So, my post today is all kids, all the time, all the crazy things they say.  The past week has given me some real nuggets of kid gold.  I will start with last week’s joyous Tuesday.

I try to always have a book to read aloud to my kids, even if it is just part of a book each day.  And, when we read this book, I have them come down to the carpet and I sit in my directors chair.  Most of the kids really enjoy coming down to the carpet and listening to a good story.  Some kids enjoy it too much.  Like Faniel* (names have been changed to protect my student’s privacy, and no, of course the kid’s real name doesn’t rhyme with the name I came up with…that would be too easy…) Faniel likes to come and sit at the very front edge of the carpet, so close that he is practically sitting on my feet.  Well, today is no different from any other, and when I stand up to signal that read aloud time is over, Faniel looks up at me from about an inch away.  His nose is practically touching my knee (no joke, this kid does not understand personal space) and he is staring at my legs. (I am wearing pants today…just a side note.) “Ms. Rigano, your legs are sooooo skinny,” says Faniel, loudly, because not only does he not recognize that people need more than a centimeter of breathing room, but he also has no volume control.  So, now every kid is staring at my legs.

Now, you might be wondering, what is so wrong with this statement?  Some people may even take it as a compliment.  But, I know Faniel, and I know better.  I try to ignore and walk away, but he continues to stare at my legs (now with open disgust) and says, even louder, “No, seriously guys. They are skinny. Like a chicken!” This last part is said with a smile because he wants to prove to me that he has been listening to what I say during writing, and he is now comparing my legs to something. This kid actually wants me to praise him for calling out my chicken legs. I silently count to 3 (I don’t have time to count to 10) and politely ignore.

The same day, I am compiling a list of nouns on the board.  We are studying the difference between common and proper nouns, and how we can tell the difference. I write teacher on one side (common) and they are supposed to give me a proper noun to write on the opposite side.  Of course, my name is called out, so I start to write Ms. Rigano on the board.  Before I have even written down the R, one of my girls calls out, “You’re not married, Ms. Rigano?”

I turn to face her, and my mouth is just open in shock.  Not that they would ask that – kids ask way more personal stuff than that, but I am amazed that they know Ms. means I am not married. Most of my students can’t even punctuate their own sentences (yet! we are working extra hard…) or figure out that paragraphs are not just one long sentence, and yet here they are calling me out as single all because I wrote Ms.  So, I reply, “No, I’m not.” Quickly I turn back to the board thinking this will signal an end to the conversation.  (What was I thinking?) Before I can even open my mouth to continue, she says, “Don’t you want to be?” As I turn back to her, again, I am thinking, has she been talking to my grandmother lately? As I open my mouth to reply, “Not at the moment,” another girl pipes up and says, “You’re really pretty Ms. Rigano. You should be married.”

A) Thanks for the compliment kid. B) Can we please get back to my riveting language arts lesson?

Two more and that’s it for tonight.

Every week, I go over 10 new words that are supposed to boost my student’s oral vocabulary.  Last week, one of the words was underdog.  Now, I am a big fan of underdogs.  If you have ever met either of my parents, or watched a sporting even with them, you would see where I get this from.  I love rooting for the little guy that no one expects to win.  I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Rudy? So, I am explaining  what an underdog is. It is a person or a team that no one expects much from, and somehow they come out victorious.  I am explaining and going over it, trying to make sure they all get it. I look around and I see one of my kids with his hand up.  Let’s call this kid Misrael*. Misreal is a tough kid, in the past was seen as somewhat of a troublemaker, but has never given me any problems.  He always works hard for me, and usually has pretty good examples.  So, I call on him. “Misrael, what can you tell us about an underdog?” He is sitting there with this look of pure concentration with a hint of questioning. “So Ms. Rigano, it’s like when T-Pain says, ‘I came from the bottom to the top, right?” And as soon as he says that, I have two other kids who start singing the lyrics, and now I can see lightbulbs going off in their heads.  For anyone that does not know, T-Pain is a rapper.  He makes music and raps about things that all rappers flow about.  Money, girls, fame, etc, etc.  ANd here is this kid relating the word  underdog to a T-Pain song.  And he is looking at me for confirmation.  And all I can say is, “Yep. You’re right.” Thanks a lot T-Pain. You can come in and teach my class from now on.

I had another story, but I am getting too sleepy to continue, so it will have to be written another day.   But, a word to the wise.  If anyone out there knows a teacher, ask them for more stories.  I guarantee you, these stories will make you laugh. They will make you cry. Mostly, they will make you thankful that you are not in that classroom! Haha!

