Flexiblity

I know I wrote about yoga in the last blog, but this is about a different kind of flexibility.

It’s about that unique kind of flexibility you gain from teaching and living abroad, especially in a developing country. I can’t even count how many times our plans have changed in the last two years. It seems as though every single plan we made didn’t actually happen.

This has been a valuable experience for both of us, learning to just let life happen. Go with the flow (this is sounding more and more yoga like). Both of us were raised in families love to plan things, yet our plan changes daily so we can’t exactly organise anything.

I know this is all very vague so I’ll give you some specifics.

I supposed you could say the first year in Egypt went according to our plan, but this second one has been insane. We originally came to Egypt with the idea that we will be here for two years without going home. Both of my younger sisters were getting married during summer, so we went home (probably the best change of plans ever!). Then we came back to a school that was shut down by the government so I switched schools. Then in November our money was devalued, throwing our travel plans out the window. By January I’d had 0 interviews for next year and by February we had decided it wouldn’t be the worst thing to stay in Egypt for another year. Now I’ve had a few interviews as well as a job offer but we still have not made a commitment to leave Egypt.

So here’s the current thinking. We would rather stay in Egypt a third year than move to another difficult country or a difficult school. Only if an IB school with good reviews offers me a position will we be moving out of Egypt.

 

Walkout

Today I did something that I never thought I’d ever do. I picketed on the side of the road. There are several reasons why Washington state teachers are all worked up. I can point you to several great articles if you need more info because I’m not here to preach about the issues. I’m here to share my thoughts.  Let’s start with my opinion of picketers. Usually my thoughts are along the lines of, they look kinda foolish, what do they hope to accomplish?  The same thought occurred today, only replace the ‘they’ with ‘we’. Yes. I was uneasy at school when asked if I was going to walk with them. But I said yes because I agree with every one of their reasons and feel like it’s a cause worth supporting. However, what realistic impact did we have? The majority of people driving by honked and waved at us in agreement. Still I ask, what good did it do? All of these people already voted for smaller class sizes, etc.  I don’t know much about politics. In fact, I avoid politics as much as possible. But what can we really expect to happen? I’ll try not to ask that again because I  think you get my point.

It’s not the people (voters) or the districts who we disagree with and the union is only helping us take a stand. There are so many people out there who have no clue what’s happening and blame teachers for things that are totally out of our control. Not long ago, I was also clueless about any of these issues.  I was just doing my job.  If you tell me to do something, I do it to the best of my ability.  You tell me I have to teach common core without any real curriculum? Ok, let’s see how we can make it interesting for the kids.  I have to give the SBAC test that hasn’t even been written yet? Ok, I’ll research what it’s all about.  You tell me I have to teach two grades my first year? Ok, let’s find out how to make it work.  You tell me I get paid this much for my work? Ok, it sure beats an inconsistent schedule working weekends and holidays.

No one told me that I had to vote a few weeks ago. So I didn’t. In fact, I only knew the bare minimum about what was even going on.  When the vote turned out to be a huge majority for a walkout, I thought I better pay attention to what’s going on.  Maybe it’s because I’m a naive, young teacher, but I was shocked at the results.  So they voted and we walked out earning an extra day of school added on the end of the year. That’s done and over with, but what next?

There could easily be an endless list of things that teachers want changed and reasons that we walked out and did not teach today.  I can’t help but think that maybe we should have focused on one thing in particular that we wanted to fight.  Surely they won’t bend over backwards to fix ALL of the issues encountered in the classroom these days.  So what are we able to live with?  What happens if/when nothing happens?  What happens to education?

Stayed tuned for the most recent thoughts on next year…

I’ve become a statistic

 

Which statistic would that be? The one that says such and such percent of first year teachers get sick. I’m not even a real teacher yet, but I’ve got a nasty cold. I won’t complain. I promise.Last week I experienced a field trip with my class. We went to Sacajawea (saca-jew-EEa or sacA-ga-weah, you choose) State Park for Heritage days. I remember going to the same activities as a homeschooler, but we went to so many of these things they all kinda ran together.I’ll add a few pictures but I’m not sure what the rules are about posting pictures of students. I think it’s ok as long as they aren’t identified?

We went to several different stations and learned about various things from the early 1800’s. I think the most interesting thing we saw was this steam engine. He used it to power old lightbulbs with various curly filaments and he used it to saw a log. Very cool.

The fourth graders don’t really learn about Lewis and Clark until the end of the hear, but i think they enjoyed it for the most part. It was freezing. We’re barely into fall here so we weren’t expecting a windy, 55 degree day with some rain. Thus the cold and a class full of sniffing and coughing kids today. _DSC0039 _DSC0069 _DSC0085_DSC0096

*Note: This blog was originally written on Monday, September 30th

 

