Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesdays are probably my least favorite days of the week this semester. I have my science and math methods courses on Tuesdays at the downtown campus, and I also always seem to have a ton of homework to do on Tuesdays. I have to go to bed super early in order to be awake in time for placement on Wednesday, so all of my homework and dinner making and such gets squished into teeny tiny amounts of time.

Multiply that sense of panic when my weekend is already stocked with plans and activities which don't lend themselves to completing school work.

So you see, I need to find a way to make Tuesdays better. I need to find a way to focus on the positives and feel less stabby on Tuesdays. This is why I am going to try out a weekly blog posting called Happy Tuesday where I list good, funny, interesting things that happened on that particular day. I'm hoping that by consciously looking for things that make me happy I will me able to more easily brush off the things that make me want to punch people.

Today these things made me happy:
- playdough mustache pictures created by friends during science class
- my new doctor actually taking the time to talk to me and make me feel like she wanted to know me as a person rather than just a medical history chart.
- lots of those cute little brown finches were hopping around five points today and they don't fly away from me right away anymore.
- There was a seat available on the train this morning so I could sit and read on my way to class.

Friday, October 19, 2012

third grade

This week I began my practicum experience in third grade. I'm in the same school where I did my first grade practicum, so I don't have too much of a school culture adjustment. What I am finding though is that third grade is about a million times different than the other grades I've observed. The students have fully developed personalities and they are testing the boundaries of the classroom in much more obvious ways. I don't have a class full of sweet babies who spend the whole day trying to love on me, I've got a room full of sweet babies who are trying their best NOT to be seen as sweet babies.

In the two days I spent in the classroom we had some explosive situations and events which required really strong classroom management skills. Skills that I am still in the process of developing. There were tears, hurt feelings, and more drama than a Real Housewives episode. Never in my life would I have believed 8 year olds would experience such intense changes in attitude throughout the day. I figured they were still too young to begin experiencing the craziness that comes with trying to establish yourself as an individual.

Boy was I wrong.

However, all of this being said, I have never felt so alive and important and needed than I did over the last two days. There is a group of boys in particular that made me feel like dragging my butt out of bed and showing up that day was worth something to someone.

This is not to say that I didn't have similar feelings during other practicum experiences. I did. This experience feels different though. I'm not able to put my finger on why that may be just yet, but I am beyond excited to spend more time with these kids and find out.

Monday, October 8, 2012

painful eyeballs exhausted

There are two points during the typical semester when I really feel overwhelmed and stressed out: the midpoint and finals week.

Since entering the program I haven't had to deal with midterm or final exams too much. My professors seem to really enjoy giving big projects instead. Just this week I had two due and I've got another paper due tomorrow and a science project due next week. All of this in addition to lesson planning for the two days each week I teach and prepping for the transition to the next grade level.

It's a barrel of fun over here, let me tell you!

I got home from class tonight just about thirty minutes ago and I am so exhausted that my eyeballs hurt. So tired that my shoulders creep up into this tense kind of shrug without me even realizing it. So stressed that I compulsively check my homework app to see if I forgot an assignment. I really don't like feeling this way.

What I do like is learning a great new way to inspire a love of writing in a student. I love finding fun activities to make a subject come alive for students, possibly for the first time. I love the pride in a kid's voice when they tell me they asked their mom to buy them a box of rigatoni because we used it in class during a math lesson on shapes and graphing and they wanted to show their brother what they learned. I live for lightbulb moments and successful mystery walkers and laughter from the reading corner.

It is really really REALLY hard to stay focused on all of these things I love when I am so tired that I'm not sure I can spell my own name, but I have to. I have come to the realization that the workload in this program is intentional. This struggle between finding time to get all the work done and being alert enough to enjoy it is not going to magically get easier after graduation. Somehow, my friends and I must find a way to convert small bits of classroom joy into an efficient fuel to get us through rough patches.

Until then, there's always chocolate and back rubs from a very understanding and encouraging husband. :)