Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Week I Fell In Love!

Every year I meet new children that touch my heart.  I have my favorite classes and my favorite students from over the years, but I fall in love with every student every year.  This year is no exception!  I have only had my new babies for two days, but I am so in love!  So far I have eleven little smiling faces in my class and I haven't had any bad behaviors yet!  I have had to redirect some behaviors such as running, talking about farts and poop, calling people "Bruh", and talking during rest time, but that is to be expected when working with four year olds.  It amazes me how deep the human heart is.  It seems to have a limitless capacity to hold love.  I've had some years where I thought my heart would burst with joy and love, but it just keeps expanding. I mentioned that I only have eleven students, and that's what makes me nervous.  My program requires me to have twenty students and therefore, I know that nine more kiddos with be joining me.  I am fearful that the new kids will be my problem children.  Last year I had a class FULL of difficult behaviors, and I feel like this year is starting off too good to be true!  Let's hope that God is rewarding me for making it through such a tough year.

Another AMAZING thing happened to me this year.  I got a new assistant!!!!  My assistant has been working with me for about two weeks, but she has brought so much "Joy" into my job!  I wish I could mention her name, but I haven't asked her permission, so I'll just say she is very Joy-ful.  She has gone above and beyond all of my expectations so far.  She is young, smart, funny, and very hard working.  I enjoy talking to her, joking around, and laughing throughout the day.  The students seem to like her so far as well.  She has no problem redirecting behaviors, and following through with consequences she sets.  Sometimes I have to remind her that our children are only four years old, and have never been to school before, but I think she'll be just fine!

I am super excited about this school year.  I have so many ideas and I feel SO good!  I haven't felt like this in a long time.  I actually wake up looking forward to going to work.  I went to a workshop the first week back about writers workshop for pre-k.  It was so eye opening and I cannot wait to begin the program in my class.  Last year I was so miserable that I didn't do awesome things...and I am a pretty awesome person, so that was a little out of character for me!  This year my team is planning new and exciting field trips, making plans for parent involvement, getting special guests into our classrooms, and having a spectacular year!

I'd like to end this post with some funny things I've heard so far, from kids and adults.

Student: I'm different
Me: You are?
Students: Yes, I'm from the future.

Me: I have some at my house.
Student: You have a house?
Me: Yes.
Student: I didn't know teachers had houses.
Me: Where did you think we lived?
Student:.....I don't know

Student: Hey Bruh! What's up?
My assistant: His name is not Bruh.

Student high fives me, puts up to fingers and says "Deuces!"

Insurance agent: So, it says here that you signed up in Oh-Ten. (He said this twice...I laughed out loud both times)

Fire Safety answering machine: Thank you for calling and have a fire safe day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A New School Year and A Fresh Start: Mrs. Hainey's Class Is A Drama Free Zone

I didn't realize how long it had been since I last updated this blog!  It was a tough year, and I did a lot of venting in my posts, but this year I am determined to do things differently!  I had such a difficult year that I decided I don't really like teaching preschool.  I don't know whether it was the group of kids I had, the staff I worked with, the program itself, or the stress going on in my personal life that make me dislike teaching that grade level.  I'm sure it was a combination of all of them.  Regardless of the reason, I asked my principal to transfer to me back to kindergarten.  I love teaching kindergarten so much, and I know I was good at it.  As luck would have it, a kindergarten position opened up, but my principal decided to interview for the position anyways.  She told me that she would keep the people she interviewed in mind for the preschool position and she'd let me know.  I know she's already hired someone, and she hasn't gotten back to me yet.  This leads me to believe that I will be stuck in pre-k again.  At  first I was upset about this, but then I realized a few things.  First, I don't know for sure where she's going to place me because she simply hasn't told me.  It seems likely that I'll be in pre-k, but I'll just have to wait and see.  Second, I became a teacher because I love children and want to make a difference in there lives.  I cannot make a positive impact on them if I am angry about having to teach them.  Third, if I don't like teaching pre-k, I can always look for another position next year.  I need to do my best and fix the things that I did wrong last year in order to see if I like that grade level or not.  Last year was such a disaster that I really shouldn't judge whether I like it or not according to my last experience. 

