Friday, October 22, 2010

Sick Days

I am staying home from school for the second day in a row thanks to a little thing I like to call TORTURE. Other people call it a sinus infection. Sinus infections usually aren't a very big deal - you feel crappy for a day or two, but you can manage. But, since I have recurring bronchitis, I treat sinus infections like they're the plague. If that drainage starts moving to my chest, I'm a goner.

I've had bronchitis once if not twice each year for about three years. It always lasts for 3 or more weeks and it really stinks! I even had bronchitis during my vacation with mom in 2009. That really stunk... I was coughing all over the United States! :) Right now, I just have a sinus infection, but I can feel it moving to my chest. I stayed home yesterday to rest and see the doctor. I was only out and about for three hours yesterday and came home totally exhausted. Going to school today would have been fine, but my class is going on a FIELD TRIP - to American Village in Montevallo. They are leaving the school in about 5 minutes (yes, at 6:45 a.m.) and returning around 3. I just didn't see an 8 1/2 hr road trip with 80+ kids as being a good way to rest and stay healthy. So, I'm missing school and missing an awesome field trip.

Anyway!! Now that you feel sorry for me, let me tell you what I did yesterday!

- I got everything straightened out with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and my bank. Creating a transfer between your savings account and checking isn't the same as creating an automatic bill payment.. just sayin'.

- Read 10 kids books:
- TIME for Kids: Theodore Roosevelt, Discover George Washington, Discover Thomas Jefferson, George Washington: Our First President, The Patchwork Path, Penguins!, We Eat Dinner in the Bathtub, Letter Fun: ABC Book, The Magic School Bus Rides the Wind, and Angelina and the Butterfly.
- I own all of those books, plus several more. Over the past several months, I've hunted book sales, library stores, and yard sales to help grow my classroom collection. I don't know exactly how many books I have so far, but I am proud of what I have! I really want to try to read all the books I have in my classroom library, so I better start now!
- I also found out that I can look up the Accelerated Reader information (book level, points, and quiz #) online from my house, so I'll probably finish doing that with the books I own today. I also put my soon-to-be new name on many of my books and will probably finish doing so today. :)

- That's actually it! Other than getting up and going to the doctor and pharmacist, I really didn't do much yesterday! But, I was really, really excited about reading all those books and getting them organized. I guess that's probably what I'll do today because, even though I'm supposed to be resting, being alone for 8+ hours is REALLY BORING!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
There's just something about that name;
Master, Savior, Jesus,
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there's something about that name

Bill Gaither - "There's Just Something About that Name"

I grew up listening to and adoring Southern Gospel music, thanks to my mom. Particularly, we enjoyed the lyrics and melodies of a little man named Bill Gaither, his quartet (the Gaither Vocal Band) and the Gaither Homecoming series (where a whole slew of Southern Gospel singers would get together for a night of music and singing). As a child, my favorite songs were "Criminal on the Cross," "He's Still Working on Me," and "Death Ain't No Big Deal." Oh, and don't let me forget, "Your First Day in Heaven!" I don't know what it was about the songs, but I loved them. I mean LOVED them. I loved "Criminal on the Cross" so much that I learned every quickly muttered word and begged my mom to play it over and over again!

Though those were some of the more cheesy songs, Bill Gaither and his crew have also put out a number of incredibly powerful hymns. The one typed above, for example, is one of my all-time favorite hymns. What an incredible Truth! There is something about that name. :)

I just can't help but love these old hymns and songs. Go ahead, hate on me if you want. One day you'll change your mind. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Those Kids

Today was one of those days where all of the hardship, frustration, and stress of teaching was really worth it. To be very honest, the past few weeks in my placement have been rather difficult. There is a lot going on in my 4th grade classroom of 18 students. They each have issues, they each have needs, and they each need individual attention.

Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that my mind has changed towards at-risk/high-risk/difficult students. No longer will I think they just "can't" until I've exhausted every effort possible to prove that they can. Today one of our identified special needs students made his AR goals and got to come to the rewards party! Then, one of our ELL students made yet another 100 on an AR test and had was only .6 points away from being at the "reward" level! And THEN, our student who has severe behavior issues was AWESOME ALL DAY LONG! My cooperating teacher, the principal, and counselor worked on a daily "report card" for him and it totally worked. He just needed some extrinsic motivation and an attainable goal and he was good to go!

