Monday, January 16, 2012

Important Ingredients

So far, my New Year’s Resolutions are going well… I am starting to find a balance… both mentally and physically!  This past week, I left work before 6pm every night, I made time to watch my favorite tv shows (Grey’s and Private Practice), I cooked every night (not the healthiest of meals every time, but it’s a start!), and I started reading a real book (Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden – love it!). 
Tomorrow, on my extra day off, I am going to conform and buy a gym membership.  I used to consider myself a gym rat all throughout college – I even worked at the campus rec center as a group fitness instructor!  Once I got my first teaching job, however, this all changed.  Instead of working out my normal 6 times per week, it trickled down to a maybe 1 time per week for the first couple months, and then 0 times per week for the remainder of the year.  Now, I’m going to get back to some old (but good) habits and join all my other New Year’s Resolution friends at the gym!  J
School was quite refreshing this week.  It was good to be back and see the kids!  I came to school sporting my new hairstyle (this wasn’t one of the 10+ hairstyles that I tried before winter break, but one that I tried during break and found that I actually liked!) and surprisingly, almost all of my students took notice!  Here are some of the comments I received:
“Wow!  You look beautiful today!”
“I like your style!” 
“I like your new hair… it brings out your beautiful side!”
Too funny!  That’s one way to boost your confidence!  J
Speaking of funny comments, here are some more that definitely put a smile on my face.  My Smile of the Week Awards go to… 
3rd Place –What a Ride!
Student: “You’re going to be really jealous of me and what I got to do over break!”
Me: “Why is that?”
Student: “Because I know how much you love dolphins… “
Me:  “Oh ya!?!  What did you get to do?”
Student: “When we were on break, I got to go to Hawaii for a day with my mom and I got to ride a dolphin!” 
(If only I could travel to Hawaii for just a day *and* ride a dolphin! Haha.) 
2nd Place - Catching Up
(This conversation took place during my cafeteria duty.  It was between me and a second grade student)    
Student: “Will you please bring me some ketchup?” 
Me: “Sure, but I think (the other teacher) is coming that way with the ketchup bottle right now.” 
Student: “Well I only want ketchup from my best teacher!”  So he waited until I was able to come down his row with the ketchup bottle. 
Since he was so patient, I decided to give him ketchup in the shape of a star on his hamburger. 
His response, “You gave me a star on my burger because I am a star student!  You really are the best teacher!”  J 
As he was leaving the cafeteria, I still had a ketchup bottle in my hands.  He shouted, “I hope you have a good ketchup (catch-up) day!  Get it – because it’s the first day back!”  Haha… so creative! 
1st Place – Special Ingredients
Have you ever had one of those days where your class just gets the giggles… and everything you say or do just elicits more laughter?  Well, this was one of those times…
My first graders were reading a story about two kangaroos gathering ingredients to make a meal.  On the last page of the story, the kangaroos decide to enjoy their creation.  As we were reading the end of the story, one of my students claimed, “Boy, this story is making me really hungry!”
Another chimed right in, “Some pizza sounds really good right now!  Pizza is my favorite food!”  No more than two seconds after making this statement, he pointed to me and said, “If you were a piece of pizza, I’d eat you all up!” Then he started pointing to random students in the class, telling them that if they were a chocolate donut or a cupcake he would eat them all up too!  This continued until every single student in the class was assigned one of his favorite foods. 
At this point, the whole class was laughing uncontrollably… I had students literally rolling on the floor!  It was hysterical to watch!  Right as I started regaining control of the class, the office buzzed through, calling this student down to the office to leave for the day.  I told him to run and grab his coat and backpack from his classroom and then make his way quickly to the office.  He jumped up excitedly, ran towards the door and hollered, “see-ya!”  Right as he walked through the doorway, he raised his hand high up in the air, waved a silly little wave, and shouted in a deep voice, “Peace!”  I let a few more giggles happen for the next 15 seconds, then it was time to knuckle down and get back to business! 
Approximately 2 minutes later, the student that left to go home burst through the door and shouted in desperation, “I couldn’t leave without giving you guys hugs!!!!”  That was the breaking point - the class about lost it!  I sent the student on his way, made a desperate attempt to recover, but there was no getting back to where we started.  I guess this just goes to show that you have to have a little humor in your day everyday! J  
Of all the things that I’ve discovered about finding a balance in life, this is one that I believe to be among the most important: laughter.  Laughter is good for the soul.  It warms you up from the outside, in.  Laughter always makes any situation brighter, any experience more enjoyable, and every day worth living.  It is a key ingredient to a happy life!
Have you laughed today?  J 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Another Award?!?! Thanks!