I've never been a very negative person.  I try to stay out of drama, and find the good in a situation.  Last year I seemed to be immersed in the drama, sometimes creating it myself.  I also found myself viewing things with a negative attitude before I gave them a chance.  This year I am going to try to get back to my positive self.  I am going to make a bracelet that reminds me to be patient and kind.  I am going to try to have a yell free classroom, and I am going to try not to complain as much.  Last year I did so much complaining that my co-workers and friends and probably sick of me!

I have already started planning for next year.  I have submitted a donors choose project that will be useful in either kindergarten or preschool.  I haven't gotten many donations, but I'm hoping that as the school year approaches I will get more help.  I am asking for more audio books and some personal cd players.  My children will benefit from these items because they will be able to listen to books on their own levels and find a quiet comfortable spot to listen and read.  I am really excited about this project!

One bit of possible good news is that my very good friend RP interviewed for a position at my school.  I am really hoping she gets the position.  She and I went through undergrad together, student taught together, supported each other during our first job interviews, and even started grad school together.  She is a brilliant woman who ALWAYS finds the sparkle of good in a bad situation.  I need someone like her around to help me stay on track and focus on my goals.  It will be great to have RP and MP at school to share laughter, frustration, and success with.

This coming school year is going to be different. I don't know if it will be better, or worse, but I will do my best and I will remain positive.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Mystery of the Missing Duck Eggs

Today I was a complete and total jerk.  The day started off just fine.  I had a substitute assistant and a couple of my difficult students were out today.  I've been talking to my students about the duck eggs I am expecting to arrive in our classroom.  I've had to tell them that they are never allowed to touch the incubator and that they must stay quiet in our classroom so that we don't scare the eggs.  I might have told them that the ducks won't come out if we're too loud.  So I expected my eggs to be delivered either today, or tomorrow and I  was getting pretty excited.  It got to be about 12:00 and I hadn't received the eggs yet.  I decided to check the donors choose website to see if there was a tracking number.  When I clicked on the link to the project there was in fact a tracking number and the delivery date was the 6th!  Today is the 7th and so I was very upset that nobody had informed me of the egg arrival.  I called my best JPT friend and asked her to come to my room so that I could go retrieve my eggs.  I marched myself down to the office and demanded my eggs, but nobody knew anything about them.  We searched high and low for those silly eggs but could not find them.  Eventually we did an all call asking people to check their rooms for my box of eggs.  At this point I was upset, but I wasn't sure who I should be upset with!  I was pretty sure that nothing malicious was done, but I still couldn't figure out who would take a box of eggs.  The poor woman who signed for my package felt so bad!

After school was let out my dear friend MP helped me search for the eggs.  I was so upset!  The eggs were very expensive and I knew that if I didn't get them incubated immediately they probably would not develop. We looked for about half an hour before MP said " Are you sure they were delivered?"  And I said "Yes!  And they were signed for at 11:42 yesterday morning!"  MP stopped for a second and said "Let's look at the tracking one more time."  I said "Fine, but I've already looked twice!" 

We went to my room and looked at the tracking number and realized that my order was broken into two parts.  One part was the incubator and one was the eggs.  I did in fact receive the incubator, but the eggs had not even shipped yet!  I felt like a real fact, I still feel like a jerk.  I will be apologizing to these poor people for weeks.  I may have to name my ducklings after them.

The good news is that I will get the eggs tomorrow.  Hopefully I will be forgiven and one day hold my head up high again!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sometimes I Get Mad

When I first started this blog it was a cold snowy day in South Carolina.  There were a few inches of snow on the ground and of course schools were closed!  I wanted to document my adventures as a new teacher and share my experiences with my friends and family.  Last year was an awesome year!  I don't think I could have asked for a better first year of teaching.  This year has been a bit different.  I have had a lot more obstacles to overcome and have felt discouraged many times.  I haven't blogged much this year because we don't do the awesome activities we did last year.  My kids are younger and we tend to do the same activities over and over.  Sometimes I get bored with the routine!  The purpose if this entry is to express some of my frustrations.  Even though this year has been full of frustrations, yesterday's seemed to hit me harder than others.

