. I came in and dusted off everything, re-arranged the desks, centers, etc. I was trying not to shock the kids so I tried to slowly change the routine. They were used to doing whatever they wanted and I had a few who would cry and get their way. They still cry because I require at least five sentences when they write, but it's not a daily occurrence anymore. I've been living at school looking through the piles of papers and I STILL manage to find things in cabinets, etc. (I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of the "important papers" she gave me put in the kids' files were balled up and she was ironing them out in front of me!). It's been hard, but I've learned A LOT.

So, back to why the last few weeks have been hell. Everyone was getting used to our daily activities, and here comes the chaos. Beginning on April 4, we had two weeks to administer the TPRI, written retelling, and DRA in English and the Tejas LEE in Spanish. These are tests that have to be done individually. So I'm supposed to test each student during the school day and score their tests and put them into the computer system. The only reason why I didn't run out of there was because this very nice resource teacher came in to help me. She didn't have to do that, but I think she felt sorry for me b/c although I've seen these tests before, I've never had to administer them so it takes me longer than some of the other teachers who know exactly how to do it. When I finally finished that, the TAKS arrived and since the older kids were testing, they cancelled specials and computer time, so we were in the room ALL DAY!!! Of course, our routine was totally off during this time.

It's amazing how much kids are creatures of habit and it really stresses them out when you change things on them. This last week was all about going back to our schedule and reviewing our rules. We actually had to practice for about 10 minutes, walking in the halls without talking, pushing, touching the bulletin boards and the walls. I've been more consistent with my conduct system (I have to admit, that is my biggest challenge). I have this quote that I keep on my board that says "You have to give credit for trying." I have to remind myself of that everyday. I'm looking forward to August when I get to start from the beginning instead of jumping in the middle of a storm.

Monday, April 04, 2005

My first post!!!

Finally...since someone kept asking me to start this, I guess I will. Hmmm? What should I talk about first? Let me explain the title... It means "always running" b/c I feel like that's how I am now. I think any teacher can relate to that b/c there is ALWAYS something to do. At least now it's set up. I'll start posting interesting stuff as soon as I have more energy.