Training! Can I start teaching yet?

Balanced Literacy training is now complete. I wish I could just do trainings all summer long, besides- it pays better than my current summer gig. But alas, no such luck. I learned a lot, but some of it was also review, which I was fine with because it makes me feel even more prepared knowing that some of the things I learned in my coursework and field experience is cohesive with my new job. Check out all the  free goodies I got by attending! Call me silly, but I love getting new PD books to get new ideas from.

I also stopped by my school for a few minutes over lunch to grab the teacher's manual for math and got a quick peek at my classroom! I was hoping to take some pictures but I didn't get the chance to stick around really. However, I got the clear from the principal that I could come in on my week off coming up so pictures will be coming then. Also, I received some Reader's and Writer's Workshop 'stuff,' a bag and notebook and a chapter book that I am hoping on using this upcoming school year for a read aloud at some point. (One of the women running the training used it as an example and realized the book belonged to my school, so she gave it to me. Granted it's not mine to keep... bummer!)

My next training is in August. I am considering going to part time for that month, as I have to finish early anyways and I have a 3 day training too. I really want to make sure my room is set up and that I am feeling good about the first week or two of school. I'll be posting some of my 'summer to-do projects' for this upcoming school year sometime this week! 

I'm not sure who said this, but I found this quote that really dives into my feelings after this training and my career in general:

"The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you're learning you're not old."


Hello, My Name is... Only First Year in the Room

Today was my first training as a teacher. It was day one of three for a balanced literacy training. I knew that it would be a mixture of people with a variety of experience but I anticipated on not being the only first year teacher. However, although we did not get to formally introduce ourselves to everyone, I got the vibe that I was the only one who is brand new to this 'teaching career.' That adds a bit to the intimidation level when everyone who keeps walking in knows someone else in the room and knows what's going on. I tried though to be friendly and participate so I think it went alright for my first time. It sort of helped that some people knew who my sister was and seemed to warm up to me a bit faster because of that.

I have to say though that although the U's program was awfully frustrating, it sure is paying off. I knew a lot of the stuff they talked about today and have already used some of the interactive read aloud strategies in my student teaching placement. Of course I also learned some new things and got assigned to do some reading which had some really great ideas I am looking forward to using. It made me feel better also knowing that even though some of the people in the room have 10-20 years of experience, some of them had positions where they weren't teaching literacy, so a lot of them were at different levels of understanding so I felt like I wasn't completely out of the loop.

I also emailed the outgoing principal to see if I could get into my room either tomorrow or Thursday just to take a peek. I hope to hear back soon as I am getting really anxious to see what I have to work with. I'm also planning on taking the Math Expressions Manuals to start looking through.

For my new knowledge and new experience:

"It's essential to keep an open mind, and to be willing-- better yet, eager-- to try new things." - Michael Abrash

Update!! I found out I wasn't the only first year teacher! There was at least one other who is also teaching 3rd grade at another school and a couple others who have only been teaching a year (or even less)  I loved catching up with a few others who were new or close-to-new! Yay!!!


Am I falling behind already??

I met with my lovely sister tonight for some dinner. I'd be SO lost without her. For real. She is like wonder woman when it comes to all this teaching stuff. However, she did make me feel like I am falling behind on what I should be doing at this point. I need to get into my classroom and start to figure out what is there and what I'll still need. I need to also take a gander at the math curriculum as it is one that I know of, but have not used. In short- I need to get in there. Plus, I'm just really excited to see where I'll be working! I'm an organization freak, so of course I'm excited to begin organizing my room (My sister also made me nervous by saying I should get in there a week before my new teacher orientation, however, I can't due to my current work schedule.).

So I've got some things to work out, but I've got some time. So no, I'm not falling behind, but I need to make sure I keep up!!

"Dreams get you into the future and add excitement to your present"- Robert Conklin

My dream was to become a teacher. Even though I've accomplished this, the actual act of teaching and all that goes into it has made me so excited about life!


The First of Many Firsts

This past week was my first full week of my summer job. I'm working as a group leader for a summer day camp with youth. This past week, I worked with 8-9 year olds in an afternoon soccer camp. Many of them were going into 3rd grade next year and gave me some advice. One camper said that I need to be fun, but strict, so that they don't 'stomp' all over me. Duly noted. It was also fun to get to see kids in a setting outside of the classroom... it made me wonder though how they acted in school as well...

My first set of trainings starts next week. I have literacy training Tuesday-Thursday. Not quite sure what it all entails, but I'm sure it will go over Reader's Workshop from the Teacher's College perspective, as my sister has referenced this before. My principal says I'll learn a ton from it, so I am excited to learn and begin applying it towards my planning and preparation for this upcoming school year.

I continue to be offered interviews. One was from my hometown, which I was surprised by since I heard the number of people who applied was insanely high and the principal told me that I would be contacted in early June if I had gotten an interview. Early June came and went so I assumed I was out of the running. It was for a fourth grade position, which would have been fun. I also got another interview for a fourth grade position in another town of similar size and demographic to my hometown. My mom asked why I wasn't taking the interviews anyway, and to be honest, I am really excited about my choice. There are many pluses, including location, school status (it's a reward school according to the new Multiple Measurement Rating system), and team members among other things. There may come a time when I hope to return closer to home, but for now, I feel very content.