It really bothers me when the needs of students do not come first.  Some people come to work for the paycheck and never really stop and think about what's best for the children.  Working with children is hard work.  It really doesn't matter if you are a teacher, an assistant, a therapist, or a lunch lady.  Everyone who works with should have an understanding that the kids come first.  Since this is a public blog I cannot go into exact details about what happened yesterday.  I am going to do my best to tell my story without mentioning names or positions.

When I got to work yesterday I was in a pleasant mood.  I picked my kids up from the cafeteria at 7:30 and walked them to class.  A co-worker brought the rest of my class to my room at 8:00 and then informed me that she had to leave my room to do something else.  Her job at 8:00 is to help my kids get unpacked and settled so that I can begin instruction.  Even though what she had to do was valid, I was upset because it seems like there is ALWAYS some reason why she can't interact with the kids and do her job.  Not only does that make my job harder, it also makes the day harder for the kids.  My students are only four years old and they need constant supervision.  If I am the only one supervising and interacting with them, they tend to get into trouble.  A good example of this happened yesterday.  While I was administering our district mid-year math assessment this co-worker was supposed to monitor students while they working in centers.  Instead of interacting with them and walking around the room, she stood in one spot with her back to the kids and had students writing their names.  My students took advantage of the situation and dumped all my toys all over the room!  They got in big trouble and it took a long time to clean up!

Another thing that really makes me mad is when students do not get the services they need.  This also happened yesterday.  I probably didn't handle the situation as professionally as I should have, but I was very angry.  As some people here say, my NY attitude came out.  One of my students needed to be screened for services but the person who provides the screening refused to come pick him up from my classroom.  Keep in mind that I have twenty students and she has one.  Also keep in mind that I am not ever supposed to be alone with all twenty students (although it happens) and neither is my assistant.  Without going into the ugly details I can say that the principal had to get involved, I had to clear up some misleading information that was given to the principal about my part in this conflict, and I ended up having to walk the child to the screening.  I was not told to walk him by the principal, I  had to do it because my student needed the screening and the screener is a bully.  Yes, many teachers and school staff are bullies.  This probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but this happens all the time and the children aren't getting the services they need because teachers are not always available to walk their students to their needed appointments.

To top it all off I had about five students step in dog poop during recess.  This wouldn't have been such a big deal if they had told me about, but they didn't.  When we came inside and layed down I smelled poop.  I couldn't figure out where the smell was coming from, so I asked my kids if they had to use the bathroom, or if someone had an accident.  After a few minutes student after student let me know that they had stepped in poop.  So, not only was there poop on their shoes, it was also on their clothes, on their mats, and in my carpet.  It was great fun cleaning that all up and calling parents to get changes of clothes.

This has nothing to do with school, but I had an appointment after work.  When I go to the office there was a notice on the door that they had relocated!  Don't you think they would have told me that when I called to make the appointment!? I managed to laugh about it instead of adding to my frustration from the day, but geez! What a day!

I promise my next blog will not be a venting session.  In fact, it will probably be about my duck eggs or my new playground equipment!  Our eggs are due to be delivered in early February and most of our playground equipment came yesterday!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

...Is Something Burning?

Well, I realize that I have not been keeping up with this blog regularly but that's because I really haven't had anything interesting to write about!  My days are very routine which makes my day fairly uninteresting.  Everyday small interesting things happen, and I believe I finally have enough to fill up a post!

First of all, my year is not going well.  My second year of teaching has been far more difficult than my first year.  Due to circumstances beyond my control my job has become very stressful.  I have twenty very busy four year olds in my class who really need constant attention.  Without going into detail I can say that I do not have the help I need to keep my classroom running smoothly.  Since this post is open for anyone to read that is all I can say about that matter.  I can also say that teaching pre-k is not joke.  Many people think that my students play all day, but that is absolutely not true.  There is a lot of teaching going on during the day, even during "work time".  My lesson plans may be written for me, but implementing those lessons is a lot of work!  There is a lot of preparation that needs to be done, but no planning time!  That's right folks!  I have no lunch break, and no planning period!  It's no wonder I am stressed!  That is all I'm going to vent about for today. 