But, seriously, I do love my students, and the things they come up with definitely keep my day interesting.  So if you are ever looking for a good story, turn to a teacher. I promise you they will have more than one.

So, this past week was a pretty busy one at work (haha, I just wrote that with a straight face. When is it not a busy week?) But, this week we started soccer (both boys and girls) and it is exhausting trying to teach, corral, and PLAY soccer with 50+ kids.  But, it is also super fun. And this year, we have two new coaches, and even better, one of them actually knows what she is doing! No more running around the field confused just hoping the ball will go in a net. (Ok, ok, I am not that bad.  I understand the rules of the game and I know what is going on, but seriously, this girl has played for real.  Let’s just say we are going to defer to her from now on.)

So, as fun as the actual playing of the game is – the waiting for the parents afterwards is just as much the opposite. NO FUN!! We spent about 45 minutes after practice waiting for all of the kids to get picked up. But, during this time, I got to talk to the new coaches, get to know them a little better, and I even got to see an old student of mine.

For my first three years of teaching, I taught 5th grade, and my first group of students are now freshman in high school!! AHHH!!! I know! It freaks me out.  I even saw a couple of them graduate from middle school last year. It is freakin’ insane. I imagine that this is how parents feel, but amplified about a million times more  because the students actually belong to them.

So, I am standing there, waiting for these late parents and I look around and see this guy at the front desk. (That’s right – I said guy…because the whole time this kid was standing there and he looked so grown up I thought he was a man. No, he is one of my kids. WTF?!) I do a double take, and now he’s looking at me too. Let me give you a rundown of the convo:

Me: “Um, hello….” (Face that implies, how come you haven’t said hello to me, your favorite teacher of all time yet?)

KTLOTM (Kid that looks older than me): (Smiling) “You don’t remember me.”

Me: “Hello Moises.” (In my head, I am thinking, don’t test me kid – and also jumping for joy that his name came so easily because it could have gone down totally different.)

KTLOTM: (embarrassed that he called me out) “Ok, ok. So you do remember.”

The conversation continues from there, and I find out that he is a freshman at Milby High School down the street, and he is doing really well.  He is on the swim team, and is apparently really good. He meets the new P.E. coach and asks about our old coach and where he went.  We talk for a little while longer while he waits for his younger nieces.  Everything is going well, until he tells me he needs to pull up one of his grades.  He says he is failing World Geography, and I mention that I took some geography in college and it was extremely difficult.  Let’s continue the convo:

Me: “So, how bad is it? Are they giving you extra credit work?”

KTLOTM: “Yeah, they are giving me a whole bunch of work and I have to finish it all in order to go to the swim meet at the end of the month. Do you think you could help me?

Me: (Starting to feel a little awkward) “Um, I can try. I’m not sure how much I remember, but I can look at it.”

WARNING!!! This is where it all goes downhill – FAST!

KTLOTM: “So, could I get your number so you can help me?”

Me: (Looking around, trying to see if there are any cops standing by to arrest me.) “NO! I mean, no. But you can come by the school and I can look at it here. (In the cafeteria, with other people, and lots of windows, and no closed doors.)”

That last part was said inside my head. Not actually out loud.

He thanks me and says how good it was to see me. He shakes hands with the coach and the other teachers and grabs his nieces and off he goes. Meanwhile, I am left standing there mortified.  Blake, the other soccer coach, is staring at me, about to start laughing. I am just like wtf? I did not see that coming.

But, as weird as it was, it was still nice to see an old student, and see that he is doing mostly alright.  Our kids have a tough road in front of them, especially if they continue down Broadway (Deady Middle School and Milby high School), and I was glad to see that he was still in school, in the right grade level, and interested in something that would help keep him in school. Unfortunately, I have seen several of my other students from my first class who have failed one grade or two. I have had kids get mixed up in gangs, and end up in alternative schools, and I know of at least one who has dropped out altogether.  So, as embarrassing as it was for me, in the middle of the hallway, I was grateful to see that he is on the right path and seems to want to continue on it.  As a teacher, that is all I can hope for. So, to the class of 2014, I am pulling for you guys. (And I better get an invite to your high school graduation!)

Honestly, if you are not watching Modern Family, there is something wrong with you. I’m sorry to call you out like this, but it is true.  I just watched the season premiere from last night, and I swear to god, I laughed OUT LOUD through the entire show. I don’t know who writes for them, but this is the funniest show on TV.

