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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pre-K Here I Come!

Yesterday was my first day teaching four year old pre-k.  It was exhausting!  I have been back to work for about four weeks now but up until yesterday I  had no students.  People kept telling me how lucky I was not to have kids yet, and how lucky I am that I don't have to write my own lesson plans.  I can tell you one thing.  I am NOT as lucky as they think!  People don't seem to understand the prep work and paperwork that pre-k requires.  They also don't understand that we have to test children into the program and do home visits!  I can promise you I was not sitting around eating chocolates for the past few weeks!

Well, yesterday went just like you might imagine.  I had a few tears in the morning, but not nearly as many as I thought I'd have.  I had some concerned parents.  I had children who act as if they've never heard the words no, or stop before...and maybe they haven't.  I also learned the names of a few students very quickly.  Those of you who are teachers know that the kids whose names you learn first, are they ones that drive you nuts!  I had one boy MS who had very little self control and talked a lot.  I have already named a few of my gray hairs after him!  Here's an example of MS. "Mrs. Hainey is it time to play? I want to play with the dinosaurs. When are we going to play? Can I get some water? I gotta pee. Is it time to play now? Can I eat the cookies?  I want to eat the cookies.  Mrs. Hainey is it time to play now?"  Imagine all that coming out of a four year old in about the span of five minutes!  He drove me nuts!  But he is the cutest thing I've ever seen and I think that once I get him trained he will be just fine!  Today he knocked over some one's block tower.  I said "MS why did you knock down her tower?"  He replied "because it's fun to knock stuff down!"

I think pre-k will be a great adventure and I am looking forward to falling in love with a new group of kids.  I am going to try to stay positive and give my students opportunities that they would not otherwise have.  I guess in a way all those teachers were right.  I am really lucky.  I have students that smile at me every morning even when they've nothing to smile about.  They already love me and look up to me.  I think it's an honor to be allowed to work with and get to know these precious children.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Now It's Time To Say Good-bye

Today was my very first, last day of school as a teacher.  My day was fairly low key and unemotionial.  I only had two students show up and therefore I was able to finish packing up my room.  A more emotional day was last Tuesday when my students had their Kindergarten Celebration!  We no longer call them graduations because....well...I don't know why.  My students worked VERY hard to learn the song Happiniess from You're A Good Man Charlie Brown.  It is a very difficult song because there is really no refrain.  We worked on that song at least three or five times a day for about three weeks.  My kids were the JAM and they were really excited about performing for their parents.  The big day came and all but two students showed up on time.  They were dressed in their suits and dresses and looked simply adorable.  The crowd was large and I was pretty nervous.  I am not a very good public speaker, and I was expected to say a few words about my class and my assistant.  When it came time for my students to perform we all stood nicely on stage and the music started.  We started singing when I noticed that something was not quite right.  We were supposed to be singing to a cd without vocals but as the song went on I realized the music teacher had put in the WRONG TRACK!  This would be perfectly fine if the vocals on the track were singing the same lyrics as us!!  I don't think anyone but me and the music teacher noticed.  Throughout the program the parents were loud, inconsiderate, and rude.  It made me a little angry because my students had worked so hard practicing and the parents acted as if they were at a party or something.  After the program I had ten students stay at school and seven students go home.  Each day following the celebration I had less and less students and today I was down to my final two.  I was not emotional or sad when the day ended, but I did a lot of reflecting on how my year went and what I could have done better.

When I started teaching I was insecure and knew nothing about what I really needed to do in order to teach my students.  As I got to know my students, administrators and co-workers I started to get better and better at teaching.  By February or March I felt like I had a good handle on teaching.  I realized that there were major changes that needed to be made in order to make my next group of students successful.  I sorta felt like I let my current students down by not teaching as effectively as I knew I could do next year.  I quickly realized that I did my best with what I had and that my students were given a lot of new experiences that they would not have had if they were in a different class.  I believe that even if my students don't have the highest test scores, or the best writing and reading skills, they have a lot of confidence and experience and therefore they will thrive in first grade.

A few weeks ago I found out that my position was being eliminated, and then I found out that my principal is retiring.  Neither of those things were very good news.  I love my principal and I was afraid that if she left I would not get a position in my school next fall.  She assured me that she is working on getting me a contract and I believe her.  I really feel like that school is where I am meant to be.  I recently found out about an opening at my school in the 4K program.  I expect to hear in the next week or two whether I have the position or not.