I've also started a to-do list of things I want to try to accomplish prior to being allowed in my classroom. One of the reasons I wanted a job in June instead of August was so that I could slowly prepare without feeling overwhelmed. I just need to make sure I take advantage of it.

Now that this adventure is truly underway, I am trying to make it the most positive experience possible. In doing so, I am relying on taking advice and finding words of encouragement. I'm going to try to close each post from now on with one of the above to remind myself. This post's words of wisdom comes from someone who recently finished her first year of teaching and shared some advice upon finding out that I got the job:

"A lot of teachers get super caught up in perfection- just remember the kids you will be influencing- that's what is most important!!!"

I have a lot of hopes for this upcoming year and a lot of ideas I want to incorporate. But I'll need to remember the reason I am here and make sure I am using my time wisely on what's most beneficial to my students and remember that I'll have many many years to continue to improve and add new things. I'm grateful for this piece of advice :)

Until next time!


The Newest 3rd Grade Teacher on the Block

Who would have thought that I'd get to write this blog entry before I even started my summer job. I had my second interview on Wednesday and I walked out of it not feeling as confident as I did in the first one. Less than 48 hours later, I was offered the position and get the honor to teach 3rd graders in an awesome school next year!! I feel so many happy emotions and feel so blessed to have had this work out so well. Now I get to spend the summer slowly figuring out about my school and district, my team members, the curriculum, and plan out how I want to run my classroom. It's kind of bizarre going from sharing a room with my amazing cooperating teacher for a year to actually having my own room to figure out. I accept the challenge with open arms and am thrilled to begin.

Naturally I got on Pinterest right away to start finding 3rd grade blogs to follow for some great ideas. In a couple of months, this blog will be filled with my real life experiences of being a first year teacher! Stay tuned!


One step closer....

This weekend was full of ups and downs. First, the ups: I got a phone call on Saturday (yes, a Saturday- I didn't know principals made calls on the weekend) from a principal for an interview on Monday for a 5th grade position. I was elated, knowing that my hard work was finally producing some possibilities. In addition to that one, I got a phone call on Sunday (again, who would of thought??) that I have an interview on Wednesday for a 1st and a 3rd grade position in another district. They said they called on Friday and left a message, but my phone never showed that. Makes me nervous if I missed any others... Oh well. So with all that excitement came some downs: I got sick. My mild cold came back at 60 mph and gave me a fever and sore throat Saturday evening. I normally would let it runs it course, but just to be safe I went into urgent care the following day to rule out any other possible problems. Sure enough, it was just a nasty cold. Preparing for my interview was at a bit of stand still Saturday evening and all day Sunday. Luckily I got to my sister's place on Saturday morning and got a couple of hours of practice and advice from her. Again, what a godsend she is to me in this adventure. I woke up this morning, feeling much better (still a little uncomfortable, but much more tolerable) and the nerves took over for my first ACTUAL interview (as the one I had earlier in the month was a screening interview just to get into a hiring pool- which was successful and led to my Wednesday interview)

For my first interview, I feel proud of myself. I caught myself saying some habit words but that will just come with more practice. I am just so grateful for my first opportunity. All in all, this was a great opportunity that I am thankful for. I am hoping something comes from it, but if not, it wasn't meant to be. Even with my sickness, I didn't freak out- I kept thinking that everything happens for a reason and surprisingly, the last couple of days with that mindset has been very helpful for my psyche. I'm looking forward to the interview on Wednesday, as it is with my sister's district. How neat would that be to be in the same district as her?!

Tonight I have my first staff training (besides the belay training). More new stuff coming and I am looking forward to a new summer job and new co-workers and experiences!


Baby Steps

It's been over 2 weeks since my interview and I finally heard back. I'm in the hiring pool for the 4th largest district in the state which increases my odds of having 2nd interviews for positions! Every week there has been new postings so I hope to possibly get in still before the summer lull but I am hoping that even if I miss the boat in this group of hirings that come August when the hiring picks up again, I will be more likely to get in. This little bit of good news was just what I needed. It's been an emotional past 2 weeks. I've had great support though and need to remember all the great things I have and not focus on the things I don't. My opportunity will come and I am confident in my ability to do well in the classroom as soon as someone gives me the chance.

On another note, I had my first training for my summer job this year. I had to learn to belay for rock climbing! In order to practice how to belay we had to take turns actually climbing also. It has hard and I wasn't very good at it, but it was kind of fun too! It's something that maybe I'll try again sometime! It helped that there were only 2 other girls in the training with me so I didn't have to feel as embarrassed, plus they were both very nice and helpful. It was a good first experience with this new job and I am excited to get back to working with school aged kids again. (The toddlers pooped me out... I give those teachers credit for doing that all day everyday! I could handle 1or 2- but 9??)

Next week may be my last chance in getting a job before the summer lull. Here's to hoping!

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