Sunday, August 4, 2013

August Currently and My Back to School Dream

Hey Teacher Friends,
Another Currently in the books for Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade. This summer has really been a slow blogging season for me. I have had a couple of extra summer jobs that have kept me out of my teacher frame of mind. Now I am back in teacher mode. I know because the school dreams have started (more about that after Currently) and I have a strange urge to wear cardigans and break out the teacher wardrobe. I bought a couple of new pairs of pants at the Gap and I have the "new school clothes" blues. My mom would NEVER let us break into the cache of new clothes until the first day. I hold myself to the same standard and it. is. torture!
Any-who. On to my Currently. 

Listening: Nothing exciting on this front. Toddler shows. It could be worse, right?

Loving: I have refinished TWO dressers this summer. The second one went into our guest room. The ugliest room in my house until recently. It was a catch-all. Used for everything and nothing. Not anymore! Maybe when I get it all done, I will post a picture.

Thinking: Big things are going down in my teacher life. BIG THINGS! I won't feel comfortable until a couple more days pass, but I am so bad at keeping things quiet. Hence this awful spoiler. Tune in later for all of the deets.

Wanting: We are heading to Branson and then to Lake Tenkiller to visit friends. We leave on Tuesday. I will likely be packing right up until the bitter end! Where are those magical creatures when you need them? It would be nice to blame them when I forget the hubbies toothbrush/my lotion/other essential item. Any Branson advice? I love that cheesy town, and we always find something new to do.

Needing: Isn't it funny how True Blood is a "need"? I love that show and I look forward to it every week. It is one of my only times to watch anything but toddler tv. Eric is my favorite. And Sookie. I have read all of the books too. I promise I read things other than fantasy romance...really.

B2S must haves:
1. Flair pens by Papermate. The best pens for grading, making notes, doing your color-coded toodle do sooooooo color-code your list. I just know it.

2. Haircut. Wouldn't want to go back to school looking like a wooly mammoth and scare the littles. Pre-K and K kiddies have plenty to worry about with you scaring them right off the bus.

3. Tylenol. For **those** days when you might not make it through. For when you are forced to go over bathroom procedures for 4th grade boys. You will say something like, "Go. Wipe. Flush. Wash." And you will die inside a little. Tell yourself that it is for the children and for the sanity of the custodian and pop a Tylenol.

TPT B2S Must Haves
Here is my pick for a TPT item...I love these suckers. Keep all of those sticky notes organized and off the floor with these handy comprehension tools.
Sticky Note Jot Spots by One Extra Degree

Here is my self-promotion moment. If you get it now, you can start planning for student-led  conferences from the get go. Having work from the first week of school to share makes for a great comparison.
And now on to the next item on my bloggy agenda...
It only seems fitting to share this with you all, since you were in it! 

I had a school dream. School dreams always herald in August and the close of summer like one of those fancy guys who trumpets and announces your name and title. Okay, I may have watched waaaay too much "Sophia the First" on Disney Junior recently.

This dream wasn't my normal "What-principal? I-must-share-tiny-classroom-with-another-35-student-5th-grade-class? And-the-floor-slides-drastically-to-one-side-so-we-will-need-to-constantly-push-our-desks-back-in-place?-dream." This one was different. No ghosts of former challenge students. No me rushing in late to the first day.

I was standing on a stage. I was looking out at all of you. This is what I said (well, as close as I can remember):

Look at all of you! Ready to start a new year. With your new pencils, (Mechanical for the high school teachers, pre-sharpened and super pointy for primary.) big new plans to make sure ALL papers are turned-in on time, lamination film running dangerously low...already, bulletin boards with their brand new paper, and countless hours already logged in preparation. I can just imagine all of the chevron print out there! And owls. Oh, the owls!

I read a book written by teachers this summer. The ever-so-popular genre, Supernatural Teen Romance, may cause everyone except middle school librarians to cringe, but hear me out. In the series, Beautiful Creatures by  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, a character (no spoilers here) has the superpower I covet. He has the ability to absorb and keep another's power just by touching them. You have heard the popular phrase, " I teach, what's your superpower?" If only I could absorb YOUR powers!

I would have the power to make a wrong answer seem like a gold medal.
The power to know if a kid REALLY has to go to the restroom.
The power to make an eleventh grader want to talk about Shakespeare instead of texting.
I would be able to speak multiple languages.
I would never have to worry about how to sync the dongle on my Interwrite board.
I would always know what to say to that disgruntled coworker/student/parent/attendance secretary when my attendance is late.
I would know how to calm a media center full of cranky teachers with only lukewarm water and a bowl of spicy crack pretzels.
I would have patience.
I would be organized, labeled, color-coded, have all of my copies made, and never have broken a sweat.
I would enjoy my students. Every.Single.Day.
I would listen.
I could make perfect and Pinterest worthy anchor charts.
I would have every Marzano design question/element/protocol/form perfectly memorized.
Meaningful data would cover my walls and MAKE SENSE TO THE KIDS.
I would have perfect handwriting.
I would know all about Daily5/World War 2/5 paragraph essays

In short, I would hijack the best part of your teacher soul. And then do you know what I would do?

Exactly what I am already doing. Teach. Like my hair was on fire, like it was my oxygen. You get it. It is what you would do too. It is what you are already doing.

We can all have the power. Not instantaneously, although that would be nice. But slowly, you can absorb teaching superpowers. Take the time to talk about what you do. Find a way to get into that classroom across the hall. Plan as a team. Collaborate with someone. Read. Apply. Fail. Try again.

Let me clarify. Not a single one of us is perfect. We see the pictures online and the posts about organized and clutter free classroom utopias...but secretly, out of frame, is a pile of ungraded papers and about 137 unread emails. It's okay. Connect with people. Real people. Virtual people. You WILL learn something.

And if I happen to brush against your arm as we trudge out into the August heat, just know, it was only your imagination.

Go get 'em, Teacher Friends,