Princess Teacher

Today was a weirdo day. First day back from break = Basically the first day of school. So from the start it was slightly different feeling. But then the real kicker… I had no students. None. Zero. My classroom was completely empty.

Weird.

But somehow it worked out as a HUGE blessing in disguise because I was able to spend the day in a class and a grade and with a group of kids that I never get to spend time with. And if I’ve learned one thing from teaching it’s that every new experience with children will teach you something.

Today I learned that I like being a “princess” teacher. What is a Princess Teacher, you ask? I believe it is a teacher with 3 qualities: 1. Patience. 2. Genuine interest. & 3. A little bit of silly.

Garden Hair 1       Garden Hair 2

  • Patience. With a room full of silly kids it can be hard to come by, but first and foremost I want every student I encounter, even the ones that I don’t instruct, to see me as someone that they can trust and that will listen to them. I feel like that only comes when they see that you’ll hear them out without losing your cool or getting distracted.
  • Genuine interest. Because every child WANTS to be heard and seen as an individual and seen as something special. Asking about their day in the midst of a crazy classroom shows that you care. And why not embed the things you already know they love into your teaching. I got to do this today with a little one that so badly wanted to share with me details of her trip to her aunt’s house over break. 5 minutes of math led to 1 minute of allowed storytelling that led to one giant hug and smile.
  • Finally… if the pictures above don’t tell you anything (other than my infatuation with letting little girls and boys place flowers in my messy hair… yes, today was the second Hair Garden. #flowersinhair #dontcare), I hope it speaks to the silly. When I was called Rapunzel today instead of Mrs. Collins, I wasn’t offended in the slightest, especially because it was only on the playground and the little girl’s expression was precious. I think that sometimes we get so caught up in standards and discipline and lesson planning that we forget that we are teaching CHILDREN. Obviously there has to be respect in a classroom, but there can also be a lot of love and a lot of fun!

While I probably get weird looks from other teachers because of the flowers in my hair, I just shake it off because 1. it’s all for the kids, and 2. I’m a princess 🙂

School’s Out for the Summer!

Jerger Elementary School… You’ve been so good to me 🙂

Reflections from Year 1:

  • Kids take things you say literally. “Bring it down a level” may cause children to physically slump in their chairs. “It’s an emergency” means the police and paramedics are coming, even if you just spilled your water.
  • Things that kids say to you are typically literal. One student told me that he was bringing me roses on the last day of school. Sweet, thoughtful, totally normal. On the last day I didn’t just get roses… I got a rosebush. Haha! Even better! But again, very literal.
  • Making the grade starts somewhere deeper. In school we studied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I remember going “duhhhh”. Basic needs before everything else. Got it. Well, sometimes kids with a lot of potential won’t perform… until you fulfill basic needs such as clothing, functional skills, love, and attention. It’s amazing what a kid can do when you believe in them. Or when they believe in themselves.
  • Relationships are built on love and discipline. Some days there’s more love. Some days there’s more discipline. Sticking by them through the ebb and flow is what makes it real and what builds trust.
  • You’ll think of a better way to teach something… after your lesson. Every. Stinking. Time. But is that a bad thing? Of course not. Self-evaluation in any capacity makes you better. So Year 2 is bound to be… well… less flawed. I won’t say perfect 🙂

Next year will be a challenge. And the year after that. And the year after that. But boy oh boy am I blessed to have finally caved into the field of education 🙂 Can’t imagine any better way to make a living than loving and caring for our future.

Happy summer, ya’ll. From here on out it’s posts about laying out at the pool and getting my nails done 🙂

Softball and beef jerky

photo 4

What an odd blog title for me to post.

My mom & dad will be especially confused since they were there to witness my one (just one) glorious season of softball as a 7-year-old, in which I got on first base an astonishing… once. And it was a walk… so sad.

But this week, I am THANKFUL for softball and beef jerky. What?! Yep. I said it. Softball, a sport I know really nothing of. And beef jerky, a food I never wish to eat. But nonetheless, this week they’re on my thankful list. (Speaking of, I’m thinking a thankful list might be a good blog series… Hmm.)

Here’s why. Softball and beef jerky have been my IN to a relationship with an 11-year-old girl this week. Softball and beef jerky are a way that I’ve been able to make her feel special, unique, and known. Softball and beef jerky have given me a chance to look at a girl who is misunderstood and say, “I think you’re capable. I think you’re worth something. I don’t think bullying and attitude define you.”

And she in turn has smiled with me.That’s why I’m thankful.