Click the link for a clip from last night’s episode…HILARIOUS!

That’s it for now.  I just wanted to make sure everyone knew what they were missing! Or remind them of what they are already enjoying!

So, as usual, today was a hilarious day because I was surrounded by insane 9/10 year olds.  Somehow, they never cease to amaze me.  I am always in awe of the weird things that come out of their mouths (words, I mean.) Today at recess, i had a gaggle of girls follow me around, and so because I am insane as well, and I do weird things to keep what little sanity remains, I started giving them Indian names.  Like, Jasmine, who is sweet and quiet is now “Quiet like the Wind”.  She didn’t mind her name so much. But, Angel on the other hand was not so fond of hers.  She is now known as, “Yells in my Ears”.  Of course, she makes a face and then proceeds to yell (in my ears), “AWWWW…I DON”T LIKE THAT NAME!!!!” (All caps serve the purpose of showing the decibel at which she says (screams) everything.)

I look at her, and say, “I will stop calling you by that name when you stop living up to it.”  To which she walks around for about 1 minute and a half whispering everything.  Like, “ms. rigano, can my name be butterfly?” (all lowercase serves the purpose of showing the whisper). In that minute and a half my attention is diverted elsewhere, and when she does not get the response she wants, quickly forgets about whispering and tugs on my arm and out comes, “CAN MY NAME BE BUTTERFLY?” (all caps – you get the drift.) To which, I don’t even have to respond, because she remembers why she wasn’t yelling, turns red from embarrassment, and whispers, “please?”

Pure ridiculousness.

Then later in recess, the students are speaking to me in Spanish, and trying to see if I can understand them.  They ask me my name and age and when I respond, they look at me incredulously.  “No – you look like you’re 19!” (And believe me, it is not so much a compliment, as much as a subtle way of brown-nosing their way to an A…and of course, flattery will get you everywhere.) I start to laugh and tell them they are all insane.  All of a sudden, Yells in my Ears bursts through the pack of girls and throws her arms out and says (screams), “YOU SHOULD GO TO VEGAS…” (in my head, I am already worried. Why does this kid know about Vegas, what does she know about Vegas, and what the hell is about to come out of her mouth?) “…SO YOU CAN GET A COOL NICKNAME!!!”

Sooo, not what I expected.  In my head I’m thinking, there are a lot of things you could get in Vegas, but a nickname you want to come home with is probably not at the top of the list.  Any nickname you receive in Vegas, should stay there. (Isn’t that what the motto is for? What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?) I just laugh it off, and chalk it up to the fact that my kids are freaks.  And I say that lovingly.

But, honestly, working at my school is always an adventure.  Like the other day, I was stopped in the hallway by another teacher (a bilingual Kindergarten teacher). Now, let me explain the demographics at my school.  The students are 99.8% Hispanic.  The other .2% is African-American, and we did receive a student this year who is Caucasian.  The makeup of the teachers is basically the same.  I am one of 2 blondes in the building. My first year of teaching, I would have students touch my hair as they walked by me.  Not just my students, either.  Random students in the hallway.  But, I’m used to it.

So, back to the teacher who stopped me the other day.  I was wearing a skirt this day, and I will freely admit how pale my legs are.  They are blindingly white, and when I am outside, they shine like Edward Cullen’s skin in the sunlight and you need to be wearing sunglasses if you are within a 200 foot radius. I get this, but I am also used to my own skin.  It doesn’t seem weird to me that my legs are transparent.

But, this teacher stops me and says, “Ms. Rigano, I am going to have to touch your legs.” To which I respond, “Ok.” She looks at my legs and her eyes widen, “I mean, they are just so…” (she pauses, trying to find the right word) “so…pale,” she says as she shakes her head in amazement. “I know,” I say smiling, as I am used to hearing this.  “But, beautiful,” she says softly.  I laugh out loud, and say, “Thank you,” while in my head I’m thinking, you’re pretty much the only one who thinks so lady. Mind you, all of this is taking place in the middle of the day, in the middle of the hallway, as people and students are walking by.  Then she reaches out her hand and says, “Now, I have to touch them,” as if this is completely normal. She touches my leg right below the knee with her forefinger and all I can think of is the scene from E.T. where he reaches out his finger to Elliott.

The she looks back at me and smiles, “I’m sorry for touching, but I don’t want to give you the…” and she trails off. “The ojo,” I fill in for her.  “Yes, no ojo,” she says as she smiles and turns around and leaves me there. Seriously. I really do love my school. But, I might be off to Vegas, for that nickname I’m supposed to be receiving!

