Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So Much More

Today, I experienced a first. One of my students stole a piece of candy from me. My candy jar sits on top of file cabinet behind my desk. It's open for all to see. I hand them out at certain times. My teaching partner walked in and saw the student getting something out of there. He hid it from him when questioned. I am furious. Those of you that know me, know it takes a lot for me to get upset to the point of yelling. I didn't yell. I actually told my teaching partner this while discussing it with him, "I'm so mad right now, I'm going to write a poem." So, this was the poem that I wrote while I was cooling off. I was so mad that I didn't even talk to the student the rest of the day and am saving the discussion for tomorrow so I can talk to him about it. Anyway, here's my poem that I wrote.

So Much More

It feels like a piece of me was taken.
It was only a small piece, but it feels like so much more.

Just a piece of chocolate,
a measly 5 cent piece of chocolate, you say?
Oh no.
It was so much more.
You see, we had built up trust.
Our trust was based on the fact that I had no reason not to trust you.
You had my trust when you walked in the door the first day.
But now, I feel like I can’t trust you at all.
Not only have you broken the trust of me, but the entire class as well.
Anytime something comes up missing,
even simple things like a pencil, or an eraser,  
who is everyone going to think is the person who took it?
Maybe the piece that you took was waiting to be given to someone who earned it?

It feels like a piece of me was taken.
It was only a small piece, but it feels like so much more.

I’m not mad at you.
I’m disappointed in the decision that you made.
Mistakes happen.
It’s how you respond to the mistake that tells about the character of a person.
The response makes all the difference.
You’ll have to earn my trust back.
I won’t give it to you easily or quickly.
You’ll have to work at it.

It feels like a piece of me was taken.
It was only a small piece, but it feels like so much more.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Trimester Ends, Basketball Begins, Negative News

It's another Saturday night. I'm chillin' at home thinking about things and watching some college football. Oregon and Stanford are on now and it's been good so far. I watched some college basketball earlier today as Butler squared off against Evansville in the Aces' new Ford Center Arena which looked pretty nice from the TV angles and whatnot. It felt good to watch some basketball on TV finally. I only have over-the-air channels so I'm pretty limited in my viewing of sporting events. Anyway, I liked seeing some good defense played today. I'm usually an offensively wired guy, but this year I've been more focused on defense and having players in the correct position. (While I'm on this - note to self - teach kids how to defend off-ball screens.) First game of the season on Monday.

On to classroom education related news, the student that I mentioned in my last post about being unmotivated has moved to a different school. Hopefully, the attitude changes at his new school and he can get back on the learnin' train because I feel he will be slipping lower and lower if something doesn't happen. I will miss his love of skateboarding. He talked to me almost daily about it. Speaking of moving schools, a different student had his last day in my class on Thursday. He is a very well-loved kid among all the students and teachers. I will miss him. A couple of students and their parents brought in a couple of gifts for him on his last day which was so nice of them. He absolutely loved all the attention he received. Sometimes, I wonder if everyone had his point of view how the world would be? He was always so happy. I hope I get a chance to run into him again one day.

The first trimester has ended and I gave all my students the grade that they have earned. Some students need to work harder, others need to not socialize so much, and others are doing a great job. So the process starts over. I'm ready to get back at it. I hope the students are as well. I sent out a survey to all my parents and the  response has been very positive. I would like to have some more participation on the survey from the parents. I might do a little bribing :) The positive comments are what keeps me going and pushing on.

