End of Week 8

I’m over half-way done with student teaching now.   I’ve started thinking in terms of “weeks left” instead of “weeks in school,” which feels funny.  That being said, I have a week before Spring Break, two weeks off, and six weeks left after that.  Craziness!  As I was telling my mom yesterday, soon student teaching will be one of those things that slinks farther and farther back in the history of my life and feels like it was a long time ago.  I’ve looked forward to it for so long, and it’ll be over soon!

But enough about that.  Today was a lot of fun!  We went on a field trip to a play, an experience I thoroughly enjoyed when I was in school and today as a teacher.  The kids were great, and the eating-lunch-at-a-park thing wasn’t as bad as it could have been by a long shot.  The kids were very well behaved, and when we came back they did some great writing about it! 

I’m feeling about 80% of normal now, and I realized that I had a hard time remembering what it feels like to feel good!  I don’t know how people who are chronically ill do it…this little experience gives me more empathy.

 This is my productive thesis weekend, and hopefully, but Sunday night, the majority (by which I mean everything except minor editing) will be finished.  Then, I can edit, send it to my director, make her revisions, send it to readers, and defend it on March 23.  Whew!  And I’m sure it will feel that way too…

One last note: my 1:1 girls are blessing my socks off by calling and emailing as God does cool stuff in them and through them.  It’s made all the difference this week. 🙂

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If You Give First Graders Pencils

You’ll get to write a great story together!  My observation lesson today went really well.  We wrote a class book titled If You Give an Elephant a Bed, and they did a good job of creating a story following the circular structure of the other “If You Give a” books.

I am so blessed to have a fantastic mentor teacher and a great university supervisor.  I’m glad that I prayed for them before I knew them, and I believe that God answered my prayers.  They are both kind, willing to give a lot of feedback, and dedicated to making me the best teacher I can be.  

 I also realized again that I expect myself to be perfect.  I got my Developing Assessment from my mentor teacher today, and although it was fine, it wasn’t as close to  perfect as I wanted it to be.  I know in my head that I can’t possibly do everything perfectly, and yet I want to.  Oh well…I supposed I can learn to give myself growth room in this area too.  As Sher always told me and my mom reminds me, “Yuh not a puhfect puhson!”

I’m finally starting to feel better today.  I’ll still plan to go to bed early, but between now and then I have lesson planning to do, thesis work to do, dinner, and a meeting with Sylvia.  Yeah!

First Grade Update

Yesterday, we had our last “Book Club” meeting.  My class got individual copies of the book Diary of a Worm from the principal, and today I asked the kids to whisper the name of their favorite books to me.  What I heard:

“Diarrhea of a Worm!”

 Ah, the glories of first grade.

Also, today I saw myself imitated and just about cracked up.  In the mornings, as I let the kids into the classroom, I say “Good morning, (name of child)” to them.  Today, the girl assigned to hold the door this week said to the kids as they came in from recess, “Good morning!  Good Morning!” with the exact same expression that I do.  It makes me wonder what else they are copying…

In other news, this is the middle of my student teaching time- 7.5 weeks out of 15 total. It’s going by so fast!  Just a week and a half until Spring Break- Havasupai with my dad, a trip home, and my thesis defense.

The Zoo, the Girls, and the Guys

[In order to keep this post organized and my own head on straight, I have decided that it will just have to be a three-pronged post.  There’s a lot to write about- what a good problem to have!  So much fun stuff going on…]

The Zoo (with 100 first graders)

Friday was spent at the zoo with 100 first graders.  Actually, I had four with me, but we entered and exited the zoo with 100 kids and 20ish adults.  It was my first field trip on this side of the classroom, and it was a blast!  I had fournative Spanish-speaking kids, and we had a ton of fun looking at animals and talking about them in English and in Spanish.  I realized that my zoo vocabulary isn’t quite up to par, but I don’t think that was ever taught in a Spanish class.  Anyway, I had also spent last week teaching them about the rain forest and desert, so they recognized a lot of the animals we saw from pictures, books, and discussions.  They got to feed a giraffe as well as llamas, deer, and goats at the petting zoo.  A couple kids asked especially great questions, and in the relaxed atmosphere, I think we all learned a lot.  For them, it was about animals; for me, it was about teaching.

