sometimes I wonder.

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Sometimes I wonder why I chose a job that is literally never EVER finished. I mean, sure. We get summers off and I technically could leave at 3:30 every day, but in reality? A teacher’s job is never done. Always thinking. Always planning. Always grading. Always trying.

Why didn’t I choose one of those jobs that I could really leave at work? Something that wouldn’t take over my life?

Sometimes I wonder why I chose a job that requires me to get up soooooo early. 5 a.m. wakeup calls are the absolute worst. Every stinking morning. I’ve never been a morning person and it’s not looking like that’s changing any time soon.

Why can’t schools start at 9? 9:00 is a much more civilized hour.  

Sometimes I wonder what it will be like when we have children. Can I do this job well and still be a good mom? How on earth will I manage it all?

How can I possibly find the energy to do both? 

Sometimes I wonder what my students will remember about me. That crazy math teacher who danced around and told stupid jokes.

Will they remember my smile? The way I laughed at the hilarious things they said? The way I believed in them? Those bad days when I yelled at them because they just.wouldn’t.shut.up? 

Teaching is tough, y’all.  But it’s wonderful all at the same time. I chose this job because I wanted to make a difference–and making a difference is almost never easy. But it is almost always worth it.

Help me, Lord.

One month.

Y’all. I have officially taught for 4 weeks.

So basically, I’ve got it all figured out.

KIDDING.

Really, it’s just the opposite.

You know all those people who said that the first year of teaching was really hard?

Well, they weren’t exaggerating. At. All.

It’s pretty humbling to be so crazy excited & full of ideas, only to realize that you still have SO MUCH to learn. I want to be a great teacher, but most days I feel like I’m just barely keeping my head above water. I want to make a difference in students’ lives, but I wonder if I’m getting through to them at all.

It’s hard being new. Trying to make some teacher friends. Trying to prove myself. Trying not to look like an idiot. Trying to not let the students get to me.

Teaching is not for wimps. And there are days when I wonder if I can actually do it.

There have been tears. Lessons that didn’t go as planned. Students sent to the office. Test grades that were awful. [That time I totally messed up a diagram during notes].

But there also have been good times. When a student told me I was their favorite. When a teacher told me that students were talking about me… in a good way. 🙂 When my first evaluation went well. When we all laughed and had fun during Rainbow Logic & Kahoot!.

So, basically? TEACHING IS SO FREAKING HARD. And I’m already exhausted just thinking about going back tomorrow.

But I’m going to keep trying. Because I know it’s worth it. And I know that nobody starts out being great at anything. And I know that students who need love the most are often the hardest to love. And because I want to know if this teaching thing EVER gets any easier.

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my first week.

While we were eating dinner on Friday night, and my husband asked me an awesome question.

If you had to pick 2 words to describe your first week, what would they be? 

The first word came quick, I didn’t even have to think.

EXHAUSTING.

All the teachers out there know exactly what I mean. By Friday afternoon, I was basically a zombie. The walking dead. I didn’t even know my own name.

YES. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I didn’t have to think very hard about the second word either.

FULFILLING.

I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And I feel incredibly grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity.

To teach. To touch lives. To be an encouraging light. And to do math!

Basically, after my first week of teaching I’m feeling all the feels. Here’s a brief rundown.

  • It was H.A.R.D. Most of the time I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.
  • At one point, I said the EXACT WRONG THING and completely confused my Precal class. And well, I felt pretty stupid.
  • The previous teacher in my position was what some might call a legend. He was there for over 25 years. He was pretty tough, but most of the students respected and admired him. That’s kind of intimidating and difficult to follow. And I can tell already that a fair number of my students are more than a little skeptical of me. That new teacher. She is verrrrrry different. 
  • The “Math is like…” activity from @MrOrr_geek was a huge hit. The administration and the English teachers loved it! My students did an awesome job with it and really surprised me with their creativity. I’m planning to post about it soon. 🙂
  • I’m super lucky. Fortunate. Blessed. Whatever you want to call it. I could not ask for a better school to begin my teaching career in. The administration is fantastic. The teachers are the real deal. I’m really thankful to be in such a positive place where I’m encouraged to be creative and do my best.
  • My first week of plans could have been an advertisement for Illustrative Math. I love how easy it is to find activities that match the standards!
  • All the praise hands for #MTBoS!!!!! I can’t say this enough.  I couldn’t have survived the first week without y’all.
  • Also, my feet hurt.

my classroom.

While I’m busy making plans for my FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL, I wanted to take a break and share a few photos of my classroom. I’ve still got some work to do… and maybe even some rearranging… but I’ve been having fun making it my own.

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A sweet friend of mine made this gorgeous door hanger! You can have one too. 🙂 AbbyChicCo

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These are the positive classroom norms from Jo Boaler.

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The standards for mathematical practice.

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My “happy wall” behind my desk.

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Y’all are awesome banner —  a spot for displaying student work & other fun stuff.

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Word wall — hoping to add to it as the year goes on. Also, I used the number line that Sarah linked to on her blog Math = Love. (PLus she has a vertical one too!) Super easy to print out and hang up!

Horizontal Number Line. 

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The view as you walk in the door… My back corner looks a little cluttered, so I want to work on that.  But otherwise, I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂

(I need to take another picture from the back of the room. I’ll try to add that next week!)

I’m official. I have a name tag.

It’s the little things in life. It really is. Who knew that a little plastic name tag with an incredibly grainy photo could be so exciting?!

It says, “Math Teacher”. So I guess that’s what I am. It’s official.