All in all I have had a really fantastic year.  I have met some wonderful teachers, made some awesome friends, and taught the most precious kindergartners I have ever worked with.  I have fallen in love with teaching and can't wait to do it again next year.

Until then I say so long.  I hope you will continue to follow me and support me as I venture into my second year of teaching.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Uncertain Future

If you have read any of my posts, you know that I adore my students and absolutely LOVE my job.  The school year is almost over and I have had some ups and downs during my first year.  Initially I was overwhelmed.  I felt as if I had no support system and I really had no idea what I was doing.  I did my best and my efforts were definitely recognized.  Eventually I found my support system and became very comfortable with the team of teachers I am working with.  I know that I was not perfect and that I would change a few choices I made, but overall, I am proud of the work I did this year as a first year teacher.  Over the past few months I have been reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and I had big plans to create amazing lessons for my next class of students.  I was truly excited about summer break not because I am burnt out, but because I wanted to get working on next years plans!

Yesterday I got some very upsetting news.  My principal informed me that the projected numbers for next school year are not high enough to warrant a fourth kindergarten, therefore, I was placed on the surplus list.  That means that if there are any openings in the district, I will be given an interview with the principals before any newbies.  My principal is hoping the numbers will go up enough for the district to add my class back on, but she wants me to weigh my options if another opportunity comes along.  I am not sure how I am feeling about this news.  I have definitely been going through some phases in my feelings.  When she first told me the news I was in shock and wasn't upset in the least.  She had told me just last month not to worry about next year!  Once the shock wore off and I told people the news I got a little nervous.  Now is not the time to lose your job!  Most people assured me that if I didn't get a job at my current school, I'd find one in the district elsewhere.  That's all fine and good, but I have my dream job and am afraid I will have to take a job that I really don't want.  After feeling nervous I became sad.  I shed a few tears once I got home but quickly changed my feelings to being overwhelmed.  I am currently packing up my house and cannot even fathom having to pack up my classroom.  I have no place to put all my teacher stuff!  I am not sure how I feel right now.  I need to stay positive so that I can continue to serve the students that I love.  I am trying not to let this news interfere with my teaching, but it is hard.

In this economy I am lucky to have found a job at all.  I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to teach these children this school year.  I have learned so much, and no matter what my future brings, the memories and lessons I have learned this year will always be close to my heart.  I am hoping to get my job back, or a job in my current school, but if God has other plans for me, I say "Bring it on!"

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools!

Today was a very fun (and kind of annoying) day!  Since it was April Fools day, I thought I'd better think of some jokes to play on my kids.  I was a little bit hesitant to do anything because I knew that if I started tricking them, they would continue with the jokes all day long!  When my students walked into class telling me I had bugs on my head I knew that they already knew about the April Fools tradition!  I decided to start out with a simple prank.  I got the book "Arthur's April Fools" and had the students sit down on the carpet.  I warned them not to say anything while I was reading.  I also reminded them that talking during books would result in a color change.  I picked up the book, turned it upside down and started reading it.  Immediately I heard things like "Mrs. Hainey the book," and I quickly interrupted and said "Stop talking while I'm reading."  I continued reading and had two or three other students try to tell me that the book was upside down.  I quickly scolded them and threatened to change their colors.  They didn't know what to do.  Finally by about page two or three, they started raising their hands!  They were looking at each other in disbelief!  It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  After a few pages reading upside down was making me nauseas so I called on a student who had his hand up, and he politely let me know that the book was upside down.  After that, my kids wanted to trick me all day long!  I decided that one prank just wasn't good enough so I thought up an even better one.  I told my students that the cafeteria ran out of food, so we'd be eating fried worms.  At first they didn't believe me, but after a few minutes I had several students questioning it, and some students who totally believed me.  It was hard to get them into the cafeteria because they wouldn't stop chatting about the fried worms.  When we finally got there I noticed on student in line crying.  I said "J, what's wrong?"  and he said "I don't want to eat worms!"  I told him that when he got his tray just to let the lunch lady know that he didn't want any worms.  It was HILARIOUS.  Overall it was a pretty fun day.  What made the day even better was that it was SPRING BREAK!!