I know it has been awhile, but there has just been so much going on lately.  Work is all consuming-as usual, but I have still had time for some fun.  Recently I have been loving (and when I say loving, I mean OBSESSING over) this song.

Anytime I hear it, I cannot help but clap and snap and jump around like a mad woman (which is what she does in the video as well. I must be channeling her when I listen to it).  It has been playing on repeat nonstop whenever I am at home or in the car.  And, I must say, I don’t think I am going to get tired of it.

But, aside from loving this song, I have also been doing a little craft work.  It’s so minor, I shouldn’t even call it craft work, but oh well. So, last night, there was a gala event at the joanna (an art gallery run by a friend of mine) and the theme was sexy godz.  Now, anyone who knows me, can agree that I don’t really do costumes much.  If I am going to do a costume, I want it to be done right, and I don’t usually put that much time into coming up with an idea and executing it. Therefore, I don’t really do much costuming.  But, sometimes, it can be fun to dress up. So, last night I decided to (tamely) create a costume.  I will freely admit, I did not commit to this god theme as others at the party did.  Some really went all out, and they had some fabulous costumes.  I decided to just dip a couple of toes in, which is where this fabric comes into play.

Close up! So pretty!!

Backstory: I bought this fabric maybe 7 or 8 years ago at Value Village.  It was originally a skirt, and I fell in love with the colors, and the gold, and the gaudiness, and of course, the price.  (I bought it for under $2!!) I have had it in my fabric collection this entire time and never did anything with it.  I have always loved it, but I was unsure what to do with it.  Well, last night was the perfect excuse for pulling it out of the fabric bin and some quick stitching.  I took one panel out and folded down the upper hem and quickly stitched the top.  I wrapped it around myself as a tube top, pinned it closed, stitched it up, added some bangles, great earrings, gold accessories, including makeup, and a fabulous necklace, and voila! I have no idea what goddess I was supposed to be, but I got compliments on my fashionable tunic, and was told I looked like a golden goddess.  Pretty nice for 10 minutes work!

Ignore the bad picture quality, and the fact that I am in my bathroom, but I left my camera at school!

All in all, I had fun semi-dressing up. And I got to wear my new necklace that I am absolutely in love with!

The gold necklace, not the turquoise streamer. Although it does add a nice pop of color...

And, now I feel like I am creating a post for the New Dress A Day blog, which if you haven’t already fallen in love with, take a second now to get hooked. My ensemble didn’t take anywhere near the creativity or skill that some of her dresses require, but I was pretty happy with it.  And maybe, I’ll start looking at several other things I have hidden away in my wardrobe!

Last, but not least, I am looking at taking several classes coming up either this semester or next, but one that I think I want to take (and it is incredibly nerdy, I know) is an Excel course.  With all of the tracking I have to do for my students, it would really help me if I were able to navigate excel and do more than type into a cell and make a pretty box around it. So, I am currently getting a little help from an Excel genius (Leila), and she has already revolutionized my Excel world with just a few simple hints.  So, thanks in advance Ley!  Hope everyone has a great Monday!!

As a die-hard Glee fan, I am waiting impatiently, of course for September 21.  This is when the new season starts and let me just say, I am sooo excited.  Now, I will admit that I was not a fan of the show from the beginning.  Not that I didn’t like it…I just didn’t watch it.  But one night, while I was at Katie and Cody’s all of that changed.  Katie and I had been watching some show (probably something very intellectual and thought-provoking – gossip girl, the hills, you know – serious stuff) and Cody came home from work.  He heated up some food and came in to watch tv with us.  Somehow, Glee was brought up, and they both could not believe I hadn’t seen the show.  So Cody says, “Oh…play the song from last night’s episode.” Katie got super excited and agreed that this was worth me staying for.  So she found the episode and fast forwarded to the end.

It was the Madonna episode, and at the end the boys sing a song together around the piano, and it was so beautiful.  For some reason, I really love men’s voices.  There is something so beautiful and raw about men singing emotionally (not that I don’t love women singers – I will in fact touch on that momentarily).  Once I saw that one song I was hooked.  So I watched the rest of season 1 and through Netflix got the beginning of the season and watched them all over the summer. And let me tell you, I am hooked.  I am one of those musical freaks anyway, and no I do not mean I am musically inclined – ha! I mean I love musicals. I always have and I always will.  I love the idea of randomly bursting out into song and dance, mostly because that’s what I do in my classroom everyday – just off-key and with no choreography. So, bottom line – if you have not watched the show, you really need to start. Like seriously – it starts September 21. Get a move on.

