Friday, January 25, 2013

49 Cents

$0.49.  That's how much I made per child/per hour today.  I love when people compare teaching to babysitting.  Say I was babysitting today and made $8 an hour; a middle of the road rate in my opinion for babysitting.  Today I had 23 students in my class.  If I got paid $8 an hour for each of them I should have made $184 an hour.  Multiply that by the six hours I had these students today and I would have made $1,104.  That's a whopping $1,036 difference folks.  Now I am by no means saying I should have gotten paid that much to sub because that's an exorbitant amount however it puts things into perspective.  Not only am I required to watch them, care for them, be their nurse, their psychologist, and their referee, I'm supposed to be teaching them something too, remember?

Today's substitute placement was the one I've been dreading.... it was your typical horrific, out of control, counting down every minute placement.  I never thought I'd be the kind of person to say this but if I got called for this class I don't think I would accept.  And the absolute worst part of it all were the kids who WERE well behaved.  Their poor little faces just looked worried and so anxiety-ridden, I can't even imagine trying to learn in a place where you're worried about whether or not you'll have to be evacuated because someone else in your class is literally exploding all over the room.  One little boy came up to me at one point (when I'd finally quieted everyone down) and said his room was never this quiet.  He handed me a note which I didn't even read until the end of the day.  It read:

"You did a really good job, and I liked you as my teacher."

Commence tears.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stepping (or leaping!) into Subbing

It's been an awfully long time since I posted anything, but the last month has lacked in teaching stories because I haven't been teaching.  I finished up my student teaching placement December 14th, which was bittersweet for sure.  I was more than ready to (finally) graduate and get on with my life however I had the most perfect student teaching situation I could have asked for.  The teachers and administrators I worked with were incredibly supportive and there wasn't a single time I felt uncomfortable in that placement.  My students needs were varied and I was able to work with all kinds of students (behavioral, learning disable, Autistic, etc.) and I loved each and every one of them for different reasons.  Eventually I had to leave however and although I planned on subbing soon after I was excited for a bit of a break.

I'd been getting things together to submit a subbing application since the end of December and on January 16th, around noon, I submitted everything.  Incredibly just four hours later I had a phone call and was asked to sub in a classroom in Cranston the following day!! The teacher would actually be out for 3 days and I was offered (and accepted) all of them.  I've spent two days subbing now and while I still have a lot to work on I can at least say all of the students survived :)

Here goes a list of a few things I've learned:
1. Teacher assistants are weird.  I have two in this placement (it's a special ed. room) and while one is extremely helpful I feel like one is practically with holding information.... For example, a student asks to go to the bathroom, I let him, and after he leaves the room she informs me he doesn't usually go to the bathroom without another responsible student because sometimes he fools around.  Well why on earth wouldn't she have told me that before I let him go??  I understand she may be trying not to step on my toes but as a substitute who doesn't know anything about these students it seems silly not to step in at a time like that.

2. Don't form an opinion about a student until you've met them.  The first day I subbed one particular student was out, and everyone told me how lucky I was that I got to get used to the classroom without him.  At the ripe age of 11 this student was described as a "street thug" who was mouthy and had no respect for authority.  Needless to say I was crossing my fingers he was still sick the next day (as horrible as that sounds).  Friday rolled around and I heard from an aid that the student had returned. I made a decision that I would treat him kindly in hopes that I'd give him no reason to treat me poorly.  Well for one reason or another this street thug and I got along smashingly.  Everything I asked him to do was performed with a smile, or a "sure!" and I honestly couldn't believe that this was the student everyone warned me about.  Yes there were a few times he called out and interfered with another student when he should have minded his own business but he turned out to be my favorite student in the class.  The things he said were absolutely hysterical, and I finally had a student who understood my sarcasm!!  Just another reminder you shouldn't judge someone until you've met them.

3. When teaching in the city you live in, expect to know half the teachers in the building.  I kid you not, after two days in the building I found out that I have some sort of connection to 7 of the teachers/faculty working there.  You never know where a friend from elementary school's mother will pop up.

4. People get really surprised when you say you dropped your paperwork to substitute off less than 24 hours ago.  I guess I was right in thinking the turn around time there was pretty fast...

I'll keep you posted on the highs and lows of subbing... so far it's been a good experience but there are plenty of horror stories out there that you'll all have the pleasure of reading about :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book in the Making?