This is off topic, but I found it funny.  I was wearing my school sweatshirt today, and my assistant came in wearing the same sweatshirt.  My students thought we looked like twins (my assistant is black).  One girl said "Hey, you guys look like twins exept you (my assistant) are light skinned, and you (me) are white skinned.  LOL!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

From Egg To Chick (Videos!)

About 22 days ago I began the hatching process with my kindergartners.  I didn't know a thing about hatching chicks, but I did know that if it worked it would be an experience that my students would remember forever.  I borrowed the incubator and egg turner from the Clemson Extension program.  They also provided the eggs!  The woman in charge brought me 14 fertilized eggs and kept on saying things like "You have to keep water in the pan for humidity.  I know you probably already know this."  The truth is...I knew NOTHING.  I  had no idea that eggs needed to be turned or that the eggs needed high humidity.  The most memorable thing she told me was that I would have to "dispose of the chickens" (don't worry, I'm giving them to a farmer).   I learned a lot really fast and just hoped that everything would turn out well. 

My students kept a journal where they wrote about the development inside the eggs every five days.  We looked at pictures of developing eggs and talked about what new body parts had developed.  My FABULOUS father made me a brooder box complete with a heat lamp, a clear front, and chicken decor on the exterior.  As the days went on my students (and the whole school) got very excited.  I became really nervous that my chicks would not hatch.  My classroom had become a hot topic in the building and I did not want to fail.  After candling some of my eggs I could see that several were developing, but there were a few that had not.  I did not look at all the eggs or discard the duds, so I really had no idea what to expect on hatching day. 

By day 20 I began to panic.  Eggs usually hatch in 21 days.  I was not sure if the chicks would start pecking by day 20 but I really wanted to see some signs of hatching.  I had convinced myself that my chicks were not going to hatch.  That night I went out and bought supplies for a hatching day party (just in case my instincts were wrong).  I bought chick/egg garland, peeps, and chick lollipops.
video

On day 21 I nervously walked down the hallway to my classroom.  I unlocked my door, put my purse down, and then...I heard it.  I heard noise coming from the incubator.  I peeked inside and there was a hatched chick!  I screamed a loud scream and ran down the hallway.  I had to find SOMEONE, ANYONE to tell the good news to.  It was only 6:30, so there weren't a whole lot of people at work yet!  After delivering the good news, I made a Happy Hatch Day poster, and put it on my door.  I was a very proud chick mama.  When my students got to school they were beyond excited.  The rest of the school was also excited!  I think I had half of my school walk through my classroom that day.  By the end of the day I had two hatched chicks and two eggs that had begun to crack!

video

Day 22 was very exciting.  I knew some more chicks had probably hatched.  I was thinking I would have a total of three to five chicks all together.  You can't even imagine how surprised I was when I saw FIVE chicks in my incubator that morning!  That brought my total to SEVEN!  I was told that a 50% hatch rate was really impressive and I had gotten there.  My students were eager to look at the chicks and they asked to hold them several times.  I was still pretty nervous about those babies, so I told them no.  I think I will let them hold them tomorrow if they still want to.  The reason I say that is because in order to get my students to stop asking to hold the chicks, I had to tell them that there was poop on the chick's feet and therefore, they shouldn't hold them.  They stopped asking pretty quick, but proceeded to tell EVERYONE that there was poop on the chick's feet.  We had several more visitors.

There was one egg that had been struggling to escape all day long.  I watched it for a good two hours, but it made very slow progress.  I am really looking forward to seeing if he made it!  I will be pretty sad if he doesn't!