In negative news, there is a reading committee task force that is meeting and making decisions for how our school and grade levels will proceed. Some things I agree with and others I do not. What bothers me the most is that I had this expectation of what a typical day would be like for me; teaching 2 subjects, reading and social studies + language arts. I have a feeling that I will also be teaching math as well in the future. I don't necessarily have a problem with this, it's just not what I think is the best way for me to make the biggest impact with my students. Yes, I understand that it looks like I don't want to do something because it will put more on my plate, but in all honesty, that is exactly what it is and I think it will have a negative impact on myself, which will in turn have a negative impact on my students. When I was filling a maternity leave, I taught all the subjects besides science. I felt totally overwhelmed and didn't feel that any of the subjects received my best work. I always felt I was rushed and every subject was getting about 20% worth of what it should be because I was always thinking about what was coming up next. This year, I have two subjects that I teach twice a day and end the day with language arts. In all of my teaching experiences, 8 weeks student teaching 6th, 8 weeks student teaching 4th, and almost a full semester of 5th, this year, 12 weeks into 6th grade, I feel the most comfortable and the most able to meet the needs of my students. I do not feel overwhelmed...besides what I do to myself because I do procrastinate a little :) I feel that I am mostly prepared every day to teach. Being an expert on one or two things is more beneficial than knowing a little about many different things.  In almost all of my college education classes, there was always a section that instructed us soon-to-be teachers on teaching for depth, or quality, versus teaching for quantity. For a little professional comparison fun, lets look at some other careers who do some sort of a specialization. Lets check out the medical field. Doctors. You get sick you head to your family doctor. They check you out. If any additional action is needed they send you to a specialist. Hand, eye, brain, surgeon, and so on. Same with dentists. There are orthodontists, oral surgeons, etc. Let's take a peak into a career that creates something, which is kind of what I think teaching can be linked to. Construction companies. Most of the time the same construction company is not going to do every single thing that is required to building a house. That's why there are excavators, plumbers, electricians, HVAC people, flooring installers, drywall hangers, painters, carpet layers, brick layers, cabinet makers, roofers, and of course the construction company is not going to move you in, so there is also the moving company. All of these little pieces of the puzzle are specialized units which contribute to the whole entity that eventually will become a house. Conversely, I imagine if you asked the electrician to hang the drywall, roof the house, and to do the plumbing, one, it would take that person a lot longer to get all of that done, two, it probably wouldn't be totally up to par with someone who specializes in each of those jobs and only does those specific things.  I love sports, I have coached basketball for a number of years. Let's look into the professional sports arena where players and coaches are earning money to support themselves and their families. You hardly ever see athletes competing in multiple professional sports. Yes, Deion and Bo and the ones that stand out, but Jordan couldn't even pull off the baseball thing. Lets look at coaching. Typically, there is an offensive and defensive side to most sports. Are there not specialized coaches for each side at the professional level. Within those sides of the ball, there are also specialized position coaches: running backs coach in football, pitching coach in baseball, post men coach in basketball, and throwing coach in track.  I also am a photographer. When I start talking about photography, Zack Arias, is one of my huge inspirations. He has said multiple times that you have to find your niche. You can't be a jack-of-all trades because you will never fully develop all of them into something that is worthwhile to shoot and create. My wife and I specialize in seniors and weddings. Of course, we do shoot other things, but we don't do them enough to be great at them. In my opinion, 6th grade, where some of the content is pretty heavy, teachers need to specialize to some sort. In the grade above, all the teachers are fully specialized. So when thinking of the transition from  6th grade to the 7th, there must be a huge, drastic amount of difference between teaching them, correct? I don't think so. The new common core standards deem that otherwise, at least in Reading/Language Arts. If the only thing that I don't teach is science, my students will only switch classes for one period. I don't think that is setting them up for success the next year when they will have 7 or so different teachers all in one day. It's more of a disservice I believe.  I've listed my personal reasons why I'm not in favor of this. Is it research-based? Probably not. I did my own personal research through my life's experiences.

In reading, we just finished a Jerry Spinelli lit circle. I was pretty impressed with some of the students abilities to understand the books through discussions. We will be overlapping some social studies this week and doing some Greek Mythology in reading. Next up is poetry. I'm really excited about this.
In SS, we are in a unit on Greece and will soon be into the Romans.
In Language, we are currently working on prepositions.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soreness and the Unmotivated

