Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Standarized Scores Won't Tell You

They won't tell you how many schools that child has been in since Kindergarten.

They won't tell you what their home life is like.

They won't tell you how involved their parents are.

They won't tell you where the child started with they entered your classroom.

They won't tell you how much intervention has been given to the student and they STILL are not getting it.

They won't tell you how many times their teacher has told them to read carefully and show their work. They still might rush through it and not do what their teacher has taught them.

It is one test, one day, given to eight and nine year olds. They have to sit quietly all day and answer 54 questions.

I have come to the conclusion that I can only do so much, with the kids I have, in my overcrowded classroom, in the time I have them. No matter how many of my kids fail today, I still stand by the fact that I am a DARN good teacher.  I have done everything I can to teach my students. I have taught using all the research-based methods I know. I have tried to reach as many kids as I can through interventions. I will NOT let these scores determine my worth as a teacher.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


After a frustrating day/year, I was tempted to post some negative stuff to get things off my mind. Instead, I decided to turn my negative into a positive and focus on that.

I am SO thankful for my parents. The more I teach, the more I realize how much they have done for me. None of us can control who we are born to and their situation, but we can make the best of what we are given. My family and Blake's family are full of stories of people doing this exact thing. I personally have had a pretty stable childhood and that has helped me get to where I am today.

Even though my parents both worked full time, they will didn't leave my ENTIRE education up to my teachers. They realized that my education begins at the very beginning, a very good place to start (sorry, I had to). They read to me. They talked to me. They answered my questions. They took me places and allowed me to have experiences. THEY TALKED TO ME! I am realizing how important this is to a child's development, especially their VOCABULARY! When I did start school. I was expected to get good grades. When I struggled and brought home failing grades (mainly in spelling), they made sure they practiced with me and I was required to study. Oh, and they knew that I had failing grades because they ALWAYS checked my daily folder. They were involved in my education. They realized that my teacher, no matter how good she/he was, also had 20 something other students in my class and they were in the best position to help me.

They made sure I knew the value of a dollar. I will be the first to admit that I was/am very blessed and rarely did without, but I can clearly remember not being allowed to buy certain things unless they were on sale or we had a coupon. I also had many cavities as a child and I still remember having to pay for one of them. I was in the 4th grade! My parents were tired of paying for my fillings which were my fault so I had to use my birthday money to pay for it. I did not have any more cavities for a long time. :) They taught me about saving, interest, and budgeting. This has helped me tremendously as an adult.

My parents enforced consequences and responsibilities. They did not do everything for me. They let me struggle and learn for myself. They didn't always jump in to save me from my consequences and much as I'm sure they wanted to. They love me no matter what and have always supported me. They never forced me into activities that I didn't want to do. Anytime I came to them wanting to start a new activity, they fully supported me.

I could probably go on further but I have to get to Zumba and dance my frustrations and calories away. Bottom line, I am so thankful for my parents. I hope that one day when God decided to bless us with babies, we will be just as good as our parents were.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break 2012

2 years ago, Blake and I spent Spring Break on a beach in Mexico with our friends and their family. Last year, we went to Disney World. This year we decided to stay home and be productive. It wasn't as much fun but I feel more rested. I had all these plans for what I was going to get done. I only ended up getting about half of my list done (as usual).

My first goal was to work on losing weight/being healthier. I didn't accomplish as much as I wanted but I did work out 4 times in 9 days. I have started going to Zumba classes which is a dance-fitness program that uses Latin and hip hop. Anyone who knows my dance background knows this is right up my alley. :) You can supposedly burn anywhere from 500-1,000 calories an hour! I have also been trying to eat healthier and eat non healthy food in moderation. It is pretty easy when I wasn't working this week so hopefully I can try and continue it next week.

Another goal was working in the yard. Again. Blake and I have been working on putting these white retaining wall blocks around our flower beds. It looks nice and it makes it easier to edge. The problem is that each block weighs over 20 pounds! I can only put 25 in my car at a time because of the weight. The other problem is that you have to level out the soil including a groove for the edge at the back. Wednesday, Blake and I weeded, put down weed fabric, trimmed the bushes in the front, put down 25 blocks around the edges (we put down 100 or so over the Christmas break), edged, and mowed. That took about 5 hours. :) Then Friday morning we worked for another 2 hours in the back yard. We didn't make as much progress because it is a JUNGLE back there but 2 hours is better than no hours.

I was planning on working a lot on my grad work and trying to get ahead. This one did NOT happen. I am just now sitting down to look at my assignment due Tuesday. I have to watch a movie and write 5 paragraphs. I'm watching the movie as I type this (yes, I am AWESOME at multitasking). When I finish this post, I will start on my assignment. I would have liked to do more but oh well.

I ALMOST have all my papers graded. We have one more week in these 9 weeks so there was a lot to grade but I'm glad to have most of it done now instead of waiting until the last minute because I know that I will have more grades next week. There are several things that are making grading more tedious and time consuming this year. First, I have 2 large classes which means more papers to grade. Also, we are required to reteach/retest. The way we have chosen to do this in third grade is reteach and allow students to make corrections and earn partial credit. I do think that this is beneficial for the students, but it means grading many assignments twice. :(

I also planned on catching up on my sleep. VERY successful at that.

Blake took off Wed, Thurs, and Fri to give himself a break and we went to the Houston Zoo on Thursday. I hadn't been there since I was a kid and it was a beautiful morning to go. It was a little crowded but it was much easier for Blake and I to navigate since we didn't have any kids with us. :) I had vague memories of being there before but that was all. We had a good time together and of course most of the time I was there I was wishing my students could be there. Not with me though. We saw several daycares with a bunch of kids and only a few adults. Ugh, that would be torture.

So that was my exciting Spring Break. At least it was better than work. I am NOT looking forward to going back tomorrow. 10 more weeks!