video
I believe that kindergartners need meaningful, first hand experiences.  That is what I am trying hard to give them.  If they only remember one thing about kindergarten, I hope this experience is it!  I know that I will remember it for a lifetime!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's day was very exciting in our classroom!  It all started about a week before the holiday.  My students received a letter from a leprechaun!  Of course my students had NO idea what a leprechaun was, so sadly, I had to explain it to them.  They were so excited about that pesky leprechaun and they blamed him for EVERYTHING!  If a light bulb blew, they blamed him.  If the computers didn't work they blamed him.  If someone got hurt on the playground, they blamed him.  The ultimate goal was got get some leprechaun gold, but that tricky leprechaun left us leprechaun POOP instead!  My students were unbelievably excited about eating leprechaun poop, but they kept their eye on the prize.  After a few exchanges between the students and our leprechaun (Seamus) he actually started writing individual notes and left kids leprechaun kisses!  My students were thrilled that the leprechaun had noticed their good behavior.  He encouraged them to stay on green because clearly that is his favorite color!  Finally the big day came, it was St. Patrick's day!  I painted shamrocks on the kid's faces and we anxiously awaited for the arrival of Seamus.  The first thing he did was turn our toilet water green, and then he wished us a happy St. Patrick's day in our morning calendar.  That was very exciting!  After reading the message it was time for computer lab.  The students went off for a half an hour and when they got back our classroom was trashed and there was leprechaun confetti all over the floor!  My students could not believe their eyes.  They insisted that we make a clip for Seamus and put him directly on red!  Red is the worse color on our behavior chart.  After cleaning up our room the students did some work (yes, we do work in there) and then went on to art class and lunch.  When we got back from lunch we had the surprise of our lives!  There were pots of gold AND kisses for every student.  You would have thought those children had won the lottery.  The were cheering and shouting and wondering around in disbelief.  Finally one of them realized that the sneaky leprechaun had moved his clip to green and moved EVERYONE else to RED!  It only took about a split second for them to switch themselves back to green!  They were so loud and excited that several people stopped in my room to see what was going on!  I completely lost control of my classroom for about five minutes.

I truly think that my students are the best ever!  I get so much out of teaching them.  I hope they get as much from me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sniffles and Sneezes

My students are quickly disappearing!  I can only assume that there is a nasty virus going around my classroom.  I had several students out last week and by Friday I was down to nine students by the end of the day!  Today I only had eleven students!  My day was FABULOUS!  We were missing a few key players and that made our day very calm.  I think I had a smile on my face all day long.  I was in such a good mood that I gave my students M&M's at the end of the day because every single one of them was on green!

Aside from sniffles and sneezes my teaching experience is going very well.  We had a lot of fun with our fish (but we are down to one goldfish and a handful of baby guppies).  Today I lost another fish.  The problem is that I don't have a net and I was having a hard time getting the fish out of the tank with my cup.  As luck would have it, there was a technician in my room hooking up some equipment.  That crazy man was going to stick his bare hand in the tank and take out the fish!  EW!  Thankfully I got the fish out before he had to do that.  On a happier note, we have chicken eggs!  It takes 21 days for chicks to hatch and we are on day 6!  I am SO excited and my students are unbelievably excited.  I just hope my chicks do better than my fish!  My amazing father has made me a brooding box so that my chicks will have a comfortable place to live after they escape from their shells.  I am so lucky to have such a supportive family!

Wait!  More good news!  Yesterday I signed up for a Donors Choose account.  Donors Choose is an organization that gets funding for teacher requested supplies through donations.  I created a project for an MP3 listening center and it is already almost fully funded!  I am so greatful to the family and friends that donated to this project.  This will give my students another opportunity to interact with books.  They are learning how to read, and I just know that this will have a huge impact on them.  My next project is for audio books to use at the center.  If you are interested in supporting my project please check out this link: http://www.donorschoose.org/we-teach/841873.1808463058

I really and truly love my job.  I feel so lucky to have such a rewarding career.  Sometimes I wonder who benefits more, the students, or me?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Most Stressful Day Ever!

This morning started out just like any other morning.  I got up at 5:15 and left the house for work at 6:15.  I walked into my classroom at 6:30 and BLAM!  The stress had begun.  Upon walking into my room I see that my fish tanks are VERY cloudy and one of the air pumps completely stopped working.  Now, let me give you a brief background of the situation.  I was out of school yesterday for professional development and one of my co-workers found that my air pump was not working AND that one of my goldfish was dead (big surprise, right?).  She decided to be helpful and put the living goldfish with the guppies.  Since that is not a good idea I immediately called her and told her to put the goldfish back in his bowl.  A lot more happened, but that is the most important for you to know.  Okay, so I walk into my room and see a cloudy mess in the goldfish tank AND the guppy tank.  Since the guppy tank was messed with the filter was all out of place and there wasn't enough water in the tank.  I could literally feel the stress balling up in my chest.  I tried to take care of the fish situation the best I could and then moved on to the next fiasco.  The very kind and helpful sub stacked all of my chairs.  I suppose she thought she was helping, but all it did was create more work for me.  Moving on I could not find the book of the week.  I had no idea where the sub placed it and it took me a very long time to find it.  I spent my whole preparation time looking for books, tending to fish, and setting up chairs.  By the time my students came into the room at 7:15 I was a mess.  I thought my chest was going to explode!