I was nominated for another award in the wonderful blogging community… the Versatile Blogger Award!  Many thanks to Caitlyn for nominating me!  (Also, be sure to check out her cool blog at Sliding into First!)

The rules for this award are as follows:
1. Thank the person that gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Tell 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they received it.

So… here are 7 random things about me:  J
1.       I’m tall and I have big feet. I’m 5’10” and wear size 10 shoes to be exact.

2.        My favorite color is blue. This includes any variation of blue… navy blue, royal blue, sky blue, teal blue, turquoise blue, ocean water blue, etc. I love them all!

3.       I am a health nut and I have a sweet tooth. This is a weird combination, but I try to make it work. Usually the sweet tooth wins me over.  My weakness is ice cream - I *love* ice cream! My favorites include: dark chocolate ice cream with gummy bears or raspberries and blackberries, mint chocolate chip ice cream with strawberries (weird, I know – but I love it!), and banana splits with pineapple, chocolate, and strawberry toppings and peanuts (hold the whipped cream and the cherry on top).

4.       I don’t watch a lot of tv, but I do have a few favorite shows that I refuse to miss.  My all-time favorite tv show is Grey’s Anatomy. I started watching it in college and now own every season.  I am officially a Grey’s junkie. My other favorite tv show would have to be Private Practice, a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy.  Both shows are highly addicting with a good mixture of love, friendship, and medical drama.  If you don’t watch them already, watch one episode and I promise you’ll be hooked!
5.       Life is an adventure!  Everyday opens a new door for opportunity to try or experience something new.  I believe that you should always take these opportunities as they lead to places of endless possibilities!  I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel to places all around the globe.  My favorite of those have been trips to the ocean, where I’ve had the chance to swim and scuba dive with dolphins.  I can’t wait to see what adventures await in Australia and Costa Rica – places where I plan to travel in the near future.   

6.       I am fortunate to be living my dream as an elementary school teacher.  I absolutely *LOVE* my job!  Not many people can truly say that, but I take pride in the fact that I can.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and I believe that this is a good way to do so.  I’ve had so many teachers that have changed my life and have shaped who I am today.  My hope is to do the same thing for my students. 

7.       I have the best family and friends in the entire world!  Without them, I would not be the person that I am today.  Thank you all for impacting my life in such a positive way!  J

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to nominate another new blogger for this award.  This is a blog that I have recently discovered and is brand new to the bloggy world: 
Be sure to check out Sue’s amazing and inspiring blog!  I’m always on the lookout for others… so if you’d like to share, leave a comment!  J 
In other news, Monday is my first day back to school (it seems late, but we didn’t get off until the 22nd)!  I can’t believe how fast my break flew by, but I really am excited to get to see the kiddos again.  I’ve missed them!  I hope all my teacher friends out there had a great first week (or good luck to those of you who will be returning back next week like me).  Enjoy your weekend! 

Friday, January 6, 2012


I am pleased to share that I was nominated for my first blog award, the Liebster Award!  Hooray!  Thank you, Kylie for nominating me for this wonderful award.  I am so honored!  J   Please be sure to check out Kylie’s new blog, Miss Smartie Pants! 