The best quote was from our time in the African Aviary.  There were several eggs lying on the ground, and one little boy said:

“The ducks aren’t being responsible with their eggs!  Look!  They aren’t gonna hatch because they aren’t being responsible!”

He was so concerned about this.  They were all disturbed when we saw a half-eaten egg in another food dish.  What irresponsible animals!!

Girls’ Get Away

What a great 22 hours we had!  There were about 30 girls from ASU and 10-15 (I think) from Embry-Riddle, so we had a house full of girls!  We arrived Friday night and had a session with worship and speaking and prayer.  I prayed for strength (after my day at the zoo and 3ish hours of driving in traffic to get to Prescott) and the heart to be there with purpose, and God was faithful.  He did good stuff that night!  I didn’t make it to the campfire, however….bed called my name.

On Saturday morning, we had breakfast, and then painted.  It was the coolest “Artistic Expression” time I’ve ever had, mostly because it was directed.  We painted with watercolors a representation of how we see ourselves, and how God sees us.  When we shared afterward, it was a really cool time of seeing the other girls’ hearts in an open and safe setting.  Next, we had another session with the theme of Warrior Princesses, and then headed off to lunch. 

After lunch, a cool God thing happened that may not seem spectacular, but truly was.  A bunch of girls sat around in the cafeteria, and we ended up talking frankly and openly about real issues that usually get ignored or glossed over. It was a really safe time that led to prayer for each other and agreements to hold one another accountable in weak areas. 

When we left the cafeteria, we packed up a little before speed-bouldering.  I really wanted to go bouldering while we were there because, well, the boulders are right there!  We didn’t have a ton of time, so we literally ran from one set of boulders to another, climbed to the top, enjoyed the view, and climbed down.  It was fantastically fun!  Then, we got to do a little bit of the ropes course, which was also super fun.  It was physical play like kids do, except with adult-sized equipment, and I didn’t realize how much I needed it!  I got to swing like Jane on a rope. 🙂

We debriefed, cleaned the camp, got ready for Ladies’ Night Out, and cleaned some more before heading out.  It looked like the biggest bridal party ever in the bathroom.

[It really is a pity that this post is getting so long.  If you are still reading right now, congratulations!  I guess two fun-filled days make for one fun-filled post.]

Ladies’ Night Out

Ladies’ Night Out was amazing.  It was a night full of honor, appreciation, unspoken challenge, and grace. 

Honor

The guys from Embry Riddle and ASU did everything they could to honor us.  It started with valet parking (which I didn’t realize in time to take advantage of) continued with an escort in to a coronation for each of us, two at a time, complete with tiaras and a declaration of  “Princess Angela.”  What fun!  They fed us a delicious, authentic dinner of poached pear, chicken or beef, and the best peas I’ve ever eaten, and served cheese tarts (mmm!) for desert.  The entertainment was hilarious and encouraging, and included a video (of ER guys) reenacting a battle between the Evil Org and the knight.

Appreciation

The guys said over and over again how much they appreciated us.  They had a letter for each of us at our seat that said how much we bless them, and each letter had a hand-written verse (different for each girl) with it.  They put a lot of time and energy into the whole night, and I don’t even know the half of it.  We definitely felt appreciated.

Unspoken Challenge

I don’t know about anyone else, but I definitely felt gently challenged to be the woman God has called me to be, especially in my relationships with guys.  I’m not always sure how to do this, and I’m definitely learning a lot (like: don’t ignore them :P), but I want to do this better.  I want them to know that I see them being and becoming strong men of God, and I am blessed when they step out to do that in little and big ways.  It makes me want to follow, which is, I think, the way things are supposed to be.

Grace

I had heard about this from last year’s LNO, and the guys did it again this year.  They apologized for the ways that guys have misused and abused and not honored us as women.  Knowing what some of the girls in that room have experienced with guys, I prayed that it would sink in and that faith in God to renew guys just as He renews us would grow.  There was a lot of humility in that, and it was a mark of the grace of God in these guys’ lives.