 Thankfully, they had special areas at 7:30 and that gave me a little more time to get my morning work ready.  The kids drove me crazy all day.  I knew that it was partly my fault because I was in such a bad mood, but I just felt like they wouldn't stay still or be quiet!  I decided that I needed to come up with a math activity that would take a long time and keep them busy.  Cutting ALWAYS takes a long time, so since we are doing measurement I thought they could trace their feet, cut the template, and measure their feet with blocks.  I was sure this would take at least 45 minutes...I was very wrong.  It took them about 10 minutes!  I could not believe it.  

As you know, I have been selected to get a Smart Table.  YAY, right?  Well, that means I need to make room for the table in my tiny little classroom.  The table is coming tomorrow and I have very few outlets in my room.  Earlier today I found out that I am also receiving an incubator tomorrow.  YAY, right?  Well guess what?  That also needs to be plugged in and I need to find room for that as well!  So my dear friend and mentor MD came into my room to "help" me.  The problem was that I was already very overwhelmed.  My other dear friend CH and her wonderful assistant also came in to help.  I appreciate their effort, but it was all just too much for me to handle and I didn't end up changing much.  My anxiety had peaked, and I wasn't sure my poor heart could take it.

This may not sound so bad to anybody else, but for some reason I was just beyond stressed.  I still have a little tightness in my chest, but I feel a zillion times better.  Sometimes being a teacher just stresses me out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smart Table Pilot

I recently found out that I will be part of a team piloting a Smart Table program for our district.  A Smart Table is similar to a Smartboard, but it has like fifty points of touch!  The teacher creates interactive lessons for small groups of students and they can all interact with the product at the same time.  The reason I was chosen for this pilot is because when our district was doing walk throughs in the fall, I happened to be doing AWSOME Smartboard lessons both times!  One of the people in the walk through was the head of the technology department.  When the pilot program was announced, my name was thrown in to the list of possible participants.  I am one of only three teachers in the district involved in this pilot!!  Last night was my first training.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun!  My students will be so excited and I truly believe it will make small group centers a lot more effective.  I sure hope this is a sign that I will be invited back for a second school year!

Goodbye George and Gloria!

This week we started a new science unit on animals.  The first week of the unit teaches students about guppies and goldfish.  I went to the store and spend a ridiculous amount of my very own money to buy all of the necessary supplies, including the fish.  I bought all of these supplies on Saturday and set them up in my living room.  I bought two goldfish, and four guppies.  Let's just say that only two fish made it to work on Monday morning.  The guppies just didn't make it.  I believe I rushed the setup and the water just wasn't good for the poor fish.  So, Monday morning I took my fish tanks and fish to work and set them up before the students got there.  I was very excited!  Not only was it new fish day, it was also Valentine's day.  When the kids arrived at school they were so happy and excited to see our fish!  They checked on them frequently and named them George, and Gloria.  By the middle of the day I could tell that George and Gloria were not feeling well.  They were swimming kinda crooked and sideways.  I just knew that they weren't going to make it through the night.  The following morning, poor Gloria and George were floating at the top of the tank.   I laughed out loud when I saw them because I just couldn't believe that I had killed six fish in a matter of three days!  My students trickled in slowly that morning.  I told one student who then spread the news to the rest of the students.  Throughout the day I think they told EVERYONE in the school that George and Gloria had died.  Some of them were really sad.  Our favorite teacher Ms. D. told the kids that the fish were in a better place now.  One of the kids responded by saying, "No, Mrs. Hainey put them down the toilet".  I just love those guys!  After the kids left I emptied the tank and refilled it.  It's been running for a few days now and tomorrow it will be the home for two new goldfish and three guppies (assuming they make it through the night!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today was a very challenging day!  My students were beyond excited about Valentine's Day and therefore my morning was a little off schedule.  The students kept coming in one by one and showing me the valentines or treats that they brought in to share.  Now, I sent home a note explicitly stating that  I ONLY wanted individually wrapped treats that could be placed in bags and sent home.  I had TWO students bring in cupcakes!  These parents can't follow directions any better than their children! Aside from cards and treats, I also got some treats!  My students brought me candy, cards, and a coffee mug with a bear. Another exciting thing about today was the introduction of our two goldfish George and Gloria.  My students were oober excited and wanted to check on the fish all day long.  I had to warn the students that sometimes fish don't live long.  This was an important conversation because I had just killed four guppies in a matter of two days!  Hopefully I am a better teacher than fish owner!  As the day went on it continued to be very hectic.  I think it was worse than Christmas!  I was a patient as possible and we made it through.  My students gave me tons of hugs and kind words all day long.  One students said "Mrs. Hainey, I just love you.  You have beautiful eyes."  I just smiled and told him thanks!  I love those kids more than I ever would have imagined. 