Sitting here watching the USC / Stanford game. All I have is over-the-air tv and I'm a little upset that I have to watch two teams from Cali instead of the Big Ten game of Wisconsin and Ohio State. One, because I really like watching the Wisconsin offensive line do their thing. Two, because I live in Big Ten territory (Indiana). Finally, three, because my Hoosiers are not doing too swell and at lease one team will win the Wisky/OSU game will have a winner wearing the color red. :) Come to think of it though, I am a little interested in this game because my beloved Indianapolis Colts are .........well.........not like my normal beloved Colts this year and Andrew Luck is the projected number one pick next year in the draft. Normally, the number one pick wouldn't have any business being drafted by the Colts, but this year, like I said, it's a not been a typical year for the Colts. Anyway, this past week has really worn me down. Every night this past week, I had something in the evening that wasn't there last week. I am an assistant basketball coach for the 8th grade team in my building and practice started this week. So that's another two hours after school that I have that's new. Side note - I love basketball. I have been an assistant coach for the varsity/jv team in some fashion at the school where I graduated high school from the past 9 years. I am pretty excited about the guys that have made the team. They seem really receptive to instruction and they work hard. I'm trying to get a feel for how the head coach is going to run things in practice and when I can insert my voice in to the conversations. I'm looking forward to a good, productive season based on daily improvement. On Wednesday, I went to a David Crowder Band concert with a good friend. John Mark McMillan, Chris August, and the band Gungor also performed. It was totally amazing and I'm so glad I went. The only problem for me was that it started at 7:30 and ended at 11:30. I got home around 12:45. It made for a late night, but that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was that there weren't any chairs for the fans of the concert. So, yes. 4 hours of standing at the concert + 2 hours of basketball practice on my feet + a full school day as well made for some pretty sore feet, legs, and knees. I was tired, so I decided to go into school on Saturday and get caught up. Plus, I have a sub on Monday, because I have a reading/language arts curriculum meeting. I had to get all of that stuff ready as well. I despise getting sub plans ready. I feel it's necessary, but so time consuming. Plus, our schedule is kind of out of whack on Monday due to Halloween and the kids dressing up like Eerie Illnesses. Other than being really tired and my feet really sore, it was a pretty good week.
I'm still in amazed wonderment of the staff that I get to work with. They make me want to come to school  everyday. Also, my kids are really good and them make the school day go so fast because of their eagerness to learn and do get better. On Monday, my kids will be taking their Acuity diagnostic tests for SS. I'm a little nervous about this, because I feel that some of the questions are too specific about some things. I think in SS, kids need to see the big pictures and not necessarily the small dinky things that mainly just come back to memorization about key things. Anyway, it is what it is, so it be what it be.
Something I'm struggling with is one student who honestly could care less about anything in school. He doesn't want to do anything. Asks questions like "Why do we have to do this?" "Why do we have homework." "Why this?" "Why that?" He really has zero motivation to do anything school related. He really likes skateboarding, so I try to incorporate some of that type of stuff into our conversations. He did do some great work the other day when some of his lit circle group was helping him. I emailed his mom and told him that he had did awesome that day! I figured he would maybe start putting forth a little more effort. Alas, he didn't. Gotta figure out another strategy.......


Saturday, October 15, 2011

We're all Connected

 In band class this week, my students had some trouble focusing on whatever the band teacher had planned for them to do that day. It has been a common recurrence so far this year on Friday when they have that special.  This Friday, before they went, I reminded them about making a change for the better. I went to pick them up from band and when I got there I found out that not much had changed. Apparently, some of them crossed the line from being funny into being more of a distraction to others and because of the distractions they didn't, as a class, get to play their trumpets. When they returned to our classroom we had a good discussion about how our actions always have some sort of reaction. Whether positive or negative there is a reaction to it. The reaction that my class had was that they didn't get to play the trumpets. They were upset about it. Also, the discussion in the band room went over their time in band by 10 minutes. So, what did that end up meaning? It meant that when they got back to go to science they were late by 10 minutes. Which in turn, made my teaching partner's students who come to my class for social studies at this time, late as well. We talked about how everyone is connected in one way or another, and how we are all linked as one. During this time, we should have had a Free-Write-Friday in Language Arts while we watch our student led news show production on our projector. But, we couldn't. I think it really opened some of their eyes to have a broader view than just themselves.
I watched this today. I got inspired. You should too. 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review Games

I put together a review jeopardy-like game for the Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec over the weekend. I learned something that I need to share. When doing a game, make sure that each table group is also involved in trying to obtain the answer as well. I was really focused on the table that was trying to get the answer, but the other tables were just chit-chatting about nothing while one table was working to get the answer. So, I'm going to let the other tables score points as well if they get it right.