Even though my students drive me crazy, they also make me smile and laugh.  The other day two of my students invited me into their "restaurant" for some strawberry soup.  Well that soup sounded so delicious that I couldn't refuse the invitation!  I sat down at the table and my order was taken.  KS promptly brought me a bowl of his famous strawberry soup.  After requesting a spoon I began eating my soup.  After about my third taste of soup KS informed me that the soup had germs in it.  Not only were they germs, they were worm germs!  Can you believe that boy fed me worm-germ soup!?  I quickly spit out my soup and asked for my money back!  He then informed me that there was a no refund policy!  He did offer to replace my worm-germ soup with a turkey sandwich.  After he assured me that the sandwich had no worm germs, I agreed to eat the sandwich.  After several bites he admitted that the sandwich also had worm germs!  I told him that he was going to have to clean up his restaurant or else I'd have to report him to the health department!

My dear sweet MB is the reason I have five more gray hairs on my head!  Even though he drives me nuts, he is absolutely my favorite student.  He throws tantrums, tells me how angry he is at me, kicks, hits, and pushes people, (he has not bitten in weeks), he knocks down block structures, and sometimes dances on the carpet with no pants on, but I love him!  He is one of the sweetest, kindest children I have ever met.  Yesterday we had a student with autism come visit our class during rest time.  She saw my students laying down and decided that she also needed to lay down.  She happened to lay down next to MB.  That sweet little boy not only offered her his mat, but he also offered her his blanket AND told her that she could have one of our snacks when she got up!  Today we ate lunch in our classroom and I rescued his lunch bag from falling on the floor.  He looked at me with those sweet eyes and said "Mrs. Hainey, thank you so much for catching my bag".  He is VERY polite, and gives the sweetest apologies.  Even though he repeats the naughty behaviors I still think his apologies are sincere, he just doesn't have the strategies needed to behave.  I am afraid that his future teachers will not see him for the sweet person he is, and will break his spirit.  He really needs  someone who will see his strengths and love him.  He is a very special person and I believe he can be a very successful person in the future if he is handled with care during these early learning years.

Now I will address that crazy blog post title.  Let me start by telling you that technology has not been my friend lately.  I have put in tickets to the I.T. department because of SmartBoard issues several times in the past two weeks.  The first problem occurred because the bulb blew on my projector.  When the tech came in to replace it dust flew EVERYWHERE!  About an hour after the bulb was changed a "clean filter" warning popped up on the board and the projector turned off after about ten minutes of use.  I put in another ticket for that issue.  Every time the projector turned off I blamed my student ES.  I told the class that she used her magic powers to turn it off.  She told me that it was the dust that turned it off ( I don't know how she knew that) but I still blamed her every time.  Anyways, the tech eventually came in and told me that we needed canned air to blow into the vents of the projector in order to clean the filter.  I told him that I did not believe that was sufficient.  I let him know that the last guy who cleaned my filter opened the projector and took the filter out to fix it.  He insisted that his way would work.  After he "fixed" the problem, the problem persisted.  In the mean time, my SmartBoard stopped responding to touch, so I had to put in ANOTHER TICKET!  The same darn technician came in and told me that I needed a new SmartBoard and that he'd expedite a ticket to the person in charge of Smart Technology.  He also told me to get a can of air and blow it into the vents to see if the projector problem would go away.  Well, after he left I restarted my computer and magically fixed the touch feature on the SmartBoard.  What does this have to do with burning you might ask?  Well, ten minutes is not a very long time to have the SmartBoard on and I was getting irritated with it turning off in the middle of  my lessons, so I decided to take the technicians advice and blow it out.  THAT WAS A BAD IDEA!  He neglected to tell me that I needed to make sure the projector had completely cooled off before blowing it out.  After thoroughly blowing air into the vents (and blowing tons of dust out) my classroom began to smell like an electrical fire.  I immediately unplugged the projector, opened my outside door, and quickly took the kids outside to finish our ELA lesson.  I went back inside to make sure the room wasn't smoking and realized that the stench had made it's way into the hallway!  I heard someone say "Somethings burning".  I didn't really want anyone to know that it was my room, so I closed the hallway door!  I was afraid the fire alarm was going to go off!  I went across the hall and got some air spray to get rid of the stink and decided it was safe to bring my kids back inside.  About an hour or two after the incident I nervously turned the projector back on, and guess what?  IT WORKED!  I no longer have a "clean filter" warning, and the projector stays on for as long as I need! The moral of the story is: Technicians don't know how to fix stuff, and don't put canned air on a hot electronic.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mrs. Hainey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

Yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!  It all started with a sore throat.  I was on day two of a sore throat and day two was much worse than day one!  After waking up to a sore throat I learned that it was going to be a very rainy day.  Rainy days are my least favorite because there is no recess on rainy days!  I was truly dreading going into work, but I decided that I'd just have to get through the day.  As it turns out, I should have stayed home!  This was by far the worst teaching day I've had to date!

I picked up my kids from breakfast at 7:30.  About half of my students are zoned for another school and take a shuttle bus to my building.  The shuttle bus always arrives late and therefore, I only had about half of my class when I picked them up.  I brought the kids into my room and they began the normal routine of unpacking, signing in, getting on the computers, and looking at books.  Well, the rain must have impacted the brains of my students because they appeared to have completely forgotten how to behave and look at books.  I told them to pick up the books and put them away.  I was upset at their behavior and told them to just sit quietly for a few minutes until the rest of our class got there.  While they were sitting there doing absolutely nothing one of my evaluation team members came in to observe me!  Since it's my second year teaching I have to go through evaluations in order to earn my permanent certification.  So, I was feeling kinda nervous, and I was getting hot.  I quickly began a rhythm activity and the rest of my students finally came into the classroom.  As my kids came in, I noticed a child that I didn't recognize.  As it turns out, it was my quintuplet's brother!  He decided to take the shuttle bus from his zoned school and spend the morning at our school!  I wasn't quite sure how to handle the situation because I was being evaluated!  So, I asked my assistant to please call his mother.  While she went and called the child's mother I began my morning activities.

My students acted as if they had never been in school before!  They were bouncing around, talking to each other, hitting one another, and crawling around.  In the mean time my evaluator is sitting in the back of the room writing away!  On top of that, I still didn't feel well!  All that singing and dancing about killed me! One of my students had a tantrum and when my assistant came back to our activities she was less than helpful!  Apparently she could not get in touch with the mother of the stow away!  Finally we transitioned into small group time.  The child having the tantrum continued to misbehave during small group, but everyone else did just fine.

Thank goodness the evaluator left immediately after small group time.  I was able to call the school the stow away was zoned for and let them know the situation.  They said they'd call me back.  They never did call me back and I very shortly found out why.  The extra kid was fine during morning activities, small group, and center time.  When it was time to clean up, I learned that this child was less than charming!  All of the sudden he became very difficult and disobedient!  I asked him why he came on the bus to our school and he gave me one of those smiles kids give when they are about to lie.  He said " My mom told me to".  I said "No, she didn't". He replied by scowling and saying "BECAUSE MY TEACHER ALWAYS GIVES ME SAD FACES!"  I decided it was time to take that child to the office.  I have my own naughty children to deal with and I didn't need to deal with anymore!

Things calmed down a bit after lunch.  We watched a few stories online and took an extended rest.  During rest time I went to a meeting.  I was telling my team members about these really cute crafts I ordered for my kids to do after our trip to the farm.  I was so excited about them.  I was even more excited after the meeting when I found out that my package had been delivered!  I picked up the package and took it to my room.  I couldn't wait to open it!  After opening it I quickly realized that the adorable craft I had ordered was not in the box.  I checked the paperwork and not only did it say that the craft was indeed in the box, I was also charged for it.  I wasted no time contacting an unfriendly customer service representative.  She informed me that they were out of stock and that's why the item was not in my box.  I was really upset, but she credited my account (which shouldn't have been charged in the first place).  I was so mad that I threatened to return the rest of my items.   She replied by letting me know that I'd need a special permission code and that I'd have to pay for shipping!  I was having a bad day.

My students continued to act as if they had never been to school and they drove me nuts for the rest of the day.  Needless to say, my throat took a beating!  Just as the clock was about to strike two one of my lovely students decided to scratch another student on the face!  His face was bleeding!  I had to take him to the nurse.  I was so close to the end of the day, but they day found one more thing to throw at me!