I do have one student we'll call ZS who I am having a very hard time falling in love with.  He is the newest student in my room and he is a big pain in my rear.  I actually didn't allow him to participate in our festivities and he didn't really seem to care...UNTIL he realized that I was not going to give him his valentines bag of treats.  He cried and cried.  I did not feel the least bit bad for him.  Hopefully he will have a better day tomorrow and I will give him his bag.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Mrs. Hainey! I'm gonna tear your room up!

Today was my birthday!  My students were very excited.  I have been hyping this day up for the past month or so, and my students were eager to celebrate!  When my students walked into the classroom they bombarded me with birthday wishes and hugs.  They told me about everything they were going to give me, and they grinned from ear to ear.  Since my students thought I was 99 years old, one child asked me if I had turned 100!  I just love my students!  My friend MP started my day off with a basket of candy AND a helium balloon!  She and her roommate also made me brownies!  Throughout the day I was given many birthday wishes from students I don't even know.  I think it is so cool that kids who don't even know me got so excited about my birthday!  It also happened to be one of my student's birthdays.  I didn't mind sharing my day until...her mother and about ten other people showed up at my classroom door twenty minutes before school ended.  They had their arms full of cupcakes, icecream and gifts.  There were children EVERYWHERE!  We got through the chaos and mess with few problems.  Just as it was time to get ready to go, the mom broke the news to her girls (I have sisters in my classs) that they were to take the bus home.  One of the girls broke down and had the biggest tantrum I have ever witnessed!  She kicked and screamed and cried as if she was never going to see her mother again.  Her mother left and she still continued to have a fit!  I tried to ignore her but she started acting like she was going to run out of my room.  I told her that if she left my room I was going to call the police.  I needed to get my other students to the bus, so I asked my assistant to call the office to get some help.  While I was lining my kids up in the hall the student started to tear my room apart!  I was beyond angry.  The office was able to stop her mother on the way to her car and made her come get the student.  When the mom arrived I said " Your daughter just tore my room up!"  I was not smiling.  The mother LAUGHED and said "I'm sorry Mrs. Hainey, I know it's not funny.  I'm gonna tear her up when she gets home".  I was so pissed that she laughed.  I got right in that childs face and told her that she had better not act like that in my class again.  Since it was my birthday I decided to vent my frustrations to another teacher and let it go.  I had such a great birthday that I didn't want to let one spoiled child ruin my day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Sick Day

Wednesday morning I woke up with a very sore throat.  I didn't realize that I was actually sick until I was half way to work.  My throat hurt, my head hurt, my neck hurt, and I was cranky.  I knew that it was going to be a tough day, so I warned my students that I wasn't feeling well.  They were very sweet.  All day long they would remind each other not to make me yell or upset me because my throat was hurting.  I just love those kids!  They day was long and I snapped a little more than I normally would.  I had decided that I should stay a little later that afternoon and get some sub plans ready just in case I was unable to go to work the following day.  By the time the students had all left I just couldn't bring myself to stay.  I was sure I'd be fine in the morning.

