Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blast From the Past

After school ended today, I was packing things up in my classroom when my classroom door opened. In walked three high school boys, two of whom I knew and the third looked familiar, but I never had him as a student.

The first one who walked into the room said, "Hello, Miss Grivna. Do you remember me?" in his slight German accent.

"Of course," I replied. Really, how could I forget this kid who moved from Germany to our school halfway through my second year of teaching? He made me laugh almost every day in class and was a bright kid. Back then, I taught the math support class for kids struggling in their core math class. This kid was there mainly to get up to speed on how the book was set up and vocabulary support (Chicago Math is practically all vocab.).

Yeah, he's a junior in high school now.

The second boy who walked in asked me if I remembered him at all. I could never forget his face, but it took a couple minutes to recall his name. I was confused by this at first (I've been pretty good at recalling names when I see former students) until he said that he was surprised I remembered him since I only had him for two summer school.

The memories came flooding back then. Oh, the behavior challenges from that one!

My mother had actually been in my classroom during summer school one day that year, helping me with some stuff in my room. After this boy left my room when summer school ended that day, she laughed and said that he was more than a couple handfuls! She didn't know the half of it, either.

That boy, as well as the other familiar face, are high school seniors this year. Wow.

They have study hall last period at the high school. They said that there are 65-some students scheduled for that study hall period and only about 10 show up. The rest just leave school early. From what I've heard from other years, this is common. If I remember correctly, students have to fill out and sign some form to be able to skip last period study hall.

No matter what, though, it was a lot of fun to see these kids and visit with them for a few short minutes. I love it when former students come back and keep me updated on what's happening in their lives! :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's Good to Laugh

This year has started out so much more stress-free than last year. My 7th grade math colleague agrees. Last year was just so much push, push, push with the brand new text books and needing to write new lessons for everything and new assessments along with everything else new for the new books. Ick.

This group of kids continues to be fun.

The past two days of lunch have been filled with crazy stories and so much laughter. It's nice. We had a fun discussion about California's Proposition 19 (legalizing marijuana-related activities, among other things about marijuana) during lunch today. Yesterday the conversation was about concerts, old cars, and quoting movies. Well, the quoting movies part seems like it is turning into an everyday occurrence at lunch now. As long as our new health teacher keeps coming to lunch in the staff lounge, I have a feeling we will continue hearing movie quotes as we eat.

I was just about to shut down my computers today after the kids left when I decided to read one last e-mail. It was from our secretary who works in the copier room, making copies for teachers. I had put in an entire chapter of guided notes to be copied this afternoon for my Trans Math kids. It was the whole first chapter. That felt incredibly nice to be that prepared! The e-mail from our secretary was about making all of the copies that I requested this afternoon. This is what her e-mail stated:

"Hi Meg,

I did an oops. I was copying your projects and was wondering what was taking so long when I realized that your first project got entered as 1005 instead of 105 copies, so you have about 400 of one of your packets. :)"

Whoops is right! I figured that I now have copies of that lesson for a few years worth of teaching now at least. :) As I replied and let her know that, I found that I was laughing pretty hard about the whole silly situation, mistake and 400 copies and all. Again, it felt good to laugh and really mean it at school.

That's when I realized how really and truly stressed I was last year with the new curriculum. I can only remember a handful of times from last year when I laughed as hard or as often as I have this week. And it's only the first week of school.

Let's hope that this is the beginning of a theme of laughter and fun this year. I need that kind of year at school.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mrs. S

First day of teaching with my new last name is now over. I'm exhausted.

Today brought with it my largest classes of the year: 28, 24, and 27. My first hour, with 28 kids, was so quiet you could probably have heard a pin drop most any time during class. I know one kids' name from that hour now - he was the one who actually raised his hand and said something during class, as well as volunteered during class. The only kid out of 28. Weird.

My second class may prove to be an interesting one. I'll be keeping my eye on a couple of those kids.

Lunch was good. A nice break in the middle of the day to finally sit down. Oh, and eat some food that my husband packed in my lunch. :) I always enjoy the realization the first day of school that, once lunch hits, I only have one more class to teach before the day is over. SUCH a nice thought.

Last hour was my class of 27 kids...and a para, thank goodness. I've never had a 7th grade para in my last hour class before (always has been during 3/4 block). Last hour with a para is a very nice change. And with 27 kids in the class, a much needed change. These kids were pretty chatty, but that's no surprise. Last hour is always chatty, without fail.

The end of the day brought an early dismissal, which continues to be annoying. It seems like the early dismissal comes earlier every year. I barely had time to explain one of the homework assignments (the one that required explanation, not the "cover your math book" assignment) before the kids were dismissed to their buses.

Once the kids left, homemade cookies and brownies, along with chocolate and white milk, were in the lounge for the teachers - a fun tradition for the first day of school and something I look forward to every year. The cookies were yummy. I probably ate more than my fair share. :)

On to Day 2, which brings Algebra my way. :)