Friday, March 27, 2009

The Dreaded Sub

Today was my IEP writing day at school. A sub was hired for the full day, and I was given the day to write my IEPS. I know, it's impossible to write 9 IEPS in 8 hours, but, hey at least I was granted 1 day! My sub arrived early, sat down at the front table, and didn't move until it was time to take the kids to special. I have to give credit to my aid, who did all the teaching in the morning. When my students went to special I'll admit I went down to the principal to complain about the substitute. My principal was proactive - she immediately went to chat with my sub. Of course, I was not in the room for the discussion, so when I returned the sub told me the principal paid her a visit. I acted surprised, then gently suggested to her that she move around and give 1:1 attention to the students. Sure enough she took me up on this advice and walked around to all the kids once they came back from special. Sometimes gentle reminders are all people need to get them moving in the right direction.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday Reunion Trip

My alarm went off at 4:15 yesterday morning. Yes, 4:15 A.M. on a Saturday morning. I jumped out of bed and quickly ran to the bathroom to take my shower and get ready for my exciting journey to NYC! I'll admit, I have never driven to NYC by myself before, and I was a little nervous. I was in the car by 4:50, and the only customer in the Wawa. I poured a gigantic, well needed 24 oz coffee, and picked up a 50 oz water bottle. I quickly exited the Wawa, turned on my GPS and was on the road to Teacher's College by 5:05 A.M. I didn't hit any traffic and was speeding through the toll of the George Wasington Bridge when I ran into a snag. Red brake lights, lots of them. I came to an abrupt stop and thought to myself...well it's 6:46, the GPS says I should be there at 6:57. This abrupt stop might mean I won't arrive until big deal I'll still be an hour and a half early for the keynote address. After holding my foot to the brake pedal for 15 minutes I realized I was in a serious jam up. 5 hundreths, yes, 5 hundreths of a mile in front of me was an accident that shut down all lanes of the George Washington Bridge. I shifted my car into park and sat back. By this time other agitated drivers were out of their car attempting to get some answers. There were no answers for 2 hours. Finally at 8:35 I shifted my car out of park and into drive. Once I passed the accident I saw the three open lanes in front of me, just waiting for cars to busy them once again. My GPS man spoke to me, and I followed his directions. I hit no more traffic, found a parking garage and found my seat in the Riverside Church around 8:50, still 10 minutes until the Keynote address! Lesson learned - If I left 5 minutes later I would have been late, If I would have left 5 minutes earlier I would have been 2 hours early! Oh, the joys of traffic!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Validation - Do We Do It?

Thanks to Successful Teaching for this post. A great message...Since watching it I have been trying to validate others...pass it on!

A Gratifying Experience

For the past month my class has been practicing our play, Henry's Freedom Box. The kids worked so hard to make it a truly moving experience for the entire school. Last Friday was the assembly for Black History Month where we were going to perform our play. The kids were excited to put on their costumes, and were even more excited when they found out we were the last part of the assembly. It felt like we were sitting for hours at the assembly before it was finally our turn. Keep in mind, we had practiced every part of this...from getting up out of our seats to sitting back down.
The music began "Swing low, sweet chariot..." and the kids did a fantastic job. We decided to add a song to the end of the play where the kids would do a dance. Celebrate America, by Barry Mann It was the perfect addition and brought many of the students and teachers in the audience to tears. I was so proud of my students. For once the special ed students were the stars of the show. These are the moments I live for as a teacher.