But, the episode that reran last night was the glee club’s sectional competition, and this episode is one of my all time favorites because it has my theme song.  That’s right – I have a theme song.  I have always loved this song, but I never fully realized that it could be my theme song until this summer.  Growing up, my parents exposed me to all kinds of movies and music. I mean come on, my first concert was James Taylor and I used to love watching Gone With the Wind, in its entirety (sorry for that Mom!) a lot.  And both of my parents love music, ergo musicals, and one of the first musical movies I remember falling in love with was Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand and Omar Shariff.  My mother loved this movie and we would watch it, and I would get swept up in the songs and the story of Fanny Brice, the girl with amazing talent, but not right “look”.  I would sing along to all of the songs and act out the comedic parts that interrupted  “I’m the Greatest Star” and I thought it was incredible.

But, the song that I have found I connect to time and time again is, “Don’t rain on my parade.”  In the story, Fanny sings this song as she journeys by train and sea to find the man she loves, and show him she will not take no for an answer.  Everyone is telling her not to go. Don’t do it Fanny. You can’t go.  Fanny, what if he doesn’t want you? All of these words thrown at her, and she puts her hands up and stops them all by opening her mouth and belting out this song.  And let me just say – wow.

I have always been blown away, but I realized that in some ways, I like to do things that don’t always seem to make sense. Like buying a million books on craft projects that no one has ever heard of since the middle ages. Or, deciding at midnight to put up shelves in my living room. Or any other number of crazy things I have done, and will not mention here.  I am kind of oddball at times, but I have realized that there are some things I love about myself, and my ability to fall into numerous obsessions at once instead of picking just one to be passionate about – it suits me.  I love the fact that I can be passionate about things and passionate about numerous things at once.  And, while my actions may seem insane to others or a bit out there – I just say, “Don’t rain on my parade…” I am ready to live and do what I need to in order to create the life I want, and sometimes I might stumble or fall upon an idea that seems bizarre or unfounded, but I won’t let anyone rain on my parade. As Fanny sings,

“Don’t tell me not to fly, I’ve simply got to. If someone takes a spill it’s me and not you. Who told you’re allowed to rain on my parade…”

It has really helped me to silence others negative thoughts and words that try to bring me down, and it has seriously helped me silence my own negative thoughts.  I won’t lie – I am insecure like most people about some aspects of my life, and sometimes I have to fight hard to keep myself from succumbing to that part of me. But, this song is like negative repellant. It always puts me in a good mood, and it always leaves me feeling stronger.  So, if you are ever feeling like others are getting you down or you are letting others bring around a cloud to rain on your parade, just listen to this song.  It definitely helps me.

And to end this post, I will share another secret that helps keep negative thoughts at bay: friendship and laughter.  After work today, I drove over to my friend Alicia’s school to share some stuff with her.  We both teach 4th grade, so were getting together to talk about lesson plans and assessments, and all of this other fun teaching crap. I mean stuff. 🙂 So, we are in her room, and we have already finished with what I came to talk about, so we have moved on to other topics, and while I am sitting in Alicia’s chair, with her vibrating back pillow, she is digging through her closets, trying to get rid of stuff.  All of a sudden she pulls out this black thing from inside and walks over to me.  She makes me stand up, and she tries to fit this thing over her chair.  It doesn’t work, but I see where she is going with this.  It looks like it fits over something and has pockets for storage on the outside.  But, at this point, it is almost 6 o clock and I was delirious when I showed up at 4:30, so I can’t figure out what it is supposed to go on.  Until….the light bulb goes off.  I know exactly what it is.

Can we say killer outfit? You know I can't resist a garment with pockets...

It’s my new clubbing outfit.  Imagine this with no pants on underneath. Can we say amazing, off the shoulder minidress? And who needs a purse? I have tons of storage in my pockets. I could carry everyone’s keys, wallets, phones, kitchen sinks, whatever.  Well, once Alicia realized I knew what it was, she got pretty jealous.  I mean, honestly I would have been upset too if I had been the one to miss this diamond in the rough, but c’est la vie. In the end,  I left it for her, and gave her a couple tips on how to wear it because I am a good friend, but I was pretty sad to see it go.  So here’s to hoping you had a good laugh with someone today. I know it made all the difference in my day!

So, yesterday was my first day back at school.  That is right. Ladies and gentlemen, I am now a 5th year teacher.  And, you would think that the longer you do a job, the better you would become at it, and the easier it would be. When it comes to teaching, this is half right.