Thankfully, when I got home my husband was fairly understanding with me and only upset me a couple of times!  I really love that guy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Biters, Quintuplets, and Stress, OH MY!

A lot has happened in the past month!  I am still loving my students more and more every day!  I am up to 18 students and will have my 19th on Monday.  My kiddos are getting better and better at following the rules, and they basically know the daily routine.  Going from kindergarten to pre-k has been a difficult adjustment, but it's getting easier.

In pre-k there is a lot of tattling, pushing, hitting, kicking, spitting, talking, and all around selfishness.  I hear a lot of "I'm not your friend anymore," and "He's being mean," and "I'm telling on you!"  All of these things are pretty normal for a typical 4 year old.  At least once a day somebody knocks over someone else's block structure, or struggles over a desired toy.  I can handle all of those problems with ease.  What I cannot wrap my head around is biting!  YES BITING!  At 4 years old I figured most kids are out of the biting phase but as luck would have it, I have been blessed with a child who is not!  This child I am speaking about, MB, is my most challenging student.  He is usually the culprit when someone is pushed, kicked, hit, or any other number of naughty things.  One day out of the blue, MB walked up to another student and without warning BIT HIM ON THE SHOULDER!  Thank god he bit the child through the clothes because this boy had a nice quarter sized bite mark on him!  I was unsure of how I was supposed to handle this situation, but I knew I had to remove him from my classroom.  Not only was I really angry that he did that, but I also needed to get him away from my other kids.  My dilemma was that MB didn't appear to be angry or upset when he bit him and therefore I had no idea why he bit the child.  Also, I wasn't entirely sure what a developmentally appropriate punishment would be.  So, unfortunately I took him to the main office where I ran into someone in charge.  I will not disclose this person because who knows who's reading this!  The person in charge looked at me as if I was crazy and as if to say "What do you want me to do about it?"  This person didn't even think it was necessary to take the bitten child to the nurse for documentation.  I was beyond angry and took the child to the nurse anyways.  The nurse agreed that the situation was serious enough to warrant being looked at and documented.  I decided that day that I would no longer take MB to the office for behavior.

Even though I had made the decision not to take MB to the office again, my decision was not kept.  About a week after the biting incident MB was tantruming  because he didn't want to go to time out.  He had been particularly naughty that day and I had had enough.  While he was tantruming and refusing to go to time out he wrapped his little legs and arms around my right leg.  I proceeded to walk towards the time out chair when all of the sudden I felt a pain right below my butt.  I stopped and looked at him with my eyes wide and my mouth hanging opened and said " Did you just bite me?"  I could not believe he had done that!  I picked him up SO fast and marched right back down to the office.  Thankfully there was another person of authority in the office this time who takes biting very seriously and the child was removed from my room for the remainder of the school day.  Unfortunately the child was suspended which I didn't think was appropriate at all! 

I could go on and on about the biting, but to wrap it up, he had one more incident with biting a few days after the leg/butt bite and was suspended once again.  We had a meeting about his behavior and hopefully we will find a way to help him.

This post is getting longer than I anticipated, but I must write about my newest student.  He is adorable, and very active, and very sweet, and he is a quintuplet!  All five quints are boys, they have an older brother who is only 8 months older than them, and another brother several years older than them!  He has been a bit of a handful, but he is very bright and I think once he settles in, he'll be alright.

Finally, this job has been very stressful.  I have done paperwork, and trainings, and meetings and learned a new program, and I am tired!  Not to mention I don't always have the help I need.  I cannot go into more details on the last part because again, I have no idea who is reading this.  I feel like I never get through everything I have to do because I do not get a break, and I'm always being pulled for meetings, although the meetings have calmed down in the last two weeks or so.  I am also going through my evaluation this year and that is also very stressful!

On the positive side, I won a contest through Sonic (thanks to several people who spent hours typing in codes and voting for me) and I have an incubator and will be getting fertile duck eggs for my classroom!  WOOHOO!  Also thanks to the people who donated to my project before I won the contest.

I love my job and I hope I never burn out!  I have to always remember why I am there and how many children I am impacting by staying positive.