When I got home I had a FEVER!  I have not had a fever in many years and decided to go to the doctors.  While there was nothing diagnosable wrong with me, I decided that a fever was a good reason to call in sick the following day.  I called my friend MP and asked her to please give sub plans to my sub in the morning.  She quickly reminded me that I vowed not to get sick and agreed to pass the plans on.  Unfortunately the school email was down and the plans never made it to my sub!  As I sit here writing this blog I can't help but wonder what my kids did all day.  I was surprisingly relaxed today and didn't worry about them as much as I thought I would.  My fever seems to be gone and I plan on returning to work tomorrow.  I am looking forward to the hugs, comments, and questions that my fabulous students will be full of tomorrow!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Frustration

I have a student that is frustrating me beyond belief.  She seems to have learned almost nothing so far this year.  She cannot identify most alphabet letter, numbers, colors, or shapes.  She cannot count past six or seven.  She just recently learned to write her names but she still can't always identify the letters in her name.  I've worked with her in small groups, individually, got her a tutor, and send her to the interventionist.  Nothing seems to work.  She is very hard working and truly wants to learn and so I keep on trying. 

Yesterday I decided to start small and work on the color red.  I took an index card and wrote with a red marker the word red.  I also drew a red blob on the card.  I handed her the card and told her that we needed to find everything red in the school.  I pointed to the red blob and said "B this is the color red.  What color is it?"  She replied "Red".  So off we went.  She pointed to several red items in the hallway before I realized that she was finding red items, but wasn't calling them red.  So I said to her " What color are we looking for?"  She said "Green".  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!  So I calmly said "No B, this is the color red.  We are looking for things that are red".  So we continued to find things that are red and I made sure that she identified the objects as red.  After about ten minutes I said "Ok, what color are we looking for?" And she said "Green".  THREE times she told me that we were looking for things that are green!

Our walk ended for the day but by the end of the year this child WILL be able to identify the color red!

Funny Things My Kids Say

Since I have become a teacher I have laughed so hard that tears ran down my face.  My students say the funniest things!  I wish I had written these things down earlier because I definately can't remember them.  As I remember them and as they happen, I will be sure to add them to this post.

Me: D, you are crazy.
DW: (Looks at me) What about you?

Student: I hate white people.
Me: You hate white people?  I'm white and you don't hate me.
Student: You're white?

Me: Who is George Washington?
Student: The first white president!

Co-worker: Wow Mrs. Hainey you are amazing with the Smartboard.
Student: Yeah, she got skills.

Student: Look Mrs. Hainey, I finished!
Me: Good job, do it one more time!
Student: Aw crap!

Me: What are some reasons that people go to the doctors?
KB: To get a colonoscopy

Lies I've told my students:
1. I am 99 years old
2. I can see their brains through their ears.
3. The holiday elf watches to see if we are behaving or not.
4. I have magic dust in my pocket to heal minor injuries.
5. I am allergic to oranges and cannot help them peel.
6. If I am wearing angry eyes I will get wrinkles, and Mr. Hainey does not want me to have wrinkles.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Bad Day

Today was a difficult day for everyone!  It started first thing in the morning, my students would not stop talking and wiggling!  It didn't help that I was tired.  Last week was such an off week with all the snow days and delays that we were all having a hard time getting into the swing of things.  During our morning language arts centers I had to do the middle of the year Dominie testing.  I put my assistant in charge of the center rotations and she did her best, but somehow things got messed up and kids were all over the place!  I wanted to pull my hair out!  By the time we did math in the afternoon I was on a short fuse.  I had been yelling all day long and I had enough.  In the middle of my lesson, I threw my hands up and walked out of the room for a good ten minutes!  I knew that my assistant was giving them a talking to.  When I got back my kids behaved for about five minutes and then it was back to the talking and wiggling.  I guess these days are bound to happen from time to time, I just hope they don't happen very often.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow Days In The South

Because I am from the north, snow is not such a big deal to me.  Southerners are not so used to the snow, and it is a big deal!  Last Monday we got a snow storm and got about six inches of accumulation.  The roads were slippery and dangers, so we had a snow day.  I didn't bring any work home with me and therefore had nothing to do but lounge around my house and cuddle up with my couch.  That night the news announced that Tuesday would also be a snow day.  Since the state doesn't own many plows and has little road salt, many of the side streets were still fairly dangerous and there was a fear of black ice.  I was ok with that, but I found myself very bored!  I actually "braved" the roads and brought lunch to my husband at work.  The roads were perfectly fine, and for the most part they were dry.  That evening it was announced that Wednesday would also be a snow day.  I was dumbfounded.  Apparently many people were still fearful of black ice.  I immediately made plans with several co-workers for lunch.  We had a great time at lunch and we discussed our prediction for the following days school schedule.  The roads were completely dry and there was no doubt in my mind that school would be opened for business!  That night around 8:00 it was declared that we would have a two hour delay!  YAY!  I could handle a two hour delay.  The next morning I slept in an extra two hours and went to work.  What I couldn't understand was how a two hour delay was even helpful.  The temperature at 9:00 was still below freezing, so how was it any safer than it was at 7:00?  I got to work and people were hooting and holloring about school not being closed and I just kept my mouth shut (for the most part).  I only had twelve students show up, and we had a pretty relaxed day.  The kids were so excited to tell me all that they did during their very long weekend.  It's amazing how magical snow is to young children.  I was really happy to be back to work.  Today we had another pointless two hour delay, but I enjoyed the extra sleep and the stress free day that comes with a two hour delay.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Kids Are Learning!