I am slightly better at my job this year, but it is NOT any easier. Somehow between new textbook adoptions, and new administrators, and crazy coworkers – the job still feels incredibly hard.  Not that I don’t enjoy it.  I really have some of the cutest kids ever. AND – for the first time in my teaching career, I get to come to work and see my students from last year.  Before, when I was in 5th grade, I would always send my kids off to middle school, never knowing if I would get to see them again or catch up with them.  Now, I get to see my (old) kids every day. And it is so awesome!!! (And, they still love me and offer to help after school…added bonus!)

So, just to let people in on how crazy teachers’ lives actually are (this is for people who think teachers only work from 7:30-3:15) here is a schedule of my day today.

5:00 am     My alarm goes off
5:30 am     I finally stop snoozing
6:00 am     I grab my stuff and a quick breakfast and head out the door
6:30 – 7:15 am     I arrive at school and head to the copy room to snag the “good” copy machine while no one is in there hogging it. After this, I calmly head back to my room, sign in, and discuss anything with my coteacher Chapa.
7:15 am     I realize how much stuff I still have to do, and how fast the time is slipping away.  I kid you not, every morning I think to myself, is that clock losing time?
7:35 am     I quickly clear off my desk, doing a 30 second pickup, because I know by lunch time my desk will be covered with papers and pens and notes to go home.
7:40 am     I greet each of my kids at the doorway with a smile and a handshake. (One of the best parts of the day!!)
7:45 am – 11:15    I teach two blocks of Reading, in which I usually only get through half of what the book says I should do.  I line the kids up feeling inadequate and EXHAUSTED, and lead them out to recess.
11:15 am – 12:15 pm     Recess and lunch.  Lunchtime is spent watching the kids in line making sure they use inside voices, they say “please” and “thank you”, and saying hi to some of my favorite people –  the cafeteria ladies!! Then I dash off to the teacher’s lounge (which still feels weird, since I can remember being a student and always wondering what happened in a teacher’s lounge.  Now I know – teachers sitting around watching the news, talking about kids, sharing information, laughing, crying, pulling their hair our, half eating/half sleeping). I eat a quick 12 minute lunch and rush back to the cafeteria to pick up my kids.
12:15 pm – 2:45 pm     I teach two blocks of Writing, and in the middle I get my planning period which is usually taken up by paperwork or administrators coming in to “talk”.  Usually at the end of planning, Chapa and I look at each other, realize we both have to use the bathroom, and in our heads think about racing to the only teacher bathroom near us, and then laugh because we realize neither one of us actually has time to go. We have to go pick up the kids.
2:45 pm – 3:05 pm     The bell rings and I dismiss the kids in groups, depending on how they get home, and then wait for all of my kids to get picked up.  Then I walk any kids I still have to the office to wait for their parents.
3:45 pm – 4:40 pm   I gather up all the supplies that have been brought in over the past two days and try to find room for them all in my closet. I do some creative rearranging, and realize I have to go because it is about to start pouring down rain, and I have to make it to the public library before 6 to pick up a book for tomorrow’s read aloud.
4:40 pm – 5:15 pm   I rush over to Staples, because they are selling composition notebooks for .10 each and as a teacher I can get 20 at a time. So I load them up, and run out to my car, wishing I had time to go back in for composition notebook round 2.
5:15pm – 6:00 pm     I drive home, cursing Houston for its random traffic that starts and stops for no apparent reason, and run into the library as they are announcing its closing.  I grab the book from the reference desk and book it (get it – I was at a library…lol. this really did make me laugh out loud. that’s how tired I am…) to the front desk and check it out as the lights flicker on and off.
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm     I run by the grocery store and pick up some staples for the rest of the week, drive home, eat a quick dinner, sit down to type up this post, and here I am.

Now for those of you who did not care to read about my entire schedule – sorry.  You shouldn’t have kept reading.  Not my problem.  I just wanted to write down what actually happened in the day of a life of a teacher, because I have realized most people do not know all that goes into teaching.  Every year I forget how truly mind-numbingly exhausting teaching is.  It literally drains every ounce of energy out of you.  I cannot even explain how tired I am at the end of each day. ANd once I complete this post, I am off to do more work.  I need to look over tomorrow’s lesson, reread the read aloud and mark notes for where to stop and “think aloud”, and I need to number all of my kid’s notebooks.  A teacher’s work is never done – and while I may sound negative to some, I am really just being honest.  Teaching is a true calling, and I am incredibly passionate about my kids and their success.  I tell them over and over that I am here to help give them the tools they need in order to succeed.  But, I also believe that teaching is a profession that is underrated and overlooked.  Teachers are overworked and under-appreciated (not just monetarily), but we will continue to do what we do because it is for the children.  And as corny as that may sound, it is absolutely true. (In my case at least – I will not presume to speak for every teacher.)