It worked well. The second class I had went a lot smoother.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Drive Motivation

Interested in motivation? A whole book on what motivates you, Drive by Daniel Pink, summed up in a 10 minute "sketch." Pretty interesting. It all boils down to being a part of something larger than yourself and having a purpose that extends far beyond yourself, more of a giving back to help further mankind. Humans have this thing people want autonomy, or the ability to do what you want. I think this is true. I want control over my life and I imagine you do too. No one really likes being told what to do. People also want to continually get better, AKA, mastery. The way I think is that I always want to get better than the day before. Do I succeed in this every day? Of course not, but I still try.  I have a student who has a "man crush" on the Oregon Ducks football team. Yesterday, he had traced/drew the Win The Day logo that they have incorporated into their football culture. Here it is for you to see.
Oregon's Win The Day
I asked him what it meant and he gave me a pretty good answer to the real deal and I talked to him about it to see how could apply it to his own life. He said it was basically, just doing your best and trying to "win the day" and not let the day beat you. This is mastery in action.  Finally the third thing that motivates individuals is that people want to be a part of something larger than their self and to have a purpose that extends far beyond yourself, more of a giving back to help further mankind. Really interesting. I suggest watching it.

Here's the embedded video for you to watch.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Progress Reports

It's Friday night. I'm sitting on the couch. I have graded some papers while watching some high school football and Blue Bloods tonight. I've also planned most of my week besides language arts. I know I'm going to teach simple and compound sentences next week, but I'm just not sure about how to do it yet. On Mo.nday, we're going to review for a social studies unit test over the Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec civilizations. I need to make some sort of review game. I'm thinking I need some sort of jeopardy game to review. We had a map test today over the countries of Central America. A couple of students bombed these 7 countries. It really behooves me how they did this. They had about 5 minutes 4 straight days to basically memorize the 7 countries while studying. We went over some sort of an acronym that they could use to help them remember the first letter of every country. We went in order from West to East. Goats (Guatemala) Bowl (Beliz) Every (El Salvador) Hour (Honduras) Near (Nicaragua) Crazy (Costa Rica) People (Panama). This saddens me that some of the students didn't do too well. What happened? I don't know.

In reading, we finally finished Tuck Everlasting. To demonstrate their learning and understanding of the book, the students had the opportunity to choose things off a menu. The menu was an idea from a fellow teacher. (Side note - Seriously, I can't tell you enough how awesome my team is.) The students seemed to really get involved into these projects. The only problem I ran into was that I would have to grade each of my students' projects. They each had to do 3 projects. 3 projects x 30 kids in a class x 2 classes = around 180 projects to grade. I didn't really think that though :) So, I let the students decide which one they think they did the best effort. I still need to grade these, along with their similarities and differences paper that they wrote comparing the book to the movie.

Other things I need to do is finish grading their biographies that they presented to the classes earlier this year, get my progress reports, data binders, and students' goals finished. I also need to have my S2S meetings with my students as we discuss their individual goals with me.

I'm so thankful for the people that I work with.

Till next time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Zoom Focus

Zoom Focus

This is a great, great read from Jon Gordon.

Zoom Focus

September 25th, 2011 Posted in General

“Vision without Execution is hallucination” – Einstein

I believe every one of us has a desire to accomplish great things, to do something meaningful, to have an impact. Yet, so many of us don’t take the actions necessary to create the success we desire. Then there are others who are very busy taking actions but the actions have nothing to do with their vision and goals. They’ve become lost in the busyness of life.

In my work with sports teams, businesses and organizations I have found that the key to individual and team success is to Zoom Focus. Zoom Focus helps you turn ideas and goals into reality and results. Zoom Focus helps you focus on your priorities, execute, and create success. Zoom Focus helps you take daily steps towards your big picture vision.

Now more than ever it is a time for action. It is a time for getting things done. It is a time to tune out the distractions and the noise from the doomsdayers and the naysayers and focus on what truly matters and what truly will help us create success. In this spirit here are a few ways to put Zoom Focus to work for you and your team.

Create your Big Picture Vision – This might be a goal or a dream. It might be a project that needs to be completed or a sale you are trying to close. It might be a company objective or a team mission. It might be a book you want to write, an initiative to improve your community, or a championship you want to win. Identify your vision and then you’ll be ready to Zoom Focus and take the necessary actions to get you there.

Ask One Question – Each day when you wake up in the morning ask the question, “What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?” Then each day take action on those three things.

Tune out the Distractions – Turn off the television. Stop answering the phone. Don’t answer the email right now. Talk to your friend later. First, get things done. Execute, accomplish and then feel free to embrace the distractions.