So that’s that…what I could type up in a few minutes before church this morning.  Thanks to all the guys who made LNO possible.  Thank You, Jesus, for Your work in it all.  Be glorified!

Failure isn’t as bad as I thought it was.

And that’s what I learned yesterday and today.

I taught a lesson (twice) that another one of the first grade teachers wrote.  Looking back, there are some big changes in the format of the worksheet (a chart for students to fill out) that may have made things easier.  However, the biggest factor was the students’ need for modeling.  Modeling a totally new thing once is not enough.  They will not transfer and apply my measurement of a pencil with toothpicks to their own assignment to measure a book with paper clips. 

So in the middle of the lesson yesterday, as I saw that it wasn’t working at all, I stopped them, and spent the rest of the time showing them how to do it all over again.  Then, today, I modelled it again before allowing them to do it as groups.  They still didn’t all get it.  Oh well…we’ll try again on Thursday (the next day I’ll teach math).

The more important lesson for me, however, was not modelling for the students.  It wasn’t even learning that I could teach a lesson that didn’t go well, realize that in the middle of it, rework things, and still go on, though that was incredibly helpful and healthy. 

I learned that not doing it “perfectly” wasn’t as deadly as I’ve believed it was for my whole life. 

Don’t worry- I’m not changing my life around to start doing things wrong to see what happens.  I am still intend to do my best in what I do, and I enjoy pursuing quality.  However, I will (try to) allow myself the grace that God and other people (like my mentor teacher) allow me to grow and learn.

I taught the same lesson (not the same way) again today, and it went better.  I didn’t feel great about it, but that’s ok.  I’m ok.

Great (or not) internet and school times

Sunset in Hawaii

A shot taken by my dad this week in Hawaii.

Will It Blend? Find out…and be amused by all that the internet offers. Check out the i-pod and Dancing Barbies (**warning: slightly violent**).

At school today, I got to experience what I heard about ever single semester of my ed program: the referral to special ed testing. We had a meeting today- the pre-meeting of teachers- to decide to have the meeting to refer to testing. I hope that the testing will reveal some thing that will help the student. He’s a great kid.

In other news, I am planning a quick (as possible) trip to Goodwill on Saturday morning to look for some comfortable, nice looking teacher pants. I’d really like a pair of decent looking cotton pants…hopefully, not light khaki. I’ve been looking forward to this trip since before Christmas.

Finally, I’ve figured out that I’m not going to figure out exactly how the various components of my life are supposed to fit together right now. It’ll have to be one day at a time (which it should have been from the beginning).

Weather report: high of 70 today- back to perfect!

life update- first grade censors and Mexican weddings

Ah…it’s been far too long since I posted here. And, I’m planning to try to post slightly more regularly this semester, if only to have a record of student teaching that isn’t for my assignments. Besides, first graders say lots of funny things, and the two of you who read this might enjoy the laughs.

The latest:
Dancer Boy (and apparently censor-to-be): “Teacher, teacher!! When I grow up, I’m going to take all of those nasty David books and put them far away so no one can read them! They’re so nasty!”

“Those nasty David books” are books about a boy named David, written by David Shannon, that every kid between 3 and 8 loves. I also happen to like them. They are simple enough and repetitive enough that even kids who are just learning to read can read them, so they’re perfect for first grade. They have pictures of baby David with a dirty diaper and a picture of David running down the street, away from the reader, naked. Apparently, Dancer Boy doesn’t mind them too much, though, because he read one later in the day.

Away from school life, I spent last weekend in Mexicali for the wedding of two friends. It was SO FUN to be at a Mexican wedding among friends and my Mexico family, and I was struck by the involvement of the community in the wedding. There were at least five different couples who participated in the wedding and filled the first two rows of the church in addition to the parents. It was delightful.

Also, it is always cool to realize that these friendships were made because of missions trips, but have become deep friendships because of Jesus. No one but God could make that happen as well as it does.

Finally, the picture is the view from my Washington home in the snow this week. So beautiful!