For example – I have a kid in my class who came in a little shy and yesterday I didn’t see a smile on his face once (and let me tell you, I’m pretty funny.) So, today, I made an extra effort with him.  As he was leaving for 2nd period, I poked him on his shoulder made a joke about his muscles being so big and him being so tough that I almost broke my hand, and as he walked by I thought I saw a hint of a smile.  Well, that was all the push I needed.  When he came back for 4th period I started calling him Mr. Muscles and introduced him to the whole class as Mr. Muscles.  He started smiling, and let me tell you – his smile is gonna break some hearts later in life.  And after that, he actually raised his hand to participate in my lesson. Score!!

I have kids who come in and tell me the most random things about their life.  No joke – they tell me about what they ate for dinner, they tell me all 23 names they thought of for their new dog, they let me in on all of the trivial parts of their lives.  And all because I am their teacher.  They want to share themselves with us, and it is our job to let them.  And, while I may complain , and I may gripe, I know that a day in the life of a teacher could be a day that changes a kid’s life forever.  (And, no I am not saying I am some amazing teacher who changes every child’s life, but I know that we as teachers have that power and responsibility.  And it is truly a worthwhile day when we can say that we had a positive impact on our kids.)

Where else would Richard live?

While the month of August always signals the return to school, it is so much more than that.  I know a million people with birthdays in August, and they are all truly special people.  Well, one is getting a very nice gift from me – it is handmade!! I have a friend who I once gave a lion pillow (lots of August babies are Leos after all).  it was fitting, and it was a pretty awesome pillow.  But, as I found out years later – the pillow is no more.  We won’t discuss what happened to the pillow – it involves his ex girlfriend, and we’re not gonna go there.  But, my friend was without an awesome lion pillow. So, one night I’m on Etsy, looking for fabric, and I come across the most amazing thing –

Richard the Lion pillow!!!

This is a lion pillow you can make yourself.  It even came with directions printed right onto the fabric.  You cut out both sides (front and back), sew the right sides together, cut along the slash lines, flip it inside out, stuff it and VOILA!! Richard the Lion who used to live in the jungle can now live in your very own home.  Or in the jungle still, if that’s where your home is.  The best part about this pillow is that it is sooo super creepy.  At first you think it is cute…but you’re wrong.  You keep looking at it and it starts to weird you out.

Why are his eyes following me?

So, I of course, decided to buy it and make it for my friend.  Once it arrived on my doorstep, I was in full swing creepy lion mode.  I sat down, patiently cut out both sides, flipped them over to pin them together, and discovered…

Uh-oh...

Still worried...

no matter how I place these two sides together, they are NEVER going to match up.  I tried for about ten minutes, but these sides just do not match.  They are not mirror opposites of each other as they should be.  Now, for some people who sew – having pieces of fabric match up is important (i.e. people who sew for real and know what they are doing.)  Thank god I’m not one of them.  I just Tim Gunn’ed it (made it work) and lined it up as best I could.  I pinned the sucker together and sewed him up.  I left one side open for the stuffing that would come later, cut the slash marks, flipped him inside out and he was ready to go.

You really can't even tell I cut off one of his ears. (Just kidding.)

After I finished stuffing him, and plumping him up, I stitched the last side closed and now he is ready to decorate someone’s couch or bed or closet floor – not my choice.  But, while he is still creepy Richard, I have to admit he is a little cuter stuffed. (Or actually, a little more creepy, but either way he’s being gifted.)  And, the funniest part is, even though he is a lion, he looks remarkably like Jax (the orange cat – go figure).  I keep propping Richard up on the couch, trying to get Jax interested.  If I catch Jax and Richard together on camera, I’ll share the pic tomorrow! Until then, just stare into Richard’s eyes and let him hypnotize you.  It might be relaxing. You never know…

So, today was yet another busy (but productive) day at work.  It feels so incredibly fulfilling to know that every day I am working hard and actually getting somewhere.  This is the first year I have felt that way, and boy, is it an awesome feeling.  But, after work I got to enjoy some down time with some awesome ladies.