This semester I have the pleasure of working in the primary grades (Kindergarten-2nd) and although I have worked with second grade before my experience in Kindergarten and first grade is minimal.  Needless to say I never imagined I would be cracking up so frequently over the things these kids say.  I certainly wouldn't want to forget some of these one liners so may as well start writing them down.  Who knows, maybe I'll have a book one day.

"Miss Torres, your hair looks different today.  But that's alright, I still love you."
First grader commenting on my hair which by the way was in the same ponytail that I wear it in 2-3 times a week.

"You look just like someone I know.  She owns my cousin."
This little kindergarten students was adamant that someone actually owned his cousin.  I questioned him over and over thinking that maybe this girl babysat his cousin but to no avail.  I resolved the entire story by assuring him that I owned no one, so I wasn't the person he was thinking of.

"When you go to the bathroom you have to make sure you point your wiener at the toilet so your pee doesn't get all over the place."
In this first grader's defense I basically set myself up for this one.  At the beginning of the year we had quite a few toileting issues so I actually taught a mini-lesson on what to do when you go to the bathroom (I can't make these things up).  After going through all of the necessary steps I asked the group what some important rules were in the bathroom and well, this is what I got.  And the best part?  I couldn't even get mad, I was laughing so hard :)

"I have to draw my hairy bottom.  My mom says I got it from my dad, but I don't remember when he gave it to me!"
This one absolutely killed me.  If the parents of my students knew just how much I knew about them, they would be mortified!  This first grader was drawing a picture of himself (at the beach if I remember correctly) and narrated this key detail to me.  I love when things like this go right over their heads but crack us adults right up.

Kids do say the darndest things!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scootpad Anyone?

I've just stumbled upon something called Scootpad (thanks to pinterest and other teacher blogs!) I'm still figuring it out and trying to add students and figure out just what it does but was wondering if anyone else has used it? If so do let me know what works and what doesn't!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Intervention Activities

The school I'm student teaching in has a fantastic RTI program which I am thrilled to be able to experience.  At this time I'm implementing an intervention in Kindergarten and First Grade.  The kindergarten interventions are set up as centers therefore my activities need to be applicable to all of the students in the class whereas I'm working on a specific skill with five students in first grade.  I've been researching Pinterest and teacher blogs like crazy but love finding new ideas that the kids and I adore.  What are some of your favorite intervention activities?

Kindergarten Interventions:
Dice Fun:
Students roll one or two dice, count the number of dots, and color in the corresponding number.  I love that it can be adapted to different levels of learning, using just one die (1-6) for the low guys and amp up the difficulty for the smarty-pants of the class by using two dice (2-12).

Letter or a Number?
I took two pieces of card stock and labeled one with "Letter" and one with "Number".  Then I cut index cards in half and wrote all the letters of the alphabet as well as numbers from 0-20 on them.  Students sit in a circle with mats in the middle and one at a time pick a card, state if it's a letter or number, and then name it and place it on the correct mat.  I like this because it's constant repetition and the level of difficulty can be altered.  I focus on numbers 0-10 with the low groups and then ask the higher performing groups to say the letter sound, not just the name.

Counting Dinos
I took 11 styrofoam cups and put a number on every one (from 0-10).  Students pick a cup, reach into a bucket of plastic dinosaurs, and place the correct amount in each cup.  Enough cups could be used so each student has a set or students can rotate cups once they are finished.

First Grade Interventions:
I've "stolen" the first two
 activities from this site:

Sight Word Twister:
I have yet to actually implement this in class, but I LOVE it!! I think it would also be a great thing for a group of students to pull out during indoor recess.  There's not much to clean up afterwards and allows them some large body movement even though they're stuck indoors.

Sight Word Shake Up!
I'm absolutely in love with this activity and the kids love it too! They were so cute returning to class after we had used it, they immediately told everyone else how awesome it was.  I printed out the sight words each student was working on, laminated them, and slipped them into a water bottle.  I wasn't sure what was used in the example I saw but I filled the water bottles about 3/4 of the way with the aquarium gravel you can buy anywhere (I got mine at Walmart for about $1 a bag!!).  The kids shake the water bottle until they find a word, record it, and if they finish early pick two words to write in a sentence.  It can be a little noisy so we always go to a free room so we don't disturb others.