Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Being gone...and Grades


When you’re a teacher, being gone is so much harder than going to work – even if you’re sick! I’ve been battling a sinus infection for weeks (months really) and went into the doctor (again) Friday afternoon. This time we are trying 3 weeks of antibiotics. Yikes! I’ve never taken so much medicine in my life. I decided to stay home yesterday and get some rest to aid in the recovery process. After today, I’m thinking I should have just gone to work!!! I feel like I’m so far behind – and our grades are due on Monday! Good thing we don’t have kiddos on Friday so I can get them finished up. We have Friday to work on grade cards and prepare for parent/teacher conferences.
Instead of plunging into another week of reading, we are taking that time to review and get some grade card testing done (running records, specific skill tests, etc.). I’m curious, fellow bloggers, do you do grades each nine weeks or just at semester? Do you set aside a week to do grade card testing or squeeze it into your schedule?
At my school, we do grade cards each nine weeks with conferences in the fall and spring. I seem to take more time for testing before conferences…guess I want to be prepared with plenty of data to back up the grades that I will be showing to parents.
One positive of being gone, my kiddos seemed so happy to see me this morning and gave me an extra jolly, “Good morning, Mrs. Ratcliff,” as I greeted them each at the door. That just makes me smile. J Of course, I missed them too and wondered how they were doing without me…though that could be because I am a bit of a control freak (I hesitantly admit).
Hope you have a blessed day!
Crystal

Monday, February 20, 2012

Super Teacher and Her Sidekick

Ok, so there is much debate about who is the Super Teacher and who is the sidekick, but we thought letting you in on this little inside joke would be a fun way to introduce ourselves…
Crystal says: A few years ago, I had returned to school to finish my teaching degree and was looking for a place to do my student teaching. I had been the secretary at my children’s school, but I wanted to branch out and make some new connections. I had heard great things about a nearby school and knew the principal from when I was in high school many – yes, many – years ago. I called him and he set up a day for me to observe in the building.
My first stop was Kristi’s classroom. It didn’t take 10 minutes to know that her classroom was the place to be! She was so animated and engaging that the students seemed to hang on her every word. It was also obvious that she loved those kids. That was important to me because when I worked as a secretary, my eyes had been opened to realize that not all kids were loved and cared for like I love and care for my own children. I wanted to be that person that they could depend on to be there every day and to love them. Anyway, I knew that I wanted to student teach with Kristi! The teaching program I completed would not allow us to request a specific teacher, only the building and the grade level. I turned in my request and began to pray. I had a couple of friends from church that knew Kristi, and they told me she didn’t want me (some silly reason of having the load of a combo class that next year – ha, ha)!
Kristi says: Ok, so as I have my principal come to me again after telling me that I would be teaching a combo class for the very first time in my life, he asks me if I would like to have a student teacher for a semester.  As we all know, having a student teacher usually means more work—more paper work, documentation, and time.  I’m thinking: Are you kidding me?  On top of a combo class, you want me to take on a student teacher? This poor student teacher is going to come into this combo class and see me try to teach it for the very first time.  Is this really going to be good for a student teacher to see???  Anyways, some of the other teachers in the building knew Crystal and told me how wonderful she would be, so with hesitation, I agreed to have her as my student teacher as long as she knew that it would be an unusual year and I couldn’t promise that it would be smooth.  She accepted—being the kind individual that she was.  It did prove to be an extraordinary and awesome year.  Crystal came in ready and excited to teach!  She was awesome….she was dedicated, worked hard and her love for kids shined.  She helped me throughout my first year with a combo class.  The year with the combo class proved to be a great, smooth year since Crystal was with me.  She was definitely a blessing!  The following year, she was hired on as my co-teacher!
Crystal says: Okay, fast forward to present day. So just before Christmas break, Kristi is showing me all these educational things she is thinking of doing that week and I say, “I don’t want to grade all that!” So that evening I tell my sweet husband about the conversation. He says, “You two really balance each other out. She is like the over-achiever, the super teacher, and you are…” He wisely stops himself and says, “This is not coming out right, is it?” Um…you think?
I was not really offended because Kristi is an amazing teacher. She puts in so much extra time to make her lessons interesting and engaging. She has the BEST classroom management I have ever seen (hope she will plan on sharing some of her great techniques on the blog soon)…some in our building even call her the “child whisperer.” In my mind, she is definitely the super teacher and I’m the sidekick – trying to learn as much as I can from her!
Kristi says: Crystal is definitely the Super Teacher in this scenario.  She loves kids and has so much excitement for teaching.  Every day she comes in with a smile and eager to get the day started with the little ones.  Her classroom is filled with excitement, involvement and kids who are eager to get into her class.  All the students love her and she has a great way of engaging all of her students in her lessons.   On top of all of this, her organizational skills are amazing!!  I, myself, have to try hard to keep up with her, due to her organization.  She is always on top of it and ready for the month or should I say the year…..I am constantly out of breath trying to stay at her speed and be as organized and ready as she is on a daily basis.  My co-teacher has come in and taught me so much about ways of teaching and working with a variety of students.  So, I would have to say that I win on the debate of her being the Super Teacher and me the sidekick!  
And so the Super Teacher debate continues… J
Thanks for checking out our blog. We have much to learn about blogging, but we are self-confessed blog stalkers and finally ready to take the plunge and join the fun!
Kristi and Crystal
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