As some of you know, my stepmom, Laura, is a true lady.  She cooks (with an apron), she has books on etiquette (and actually uses them), she has a Southern accent, and she still wears stockings (and tries to make me).  So, when my cousin Christy, told us that her friend from Germany was coming into town – Laura knew exactly what was needed.

A tea party!!

She sent out super cute invitations and did an amazing job setting everything up.  She made sandwiches and had tons of pastries and we even had Empress tea – from the Empress Hotel in Vancouver.  Everything was set up beautifully…

Super cute invitation...

just got cuter!! You pulled out the top of the teapot to get all the info. How tea-rrific! (Yes, forgive me for that one.)

Ooh la la...

Crustless sandwiches - a tea party wouldn't be complete without them.

And…the reason why I showed up…

CHOCOLATE!!!

Ok, so the chocolate was not the only reason I showed up.  The company was pretty good too.  There weren’t a whole bunch of us, but I think we made up for that with all of the noise we made.  We were laughing, screaming (Christy!), pointing fingers…let me just say it was getting a little out of hand.  But, it was a nice way to end a long work day.

Lovely ladies - Christy, Aunt Bet, Amy, Louise, and Nana

Our lovely hostess...great job!!

Next week starts my 5th year teaching, and as I have started going through every room of my house this summer, I have been thinking a lot about the past.  I have come across things that I had forgotten about, things that I had never been able to find, things that made me happy, and things that made me sad.  But, as we all know – I am not afraid of a little nostalgia (yes – that is a gross understatement).  I love looking back into the past – whether it is my own or someone else’s – I can’t help it.  I love memories and seeing what led to the present moment.

As I started going through my craft room and rearranging furniture, I came across a couple of interesting tidbits.  And anyone who knew me in college will find these next pictures hysterical – I know I did.

My old journals from sophomore/junior year of college - Can you tell I made them by hand?

The token rainbow - I didn't leave home without one. And lines from a poem that led to this blog...

And of course a couple of my tarot cards had to make an appearance - are we sensing the fact that I probably should have been going to school in Sedona? (it is a vortex, you know...)

These journals were hand-crafted by yours truly to reflect the inner me – and I think I did a pretty good job.  As I pulled these out and began to reread them, I was transported into another life that feels like ages ago.  College was not that long ago, but I have grown and changed so much in the time since, that reading them felt like I was reconnecting with an old friend.  I may not display it in the same ways as before, but part of me will always be that naive girl who thinks love can move mountains (I didn’t say it can conquer all, but I believe in its power) and that there is an energy in this world that we cannot explain, but only experience.  Reading these journals was a portal into a past that has shaped me into the person I am now.  There were times when thinking about events in my past would have crushed me, but I am stronger now because of certain things, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to get knocked down and continue fighting.

While these journals made me reflective, other things I found made me laugh so hard I cried.  About a year ago, I took several boxes of pictures from my Dad and Laura’s house.  I was going to use them in  a project (that was the excuse I gave – I really just wanted the pictures…Dad/Laura – ignore what you just read…you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet), and never got around to it.  They were stored in random file folders, and I decided to move them to actual boxes to keep them safe.  Of course, as I was transporting them to their new home, I had to stop and look – and while all of them could be posted, I have only a couple of choice photographs to share at this time.  But, I must explain.

As anyone who has met my cats (or read this blog) knows – they are a bit larger than average.  (Yes, I know. Another gross understatement.)  But, as I was going through these old pictures I came across several of myself that I think will help explain.  I now see that the cats got it from me.  They are not fat. They are not big-boned.  They are just very well dressed.  And when I say well dressed, I mean they have so much extra fur on them that they appear larger than they actually are.  (Please ignore how much they weigh because then my theory doesn’t really work too well.) So here are several pictures that demonstrate the well dressed theory.  Remember: people and objects appear larger than actual size due to over-dressing.

Just some background info - this picture was taken in July. Can we say overdressed? (Just kidding - my parents would never do that to me. I'm sure it was October at least.)

Can anyone actually find me under all of that blue lace, tulle, and ruffles?

And the best for last….

After discovering this picture, I'm pretty sure my parents lied to me. I was actually born in Alaska.

So, as you can see – I was the best (overly dressed) kid in all of Houston.  And, it just goes to show, that a little extra cloth on top makes things seem larger in size.  So, Jax, and especially, Izzy can stop worrying.  I have figured out the issue.  It’s a genetic thing.  (Sorry Katie, your DNA just wasn’t strong enough to overpower my outerwear gene.) To quote one of my favorite songs of all time – “They get it from their momma…”

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