Say No and Yes – My friend once told me, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” He reminded me that we need to stop scattering our energy and wasting our time on trivial things that have nothing to do with our vision and goals and start saying yes to our priorities and to what truly matters. Each day we must make choices and those choices including saying “no” to people and opportunities so we can say “yes” to the work we are meant to do and the success we are meant to create.

Focus on Daily Improvement – I see it in sports all the time. Teams focus too much on winning the championship and forget to Zoom Focus each day in practice. They are outcome focused not process focused. The key is to focus on improving each day and take the necessary action steps. If you incrementally improve each day, each week, each month, each quarter by the end of the year you’ll see remarkable results and growth. When you Zoom Focus on the process the outcome takes care of itself.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I'm sitting here on a Sunday night on the couch watching TV with my wife as she is eating ramen noodles. I'm prepared for tomorrow besides running some copies in the morning before school. It feels good. I spent some time with my family this weekend, which was nice also. It's starting to feel like fall, which is my favorite part of the year. Mainly because of the cool weather, but also because of the colors. I don't like hot weather at all. I sweat a lot. I get miserable. I like sitting around a fire on a chilled night. 

Anyway, moving on to things educationally related. I feel that I am settling into my role this year and it's feeling nice. A lot of the people that know me ask how I like my job and the only thing that I can say is "Great!" and that I am really enjoying my students and working with the other 6th grade team teachers. I feel very comfortable with them and it feels like we have known each other for a long time. The best part is that they share these amazing projects/menus/resources with me just because they want to and they want our team to be successful. I use a lot of their stuff and tweak it a little to my liking. I try to share when I think I have something good to share, but their giving is a lot more than my giving right now. I hope that one day I can give back to others as much as they have helped me. 

In reading, we're finishing up Tuck Everlasting. I'm excited to see what my students have come up with to share about their understanding of characters, theme, and setting. They were given a menu to pick projects from. (Side note-another amazing thing I got from my team.) I have seen some of them so far and they are looking really great and are showing good evidence of understanding. I think we'll do a gallery walk of all the projects to showcase all the work. I need to make sure I bring my camera that day. We're then going to do some things on understanding context clues and some Scope Magazine activities to finish out the week as we take a break from novels.

In social studies, we just finished a little unit on culture. It's something that we'll refer back to constantly throughout the year. The students did well on their vocab test over the terms. We did a "Write It, Draw It, Define It" activity and vocabulary dominoes on the vocabulary words. We're going to be starting a unit on Mexico and Central America...the Mayas, the Incas, the Olmecs, etc. 

In ending this week, I had something told to me that has really lifted my spirits. One of the students in my class has a relative that lives next door to her that I see pretty occasionally because she works with my wife. I was asking her how the student in my class is liking/enjoying school. She says that she is really enjoying it and she says that she is learning a lot. The best thing that she said is that even though we are having a lot of fun, we are learning too. This makes me feel great!!! It's not the fact that she is enjoying school, but the fact that she knows that she is learning things, while at the same time having fun. She seems to enjoy all the projects and learning activities that we do, but I'm more impressed that she understands that she is learning through the activities that we are doing and that school and learning can be fun and not just boring. 

I'm leaving you (I'm acting like someone actually reads this, hehe) this week with a quote I found - 
‎"The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher." Elbert Hubbard - I feel that this is something that I strive to do. If a student can be taught how to learn on his own then the possibility of gaining knowledge is infinite. 

Have a good week! 


Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 3 Down

We finished up this week talking about literary devices and making posters that will be displayed in the room. I feel there needs to be a little more teaching about them for the students to show mastery of them.
In Social Studies we took a quiz/test over latitude and latitude. I feel most of the students did very well on this and can now find things on a map. I had a lot of students absent of Friday so I'll have them make up their tests on Tuesday.
If felt good to have a day off on Monday since it was Labor Day. I took some time to relax this weekend. Did some grading and got caught up for the most part.
I have a meeting with the principal this week to talk about my quality in the classroom and to set some goals for this year. I need to take some time to do this anyway because without goals, I have no direction and I'll end up spinning in circles.
On Saturday, I was able to see my Hoosiers play Ball State in Lucas Oil Stadium. I was pretty disappointed in the execution of a lot of things. I think they'll get better, but I was hoping for a better bright spot.
Here's to a good week of learning and excitement of a 4-Day week.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2 Weeks In

It's Saturday morning. I was trying to sleep in a little. Alas, that did not work. I woke up at my normal time. So I've decided to blog. My first 2 weeks has been great. I have laughed constantly working with my team. I am totally enjoying going to school everyday.