For the first several weeks I felt as if I was the worst teacher ever.  I didn't think my students were learning anything!  Everyone kept telling me that I was doing awsome, but I truly didn't believe them.  Sometimes I still don't believe them.  After a few hard weeks of school I realized that my kids are in fact learning.  The first time that they could tell me the days of the week independently I could feel tears of pride swell up in my eyes.  The feeling of accomplishment I have when my students are successful is amazing.  I know that I am not perfect, and that I am still learning a lot, but I am so proud of the progess my students are making so far. 

Losing The Kids You Love

I work in a very transient school and I was warned that kids would come and go.  I didn't realize the emotional effect it would have on me.  I have noticed that most teachers celebrate when they find out that they are losing a students.  I sometimes wonder if I am the only teacher who is truly attached to her students.  I have lost three students so far, but one of them brought me to tears.  On the very first day of school TW walked into my room bawling!  I thought it was because it was his first day of kindergarten and he was scared, but I quickly learned that TW was a tantrumer!  It didn't help that the poor kid could hardly speak and had hearing loss that was not being taken care of.  This child threw huge tantrums, refused to follow directions when he didn't get his way, hit other children, and wiggled his way into my heart. Teachers would comment about him all the time.  They would say things like "better you than me" or "Someone needs to get a belt out", but I always felt that he needed me.  I loved that naughty child!  One afternoon I took him to the office for striking another child.  It just so happened that his guardian was in the office withdrawing him from school.  I was devestated and immediately began to cry.  Teachers said "I bet you're glad to get rid of him"  or "It's about time", but I was feeling a deep sense of loss.  I love my students and losing each one is difficult, but losing this one was the most difficult so far.

My Very First Kindergarteners

I will never forget the first day I spent with students.  I was a bundle of nerves.  College does not prepare you for what you should do your first day, or how caotic dismissal time will be.  I had met the school's queen of negativity and she warned me about the type of students I would be getting.  She assured me that I had never worked with students "like these".  I tried to ignore her and stay positive.  I had worked with poor and very needy children and families before, how different could these kids be?  Even though I was staying positive I was still nervous.  My students trickled in that day and I began to get to know them.  I had some cryers, some talkers, and even some tantrumers, but by the end of the day I fell in love with every single one of them.  My students can be very challenging, but I cannot imagine having a better group of kids for my first year teaching.

First Year Teacher

In May 2010 I graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Early Childhood Education.  Even though I was a brand new graduate in the field, I was by no means a newbie to the classroom.  I spent seven years as a teaching assistant in several grade levels.  Being an assistant gave me great experience, but it did not prepare me for my very first year teaching!  The first thing I had to do after graduation was find a job.  This was not easy!  I sent out resume after resume.  I called and emailed every school in my county and the surrounding counties, and I did a lot of praying.  My first interview was beyond horrible!  I was so embarrassed when I finished.  Even though I bombed my interview I kept my head up and kept trying.  In the beginning of August I finally got the call I was waiting for.  I got the interview that would land me my first teaching job!  I was so happy when I found out I would be teaching kindergarten!

I thought that as a first year teacher I would have a lot of support.  I was wrong.  I was actually an added class and therefore I had NO supplies when I arrived.  I had to put together a brand new classroom.  Without going into a lot of detail, let's just say that I had very little support and I felt like I was thrown to the lions!  I had no idea what I was doing or what was expected of  me!  After a few months I met the most wonderful woman who really helped me find my way.  If it wasn't for her I would still be lost! 

I have been teaching for five months now, and I will focus this blog on my struggles, realizations, funny, and heart warming moments.