I have learned so much about behavior management and classroom management this semester and how to help my most difficult students. I am going to take a teacher vow and promise that I will always do my best to be a reinforcement of positivity, not a mouthpiece for negativity. The Bible says "the tongue has the power of life and death" (Proverbs 18:21). This week, I found out just how true that verse really is.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Feelings of Inadequacy

Yesterday evening, THE Blake Ball and I went to the Alabama/Florida game to cheer on our defending National Champions. Let me just say... I love some Alabama football these days! But, this post is - sadly - not about Alabama football.

When I get dressed for a football game (or really for anything), I try to think practically. What's the weather going to be like? What will I be doing while at this event? Will I need comfortable shoes? You get the idea... so, naturally, yesterday's dressing-myself-process was somewhat routine. It's going to get chilly and I will be standing the majority of the 5 hours we will be in the stadium. So, my inclination is to wear a light, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. Oh, and a cute houndstooth baseball hat someone gave me in Honduras. I asked Blake about six times if I looked okay... because I knew that I was going to be facing swarms of 18-22 year-old girls sporting slinky dresses and high heels. Stuff like that still hurts my ego. I do care about my appearance, but I am just not interested in flaunting 'what my mama gave me' (whatever that means....).

More and more, I am seeing that being 25 means that I'm not 18 anymore. I don't have time to follow the trends and I certainly don't have the money or the energy to spend on trying to be in style or hip or anything like that. And I don't have time to go out and party it up and all that jazz. I have a real life and a real impending career and real bills and a real wedding that costs real money. I guess 25 is technically still young, but being in the education field doesn't exactly require being super trendy nor does it lend itself to all that other "fun" stuff that comes along with being young. (And let's just make a note that I have NEVER exactly been 'trendy' or hip!!)

Normally, I have a whole heck of a lot of confidence and I really genuinely don't care that I'm not the trendiest, hippest person. Having the coolest 'stuff' is the just about the last thing I want to be known for after I'm dead & gone. But, I'm still a girl and I still want to impress my soon-to-be husband and I still want to feel beautiful. The problem is that my definition of beautiful and the world's definition are polar opposites.

Proverbs 31 is one of the most famous passages in the Bible and is often made to be a bit of a joke. Ever heard a guy joke about needing a Proverbs 31 woman? Ever heard a woman say "Well, I'm certainly no Proverbs 31 kind of woman!"? Jokes aside, when I read Proverbs 31, it brings tears to my eyes. This is a wife of noble character... a woman to be not only desired by her husband, but admired by her husband and community. She is hardworking, caring, intelligent, a loving mother, and upholds the respect her husband has earned. Verse 22 says "she is clothed in fine linen and purple" and verse 25 says "she is clothed with strength and dignity."

"Clothed with strength and dignity..." that is my prayer today. There is nothing inherently wrong with having cool "stuff" - including clothes. I have lots of cool stuff that I'm proud and grateful to own. But, I don't want to be known for all that stuff... because, in the end, it is just stuff. I want to daily walk in the ways of the wife of noble character and be clothed with strength and dignity.

I have to remind myself frequently that it's not me versus the sorority girls of the University of Alabama. I'm not competing with anyone. That's hard for girls to come to grips with, trust me! But instead, I am following God's lead and "clothing" myself in His righteousness and grace. And may each day be a testament to the way God has created me and all women: beautiful and precious in His sight and wholly loved by our husbands... and husbands-to-be. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fantastic Friday

Today was a very exciting day. First off, it's FRIDAY! Woo-hoo! I have lots of to-do's on my list for the weekend, but I do get to "sleep in" tomorrow & I get to wear my pajamas all day tomorrow! Secondly, I went to my fourth grade placement and basically got to teach all day long! It was AWESOME!

I started by teaching math this morning, which went really well. We did some math review by playing math jeopardy during whole group and I worked on double-digit multiplication during small group. I used the Whole Brain Teaching strategies I've been learning about and they went over quite well.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to teach reading - whole group and small group. It was a little more difficult since it was FRIDAY AFTERNOON (everyone was excited!), but I still feel like we got a lot accomplished.

This may not mean much to anyone reading this, but... today was a great day. I can not wait to be a teacher and have a classroom of my own! :)