My students took a beginning of the year reading inventory test earlier in the week. I finally got a chance to look at their scores. Some of their scores surprised me one way (good) or another (lower than expected). But once I was able to see their scores, some of my questions were answered. Knowing their scores, I feel I am better able to meet their needs as learners. I think that last sentence sounds a bit cliche' and overused, but it is true. I think of those types of tests as tools to inform my teaching. 

In reading, we're reading as a class Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. I'm liking it. I also think the kids are really enjoying it and are engaging in meaningful conversations about the book during discussion time. The students are filling out a packet as we read through the book. 

In social studies, we finished up our section on Canada. I'm not going to lie, I learned a lot about Canada during these weeks. We ended the week with a map multiple choice test over the provinces and territories. I have not graded them, but I think they will all do well. We're going to start latitude and longitude/GPS and GIS on Monday.

In language arts, the students have interviewed a student from a different room and will be writing biographies about them. I'm interested to see where they take these. We did go over some clever beginnings to use instead of the boring "Hi. I interviewed ________. Their favorite things are (insert blah, blah, blah here)." I need to make up my personal editing sheets and my peer editing sheets for them to use when editing. 

Keeping it real - we do a lot of group work, paired work, etc. I asked them why they think we work in groups and this was some of their responses - "It helps us to work on teams with others because when we grow up we'll have to do that." "So we cooperate with everyone." "That way we can share ideas with others so we understand better." "Maybe we came up with close to the same answers, but someone has a different view on it and it might change the way we thought about it." etc. etc. I wondered if they had had this questioning before or not, but it doesn't really matter because they understand the value of learning from others. The only problems I have is when they want to work with others that kind of hinder their educational process. :) So I just modify groups, or give stipulations on what type of groups you can have. (not all boy groups or all girl groups, give an appointment sheet of specific times and who they can meet with, etc, etc). 

Things to work on...
  • Every student responses - I tend to ask something. 4-5 students raise their hands. Those kids are the only ones engaged and thinking. I need to work on this. It's more of a habit type thing, but it can definitely be improved so that everyone student is engaged in the learning. (think, pair, share type stuff, 20 seconds to tell  your partner what you think about something, etc)
  • Making things meaningful. I needed a 5 minute time filler after we finished our map test on a Friday afternoon until we switched classes with my partners classroom for my students' science lesson. It was a quick thing/activity on Canadianisms. The kids thought it was interesting, but they probably didn't learn much and it probably wasn't too standards-based. 
  • Planning - plan ahead, plan extra, be prepared daily.
  • Getting up my goals on the bulletin board so the students know what they are working towards
  • My personal/professional goals for this school year and my meeting with the principal about them. 
  • Putting together my and the students' data binders. 
Can't believe it's been 2 weeks in. It's flown by. My motto for this year I think is going to be.
Where are we going? How are we going to get there? What is the best way that students are going to learn the material? What am I going to do to improve next time?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Week Finished

It's Sunday night. I'm prepared for Monday. This last week has been so exciting for me. I have learned all my students' names and a lot of things about them. I am really enjoying myself. The support that I have behind me is absolutely tremendous. To be given a curriculum guide that has already been laid out for me has been a great help. I know what I need to be teaching around a certain time. It really helps with planning and preparing for classes.
A couple of things I need to improve -
  1. Organization - I need to get things in folders and filed away
  2. Procrastination - This will probably always be on my list of things to improve just because it's just me I guess. 
  3. Think about the future more. Like - where we are going, when we are doing it, how are we going to get there.
I wouldn't be where I am without the help of those around me. Everyone walks on the shoulders of those who come before us or work beside us. I have been taken under the wing of amazing people. I just hope I am able to give as much back as they have given me.
Well, here we go onto week 2, where the real learning and teaching is going to take place. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Week

I have one week until my school starts. I have been through orientation at my school and have met my teaching partner. I'm excited to work with him. I'm thrilled to work with the rest of team also.
Here's a picture of my room without anything done to it.