Now that I’ve been nominated for this award, it is time to pay it forward! 
Here are the rules:
1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog.
2.  Nominate other happy little blogs (200 followers or less)
3.  Post the award on your blog.
4. Make sure to check out what these up-and-coming blogs have to offer.
So… I would like to nominate some other wonderful blogs that I’ve just recently discovered for this award.  If you’re looking for some inspiration, be sure to check out these blogs:

Please check out these amazing blogs! 
Thanks for your support!  Happy blogging!!!!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Balancing Act

Happy New Year!!!!  I hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable kick start to the New Year!  I have a good feeling that 2012 is going to be a year rich with opportunities and excitement.  Coming into this new year, I can’t help but reflect back on the previous 12 months and smile at what a wonderful adventure 2011 was.
I did my student-teaching in a first grade classroom at an amazing school with an absolutely phenomenal mentor teacher.   I’ve had many classroom experiences, but this is the experience that really ignited my passion for teaching – I got to observe and help learn to instill a passion for learning in my students and see the joy that learning brings, as well as witness the determination, excitement, wonderment, discovery, and magic that could only happen with the help of my amazing mentor and 27 eager kiddos.  To put it simply, it was pure bliss!   Shortly after my student-teaching, I graduated college!  Then it was “welcome to the real world!”  J
At the start of the summer, I went on several interviews and was offered the position of a Reading Interventionist at a magnificent school.  I was a little reluctant at first knowing that I would be giving up the opportunity for my own classroom for my first year of teaching, but I accepted the job.  After interviewing and meeting with some of the staff, I had a hard time walking out the doors, knowing that I might not be coming back.  It was then that I realized that I was making the right decision – and I am so glad that I did! 
Shortly after, I was promoted to a pool manager at my summer job.  Even though the pool was a little further away than the other pools I spent the majority of my summers working at, I was willing to make the effort knowing the opportunities that existed.  As a pool manager, I was in charge of all the lifeguards, scheduling, pool parties, and creating and maintaining the swim lesson program.  It was a lot of hard work, but I met a lot of incredible people and got to do what I do best – teach!  J 
Once August arrived, my life had switched from the summer sunshine to the dull drone of air conditioning.  I had begun my training for my “big girl” job.  I spent countless hours staring at the muted, windowless walls of the district training building, dreaming of what my first day in the classroom would actually be like.  Finally, after 2 straight weeks of training, the moment I’d been waiting for and dreaming of my entire life had arrived…  My first day of teaching! 
What a roller coaster ride the rest of the year was!  So many ups and downs, sorrows and delights, challenges and celebrations… to sum it up in one word = WOW!  I have learned SO MUCH from this year and feel like I am a better teacher because of it.  I am continuing to learn and grow, but I am glad to have had these experiences to allow me to become the best I can be.  Thank you 2011 for being such a *big* year! 
Now onto 2012… Woohoo!!!!
As with the start of every New Year, it is a tradition that I make a New Year’s Resolution.  Instead of trying to come up with little goals that I usually follow for about a month and then forget about (eg. working out, eating healthier, etc.), I’ve come up with an all-encompassing resolution – one that I am going to continue working on for the entire year… (drum roll, please)…. I am going to find a balance!  This means that I am going to balance my work life with my personal/social life.  I am going to make time for my friends and family, as well as enjoying a little “me time” to myself.  I am going to be a healthier person overall – making time to cook myself dinner, workout, read a book, etc.  I am going to continue being the best teacher I can be by putting forth 100% effort no matter what obstacles land in my way, but realize when it’s time to take a break, relax, and rejuvenate.  After all, stress free is the way to be!  J 
This resolution will come especially handy when it is time to start my Master’s degree.  Yep- you read that correctly – I want to pursue my Masters in Reading!  I found the perfect program that works with my school schedule and is nearby.  Not to mention it is pretty cost-effective (for being a Master’s program).  I haven’t officially applied as I have a lot of paperwork to get in order first (3 professional letters of recommendation, official transcripts, possible loans, essays to write, a resume needing to be updated, etc.), but luckily the program doesn’t begin until this summer.  I really hope that it works out, as literacy is one of my biggest passions and there is always so much to be learned about how to best teach it (and how kids best learn it)! 
Although I am unsure of what this next year will bring, I do know that it will be a joyous adventure!  Cheers to 2012, a year of hope, joy, and most importantly, balance!