Friday was the last day of school. And as most of you know, this meant my last day of work at my first full-time teaching job. My students from last year (who now have just graduated from 3rd grade!) knew that I was leaving the school, and once they got over their HUGE disappointment (obvi) they started to ask me random odd questions as the school year was coming to an end. “Chocolate or cheese, Ms. Welton? Do you like chocolate or cheese?” “Do you like sky blue?” “Are you free after school on Friday for a little bit?” Hmmmm… I was starting to get suspicious.
Then, as soon as I waved my final farewell to my second graders (after showing them this video that I am extremely proud of, I don’t normally put anything of my students up here as far as pictures and such— but they did sign a form, and this is SO SO SO GOOD) one of my precious student from last year grabbed me and dragged me to the bathroom, telling me she had a secret to tell me and it was so secret we had to go to the bathroom (now I know where all the girls share their secrets)… She sat me down on a toilet seat and began to ask me what my e-mail address was, then she spelled it out, very s-l-o-w-l-y, even the “dot-g-m-a-i-l-dot-c-o-m”… it was hilarious. After she ran out of things to distract me with she said, “Oh– Ms. Welton you shouldn’t go to your classroom.” “Why is that?” “Uh… because there is a bomb! Ms. S put it there… no Ms. L (my grade teaching partner)”, “Ms. L, my partner in crime, put a bomb in my classroom?”
Just then there is a gasp and a laugh as Ms. L herself comes into the bathroom, “are you guys in a stall?” “Uh…yeah. Hey, Ms. L— did you put a bomb in my classroom?” “No way, come to your classroom and see for yourself.”
Ms. L and my student lead me to my classroom. I open the door and the first thing I see is a ton of balloons taped to my smartboard. A cheesecake is on the table and there is… no one…? All of the sudden girls are jumping out from under my desk and the corner behind the bookshelf yelling, “Surprise!”
It had been so hectic when I said goodbye to my students earlier that I had no time to shed any tears. But once three of my girls from last year handed me a book they made full of pictures and letters to me, the tears flew steadily.
This is why I teach.
Slice of Life is hosted by The Two Writing Teachers every Tuesday!
I’m afraid my new teaching blog is hogging all of my attention…oops! It is just so exciting to start something new you know? In other news, my phone broke. I have to go to an apple service center to get it fixed (augh)… I am pretty sad, for various reasons. But, it IS kind of nice to have no connection to the world- as much as it is terrifying and I hate it, I also find an interesting feeling of liberation in not have the world at my finger tips anymore.
One of my students came up to me the other day with a stomach-ache… before I sent her to the nurse I asked if I could pray for her. She said, “Yes, please.” I put my hand on her stomach and said a simple prayer, and with habit I bowed my head and closed my eyes. When I looked up I saw that a student who was sitting nearby had stood up and came over to place her hands on the girl’s shoulder. She saw me staring at her and she gave a nervous giggle and immediately went back to her work (it was writing workshop time). I am pretty sure I will never lose that visual of opening my eyes to a little girl bowing her head with her eyes closed, both hands on her friend’s shoulder. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen.
Some random pictures from my life. Why? Because I love pictures.
*update: I took my phone in and got a new one, and since it was within my year warranty it was FREE. I will now regularly back up my iPhone, since I now am missing the last two months of my life… TT (I taught my mom this week that two capital t’s are crying eyes…. learned that in Asia!).
Walking back into my classroom after an emotional roller coaster that marked my Christmas break was like a breath of fresh air. As I caught the 6:43 bus to work (knowing I had to get to my room and fix the mess that construction workers made during the break-
oh and maybe plan some lessons - before my students arrived) I made a huge decision… I needed to change my attitude. As Erin Samo would say, it was high time to, “shift in the Spirit”.
I may not be the biggest fan of the administration at my school right now, I may not even be the biggest fan of Korea, but man oh man do I love my job. I was made to be a teacher. I just KNOW IT. Being back with my kids, hanging out with them all day… instead of zapping all my energy (which I admit, it does at times) I felt totally rejuvenated. It is so nice to be back in a routine, going to bed at a decent time and waking up early. I love teaching. I love my co-workers (especially you Elaine, best second-grade teaching partner EVER). I love my students.
It is all about your attitude. I can’t believe tomorrow is already Wednesday!
This is a picture of one of my students. She agreed to be the t.p. mummy during spirit week last fall and when we told her she could move she started to dance! A student after my own heart (I love to dance and often have solo dance parties in my living room).
I have never had more to do in my entire life. So, obviously, I am avoiding all of it. I just sat here, at my desk, for five minutes, staring at nothing. Or something, but thinking nothing. Or thinking many things and not knowing which thought to grasp and put into action, or which thought to ponder and come up with a solution, or which thought to… okay I am done with my thoughts.
This morning I heard a soft knock on my door around 7:55… school starts at 8:10 and my students last year would just burst through the door. I call, no one comes in. Another soft knock. I walk over to my classroom door and as soon as I open it I see one of my students from last year holding up a big chocolate bar (my favorite kind, he knows^^) for me. I almost cried (which would have been different from the tears I cried the morning before-YUP- those were tears of feeling overwhelmed and stressed, these would have been tears of joy) but I hugged and thanked him instead.