Here we go! Let the decorating and planning begin!!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How Precious Life Is

As I'm finishing up my last week at work, I'm grateful for the fellow employees that I interact with on a daily basis. I'm grateful for the hard work that they do in producing screen printed/embroidery garments and making my separations look good. For the most part I work with about 10 people in the "office," but I interact with around 40 people a day. They range from embroiderers, film cutters, screen retensioners, screen burners, printers, shippers, catchers, off loaders, and many more. One of the neatest things about screen printing is that every step along the process is dependent on the others to do their job.  The accountability factor is definitely there. If you don't do your job, the rest of the process goes down the drain. My job as a separator is key to getting things right the first time, so we don't have to go back and redo some things after it's already been set up on press. It feels like a team. Even though this is my last week there I have learned not only about work, but more than anything I learned about life.
One thing I learned is that there is more important things than work. I like to work. I like my job. I like the people I work with. I like my wife better though and spending time with her is more important than work. With my job, I can pretty much leave work at work. When I come home, I don't have to think about it. I typically leave home at around 7:45 and I get home around 6:30. They can be long days. Some days are longer than that, others are tad bit shorter, but I like being at home with my wife more.
I learned about trust. Gary, the production manager, put a lot of trust in me to carry the work load. I always felt like he had my back, even if something wasn't perfect. We would work towards solutions instead of complaining about it. I learned a lot from him as I would always be asking him a lot of questions.
I learned how to talk with people. I know this sounds weird, but I had to meet a lot of people and interact with a lot of people. I learned how to have meaningful conversations with them.
I learned that everyone has dreams. Some people never get an opportunity to reach them. Some people get lucky and get an opportunity to follow and reach them. I can't believe the support I received in return from my coworkers when I told them I was going to be teaching. Most of them were so incredibly happy for me. Some shared with me the their dream and what they wanted to do with their life. I'm not sure how everyone working there ended up there, but I don't think most of them started on their journey when they were in high school and said "I want to burn screens when I grow up." We all ended up their through one way or another. Some of them will probably be there for a long time. Is this bad? Of course not. Like I said earlier, work is work. I like my family more.  When one of my coworkers said that an English teacher he had in high school told him he should become a teacher and that was something he always wanted to do, but he never pursued it, I felt horrible for him. Here I am, getting an opportunity to teach and do something that I want to do, while he is working in an 120 degree heat index room mixing up some ink. He says he wants to pursue education. I told him he should at least try. Get your prereqs done. Do it. Today is always the right time to follow a dream.
All this kind of needs to be summed up as Make An Impact, Make a Difference, or Add Value to Others.
The title of this post is "How Precious Life Is." I haven't talked much about it, but I'm circling back. Another coworker told me this week his best friend had passed away the night before. His exact words was "He's been my best friend since we were in diapers." Man, I felt horrible for him. He was really down, just as anyone would be who lost his best friend. So, this is how I got on this preciousness of life topic. The guy wasn't very old. He was in his low 20s. How precious is life and time?! What type of things should we pass on to others? How quickly can someone's life pass by! We're not on this earth a very long time, but we're here long enough to make a difference in the lives of others. I hope I can do that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Job

I recently have been offered and accepted a position teaching 6th grade! I'm totally pumped and excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to working with some great teachers and individuals. I feel blessed beyond measure for the work that God is doing in my wife and I's lives right now. During the time between finishing up my maternity leave and accepting this new offer I was blessed with a job that could pay our bills. I worked as a screen print production artist at a large contract printer. I have background in design and screen printing that I gained from working at a screen print and awards business while I was going to school to become a teacher.  I need to start planning for the upcoming year. I need to see my room and start getting some stuff for it. I need to start thinking about materials I will need. Some of these questions will be answered in the coming week because we are getting together as a team with the principal and going over teaching responsibilities for the upcoming year. I'm intrigued about my teaching partner and getting to meet him.  I'm looking forward to this year and finally settling down into my own classroom.

Among other news. My wife and I are also photographers who focus mostly on weddings and senior portraits and last night we had the opportunity to shoot one of my college classmate's wedding and got to see a lot of my old classmates and friends. I can't believe it has been 4 years since we all met and 2 years since we graduated together. Some of us have not went into education full-time and some of us have not, blazing their own trails. The job market for teachers in Indiana is not too hot currently and I feel incredibly lucky to have received an offer.

I'm looking forward to this year.