I. Am. A. Math. Teacher.

 

I just finished my first day of new teacher orientation and can I confess something to you really quick? I’m one of those nerdy people who likes meetings.

I know… 

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We are super annoying.

 

Regardless, today was really fun. I loved being around some fellow bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, naive, stars-in-our-eyes, brand spankin’ new teachers. It just felt right. And made me feel less uncool (double negative?) for being so excited about this new endeavor.

And yes, we talked about lots of overwhelming paperworky details that kind of made my want to stick a needle in my eye, but overall I’m feeling good.

I’m thrilled to have this opportunity. So fortunate to work with people who really care about the students. Blessed to get paid to do something that matters. Something I love. And I’m pumped it’s FINALLY time to get started and see all that this year holds.

 

You know that feeling you get when your click-click-clicking up a roller coaster at the very beginning? Right before you’re about to take off? You’re kind of scared. Definitely excited. You’ve got some butterflies, for sure. But still you can’t seem to wipe the smile off of your face?

That’s the way I feel right now.

I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a wild, humbling, crazy beautiful ride.

Until next time, math nerds. 


 

I’m participating in #MTBoSBlaugust this year, and it’s pretty awesome. I’m hoping to blog at least twice per week during the month of August, and hopefully document some of the ins and outs of my very first month of my very first year. It’s exciting stuff, people. And thanks SO MUCH to all the kind teachers of the #MTBoS who have been so encouraging and helpful as I prepare for this adventure.

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first day fun.

 

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I’ve been thinking A LOT about my first first day of school–and thanks to the trusty interwebs I’ve found tons of great ideas. Dan Meyer really came to the rescue and put the word out for me. (How cool is that?!).

So, after doing a significant about of internet exploring/stalking, these are some of the ideas I’m going to try to incorporate into my first day.

 

As they come in…

Math is like ____ from @MrOrr_geek. I love this idea. I want to encourage my students to get creative and also get a read on their mindsets about math. I’m thinking I’ll give them bright colored sticky notes and then display them on a poster or something.

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This makes me laugh.

Next up…

Who I Am from @ddmeyerI may tweak this sheet a little bit, but I love the idea of letting my students tell me about themselves. Some teachers suggested keeping them and handing them back at the end of the year to see how much the students have changed. That sounds like fun!

 

Now let’s DO SOME MATH. 

Handshake-NetworkSupreme Court Handshake from @NCTMIllumI love this problem. There are so many different ways to attack it! I think it will be a great opportunity for the students to begin problem solving in groups and maybe talk about the Standards for Mathematical Practice.  I’m even thinking about having them act it out… depending on time.

 

Classroom Expectations. 

I copied @mathycathy (she has tons of great ideas here) and created a video with VideoScribe using their free 7-day trial. I’m not quite sure when I want to show it… but I do like that the video makes it kind of fun.

 

Exit Slip.

I want them to write me a note. I’m going to give them an index card and tell them they can use it to tell me anything they want. I’m hoping this will give students to open up, if they need/want to. Should I be more specific with the prompt??

 

Other Good Stuff.

I also really liked this. Talking Points & Math Mindset from @MathMinds. 

And this. First Day with Make it Stick, Plickers, & Jo Boaler from @jreulbach(I’m thinking I might have them read the Make it Stick for homework and then discuss it first thing on day 2. I can hear them already. “Reading? In Math??” I know. Lock me up.)

 

Things I’m not sure about. 

Timing. We’re on block schedule, so I’ll have about 90 minutes. I’m not sure what all I will have time for, but I’m going to have some backup ideas planned in case things go faster than I think.

Talking about group roles. This is super important, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time to address that day 1. Is that a bad thing? No idea. I’m thinking we could talk about it on day 2 after they spent some time working in groups on day 1. We shall see…

Exit slip prompt. Should I be more specific? I want to give the students freedom to say ANYTHING, but I’m afraid if I’m too vague they’ll say NOTHING. Thoughts?

 

 

My first day is August 8th. SO SOOON! When’s yours? What are you planning on doing?? I’d love to know. 

Hoping, dreaming, & planning for year 1.

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People! I have a job. And a classroom. And students who will be my responsibility this year. (What??!!) My world is about to look completely different in just a few short weeks.

It almost doesn’t feel real. I’m pinching myself on the regular.

But I’m excited. And I’ve been thinking A LOT about this upcoming year, and wanted to share some things that are on my heart and on my mind.

  • More than anything, I want my students to know that I care about them.
  • I want to care less about making a name for myself, and more about making a future for my students.
  • I want to steer clear of the Negative Nancys. Negative attitudes are super contagious, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • I want to take time to reflect. I’m not sure if I’ll do this weekly or biweekly, but I know that I will need to take time to think about how things are going and how I could improve. I don’t want to get so busy that I forget to think.
  • I don’t want to take myself too seriously. Yes, I’ll probably make a fool of myself from time to time. But I’ll live.
  • I want to stay true to myself. I’ve heard it said that, “teachers are pleasers”, and I’m definitely a pleaser. BUT — I don’t want to be afraid to gently rock the boat and stick to what I believe in.
  • I want to work hard and stay organized. Pretty vague, I know. But I’m hoping these things will take more shape as I get started.
  • I don’t want to be afraid to ask for help. I want to model for my students that asking question is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • I want to remember to give myself grace. I’ve got big dreams and plans, but I’m not naive enough to think that this year isn’t going to be really hard at times. I want to remember that I’m new and I’m learning, and I’m going to make mistakes.
  • And I want to have fun. Life is way too short to not smile, laugh, and get a little crazy sometimes.

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