I cannot resist a good linky party (seriously, I have tried) so when I saw that Jennifer (great name!) over at Rowdy in First Grade was having a Spread a Little Sunshine linky party I had to join up. Her story about getting a "Have a great day, honey!" at Starbucks reminded me of how I got through my advanced training in the Army.
Advanced training comes after Basic Training and you'd think it would be easier, but it's not really. Still living in barracks, still getting yelled at by Drill Sergeants, still getting dropped for exercises every 15 minutes. I was homesick, not getting much mail at all, missing sleep and real food. The one thing that made me smile every day? Going to breakfast in the morning. We didn't get anything special, not even extra time to eat. What made breakfast so special was the Hispanic lady who checked us in. Each morning we got in a single file line and as we approached her podium we had to give her our name and social security number. And each time she'd respond with a smile and "Good morning, mijo!" or "Good morning mija!". I didn't know what it meant (I took French in high school) but the tone of her voice let me know that it was an endearment. I'm sure she never knew how much it meant to some of us, but hers was the one kind, non-military voice we heard all day and I held onto that one friendly sentence each day like a lifeline. It just goes to show you, even the smallest things can make a huge difference to someone else.
As far as current positives?
My eldest son is in the Gifted and Talented program now and is so excited to get to go to GT every Thursday. I can tell it's going to be a great experience for him. He did come to me a bit worried though. It seems his class's library day is Thursday and he was concerned he wouldn't be able to check out any books this year because he would be gone! I told him to ask his teacher and I was sure that she would arrange for him to go to the library on a different day when he finished his work early etc. So glad that his biggest worry right now is something so easily fixed!
My little red head is enjoying 2nd grade. He is my shy guy and last year he had a very pretty teacher who he never spoke to. He blushed bright red whenever she talked to him. Although he learned, his shyness did hinder him in some aspects. Its kind of hard to ask for help when you're confused about something if you're too shy to talk to the teacher! This year he has the only male teacher in our building (aside from our PE teacher) and he is more comfortable with that male influence. He got an A+ on a paper and that is something to celebrate from this little guy. His major worry right now? His teacher is going to be absent for 3 days next week so he will have a substitute. I had to tell him that "No, you can't stay home alone until your teacher comes back from his daughter's wedding." lol.
My classroom positives: I have some sweethearts this year! There's not a day that goes by where I don't get a note of some kind from my sweeties. My favorite note this year? One written on a paper towel. I can tell she took such care trying to make something nice for me, on the best paper she had available, it really touched me that she would go to that effort.
One of my other girls brought in a cd of school friendly songs ("there's no cuss words!" she told me) After looking at it I agreed that it would be ok to play a few songs from it every once in a while. Today I put two songs on during lunch. During the first song everyone pretty much just ate and conversed quietly. When the second song came on however, they spontaneously started singing along. All 18 of them! I looked around the room and had to giggle as I thought how this would probably never happen in the 4th or 5th grade classrooms. The song they were singing? "Fireworks" by Katy Perry. Off-key and mangled lyrics, it was still pretty special to listen to them!
We also get a free healthy snack Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It's either a fruit or vegetable, and we have to do some kind of writing with it to record that we actually gave the children the snacks. It's part of a grant that we got to help encourage a healthy lifestyle. I love, love, love this! So far we have had pineapples, apples, baby carrots and peacharines. After we eat we write a quick response. I'm finding that this is the perfect mini break to our long afternoon and we are all enjoying the snacks! I even had one little guy ask me "If I'm really, really good the rest of the day, can I have the extra pineapple?" How can you argue with that?!
I have a Practicum student! Our local university has sent her to observe me for 40 hours and she will teach a mini unit to my class sometime in November. I actually really enjoy having observers because I find I am more aware of what I'm saying and my responses to students. It helps me to be a better teacher because I'm trying to model for my observer, not to mention its always good to have extra hands in the room!
Remember to head over to the linky party for more pick-me-ups!