Student teaching

I’ve been student teaching for 7 days now. Mostly watching but a bit of teaching as well. We’re working with 28 fourth graders. Quite a bit different than what I’m used to. We also have quite a few kids with various issues (asbergers, ADD, ADHD) so learning to work with them is another challenge. My host teacher (HT) is very experienced and is more than willing to let me do whatever.
So far the kids have been pretty good and things have gone fairly smoothly…. Except for yesterday. Even before the lesson started, I knew it would be a challenge to teach. Here’s what we attempted to do. My HT gave me science to teach because the kids like it and it’s fairly easy. So the lesson was to see how many D batteries it took to turn on a regular light bulb (Previously, they used D batteries to turn on a baby light bulb). I thought that splitting the class in half would work, but there weren’t enough materials. Sharing materials didn’t work either. So I ended up with half of the class crowded around the experiment, yelling at each other while the rest of the class goofed off in the classroom. Of course, my HT was out of the room, so I battled through it and eventually we got it figured out. Bad idea. Kids ended up standing on the chairs to see what was going on, along with all the yelling. It was a nightmare. But after it was over, I talked about it with HT and figured out what to do differently. Next time. Hopefully there isn’t a next time. But you live and learn. I was…still am…embarrassed that this happened while I was teaching, but now I know better.
That happened on Friday and I was definitely ready for the weekend.

March is here

February has quickly slipped by. Where did it go?
Here’s what’s new. We are planning a trip to the Netherlands. We don’t have any details yet but we’re going prolly next year. I still think it’s extremely unfair that the rest of my family has been to Europe except me. I’ll fix it myself.

I’m set up to do my student teaching in September. That’s extremely terrifying and exciting! I have to keep working hard on all of my tasks to stay “approved” with the system. There are a few more deadlines I have to meet to show them I’m still on track.

Kindergarten has been super fun. There are moms that come and help out the teachers. So I’ve been asked many times, “Whose mom are you?”. One of the kids even asked if I was Mrs. Lipp’s mom. It’s hard to explain to a kindergartner that I don’t have any kids and I’m just there to learn how to teach since I can’t just say I’m there for my practicum experience. Last Friday, I taught a phonics lesson to some 1st graders. I found them much easier to teach. Hopefully I’ll experience 2nd and 3rd grades in the next few weeks as well.

Last Saturday I woke up sick. I went through two things of Airborne tablets during the week and was feeling better. Today I woke up sickER. I guess I was talking too much about how I hadn’t gotten sick yet. There’s been some nasty stuff going around that lasts for a long time. I hope this doesn’t last long.
My one plant that has survived is blooming! That reminds me that it’s almost time to plant my garden again. I think I want to try some zucchini this year.

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The cat doesn’t enjoy his lessons much.

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Kindergarten

Today was my first day of kindergarten. Literally. I’ve never been before. I kinda feel like I missed out…sorry mom. I think I made a few little friends and I’m excited to go back and see them all again. I’m a bit nervous for when the teaching part comes. There are 28 of them! And I’ve only taught 10 at a time before.

Also on the teaching front, Coram Deo has been really…weird and stressful the last few weeks. It has been some of the hardest days to teach with students missing class, getting sick, and teachers quitting, among other things. It’s hard for me to say no, but I will. I will. It’s good for me.

I’m sitting here drinking chai, listening to music, and doing homework and laundry. Reminds me of college…in a good way. It’s break time by the way. Don’t yell at me! At least I’m not on Facebook.

On Sunday I get to play the 1812 Overture with the Mid-Columbia Symphony! It’s another one of those pieces that I never dreamed that I’d get to play (along with Carmina Burana). But here I am! One of the horn players also lent me a Conn 8d to play for the concert if I want. I’m super excited to try it. That’s next on the list of stuff to do today (blogging wasn’t on the list…).

Speaking of keeping track of things to do, anyone want to come clean our apartment?? It seems like it’s endless with cats puking and spilling things and us coming and going all the time. We don’t even have kids yet! Lets just say that having a clean space isn’t a very high priority around here.

I know this has been very vague and disjointed, but that’s what you get for this week. I’m sad to say that I haven’t even touched my camera for at least a month so no pictures 😦

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon to be Christmas

The best part of being a teacher? Getting presents from the students. Homemade granola, a coffee mug set, a giant bag of lindor truffles (they must know me better than I thought), and various other baked goods. I feel so blessed and honored to be able to teach them and I feel really terrible when they ask a question that I don’t really know the answer to (hopefully that won’t happen in elementary school). Also, due to the generosity of my Spanish 2 parents, I get a more money. I did know that I wasn’t getting as much as they originally said, but I didn’t really expect that to change. I am so very grateful.

In class today, we went caroling, ate tons of food and watched Un burrito en Navidad. Nos divertimos mucho. Es mi día favorito de todo el año. También pedí que mis estudiantes hablen de los tradiciones navideños de varios países. Cada día de clase desde el 4 de diciembre, comemos comida tradicional de los países que eligieron. Si los estudiantes traen comida, la maestra estaré feliz y los estudiantes sacarán buenas notas.

I need some practice with Spanish too sometimes. Feel free to edit…

I’ve got all my presents wrapped and I’m just waiting for Christmas to arrive. I’ve finished up teaching for the year. I just have the little problem of not having a placement for PCE with WGU. Watch out or I’ll GMS your PEM in my DGO…I’m just making things up now. Now is not a good time to write a blog. I feel like I’m stressed out over not having anything to do. But that isn’t the case at all. I have a lot of stuff I should be doing. Let me see if I have any pictures to share with you.

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Target sent me a cat!

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And a toy just for them. They don’t tell time very well.