The hugs and excited waves from my students last year, and the warm bright hellos and hugs from my students this year are what keep me going. I can do this. I can finish grad school, I can start new programs and curriculum at my school, I can be involved with church, I can get my black belt in taekwondo, I can hang out with friends socially, I can tutor Han Wool, I can and I will.
I just need more hours in the day. Who do I talk to about that?
I have a paper due tomorrow for grad class. And yet here I sit writing a blog post. It’s what I do.
I love the beginning of the school year. It gives me a chance to correct all of the mistakes I made at the beginning of last year.
I do not love the beginning of the school year. My second grade students are still in a first grader mindset, and they need to be retold everything a thousand times (oh wait, that never goes away).
I love the beginning of the school year. Being back with my colleagues, working on new and better unit and lesson plans, meeting new people.
I do not the love beginning of the school year. Being back with my colleagues from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and still not getting everything done, creating curriculum and unit plans from scratch, watching my old students move on without me.
I love the beginning of the school year because I just plain love my job. I love doing what I do. It’s challenging, it’s rewarding, it’s…me! Even in the whining (oops), I find joy. I have to, it’s my middle name! (but really…)
“Ms. Welton, are you pregnant?”
Guess I shouldn’t have worn this outfit on the first day of school. I turned to the side to show my new second grade student that no, I was not pregnant, and yes, I have a small waist. She gave an understanding nod and blamed it on the skirt.
At the end of the day one of my student’s mother came to introduce herself to me. She told me her son wanted to be in my class (what? SO COOL) and his exact words were, “I want to have Ms. Welton as my teacher. She is scary, but funny!” hmmm… I am not exactly sure when I interacted with this kid last year. But he pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Basically, it was an exhausting, but exciting day. The second time around is completely different that the first. I see my students from last year head to the third grade classrooms and my heart hurts. I want them back! But I know I will fall in love with my students this year and think the same thing again this time next year. How do teachers do it? My heart is going to keep expanding until it eventually explodes. Really.
The countdown has begun. I am almost halfway through my third to final week of my first year teaching. I simply can’t believe it. I know everyone says this, but I have learned A LOT, mostly through the mistakes I made^^. My poor students. They were the guinea pigs… but they will always and forever be the first loves of my teaching life. I may even miss their daily nagging of me finding myself a husband (maybe). Watch me say that and then next year they wander down the hall from third grade to peak in my classroom and say, “got a ring on that finger yet?” GAAAAAHHHH!
My mom sent me and email today about the family vaca I am going on this summer with my parents and youngest brother (2 out of their 9 children tagging along to go out west? that’s actually a pretty good percentage!). As I read the message from her I realized how quickly my summer is going to go by.
First the Grand Canyon with the parentals. Then out east (Boston, Philly, New York, Baltimore, and maybe even D.C.!) with a group of besties. Then Michigan (you know, where I am from) and a friend’s wedding! Then back to Korea where I will leave to go to Nepal (mission trip-woot, woot!) before I come back again to start my second year of teaching. Did I mention that during that time I also have to complete two grad classes online? Part of which includes writing the first 3 chapters of my final thesis… Yup, that all hit me today and let’s just say I had a minor heart attack.
Now I just need to pack up and move apartments… what a simple life I live :b
Last week I had a bit of a mis-communication with one of my students. It was pretty rough. He ended up being so upset that he opted to sit on the bleachers during recess instead of playing soccer. I mean, the kids really love soccer.
I joined him at the bleachers along with his best friend J2. “Why don’t you tell J1 (creative I know, but both their names start with J!) some jokes to cheer him up?” I suggested to J2.
He happily obliged. Only… I didn’t really get any of his jokes. J1 didn’t think they were funny. I then asked J2 if he knew any knock-knock jokes. His face lit up, “Yeah!”
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Basketball who?” “Basket ball you!”
okay…. I am trying to wrap my mind around that one when, “Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Gold.” “Gold who?” “Do you have gold shoes?”
Well, you gotta give it to the boy for trying. J2 looked down at J1 (who had his hood up and head down). “Still not funny?”
Friends. They are so priceless.
For those who want to hear more (I wrote them down in my iPhone):
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Easter.” “Easter who?” “Easter bunny broke an egg on your head.”
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Eggs.” “Eggs who?” “Eggs for breakfast.”
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Juice.” “Juice who?” “Juice in your pants.”
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Sneakers.” “Sneakers who?” “Let’s where sneakers on our hands!”
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Lollipop.” “Lollipop who?” “We have lollipop face.”
“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Coffee.” “Coffee who?” “Let’s eat coffee.”
I didn’t even write all of them down. J1 never laughed. I don’t think J2 has ever actually heard a knock-knock joke…
Walking up the stairs coming in from recess my line leader grabs my hand and looks up at me, “Ms. Welton, do you have a boyfriend?” I shake my head (we all know this isn’t an abnormal conversation with my second graders).
“But… why?” she asks in disbelief. Then she pauses for two seconds and continues, “Is it because there aren’t enough Americans here?”
I smiled. “That could have something to do with it.”
“Hmmm… you should go back to Michigan, get married and then come back here,” she decided.
Ooooh. That sounds simple enough!
I finally bought new air fresheners for my classroom. It smells so good in here.