Longest. Week. Ever.

Ok, so maybe that’s an exaggeration.  This week was in reality no longer than any other, but it sure seemed like it took forever to get through.  But I did make it through! As evidenced by the fact that I am sitting here on my third cup of coffee.  I got to sleep roughly 13 hours last night. I needed it! God was so gracious to me this week. I can look back at the rough spots and yet, see some really great things that happened.  Most of all, this week I grew!

I learned a lot about myself. Some of it I’m glad to see, some things need to change.  It strikes me that maybe that’s the whole point of going through these rough times.  We all have them.  (There’s nothing new under the sun, you know- Ecc. 1:9) So now what? I made it through and I see some things I need to work on in myself.  Great, more work?!?  Nope…I am reminded of what I learned in a 3 year Bible course I took a few years ago. I need to allow GOD to change those things in me.  It’s like being on a treadmill. You’re constantly moving, but really getting no where…seeing no change.  To get off the treadmill, you have to recognize that there is a need for a change, consecrate yourself to the change (dedicate yourself to it), and allow God to work the transformation.  I sure can’t transform anything. But I know God can!  If I let Him.

See how important sleep is! After getting enough rest, I can see a bit more clearly how important this week has been for me.  I think I’m going to go take a nap.  Monday will be here before you know it, and I get to start a week all over again 😉

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Positive/Negative

Slammed. That’s the best word I can think of to describe this week. I’m trying to keep my head above water, my ducks in a row, all the plates spinning.  Apparently when tired and overwhelmed I not only consume enough calories to keep an elephant going, I can only speak in cliches. And it’s only Wednesday.

I could whine and cry and tell you what’s going on, but really, I don’t even have the energy for that. However, since I’m trying to ‘work some things out’ and writing is one of my outlets, I suppose I should just let it fly (told you…we could play count the cliches!)  How about this?  In order to force myself to see things a little more clearly and less negatively, for every complaint or stress, I’ll have to say something positive that’s happened this week.  Just so you don’t get the 2 confused, I’ll put a plus in front of the happy things, and a minus in front of the (insert a negative adjective here) ones.

– I’ve not gotten nearly enough sleep this week, and it really is my own fault. I’m currently mad at myself for this, and not speaking to myself. (My husband now lovingly refers to me as the ‘Queen of the NAMPs’)

+ This week I discovered that International Delight has a new limited edition flavored coffee creamer: Almond Joy. Joy indeed!

– Last week the 3rd marking period ended. This week I got 2 (yes, TWO) new students. My class count is now at 17. What’s 2 more kids, right? Well, when combined with everything else going on this week, it’s enough to make me cry at the end of my first day with ALL of them.  They are sweet children, it’s just THIS week.  Any other week, and I would be totally ok with all these changes.

– I have to teach Thursday and Friday morning (17 kids, remember) and then I have parent/teacher conferences (for all 17 kids) the rest of those days.  I love the families I work with, but in this exhausted state…oh mercy…just pray for me!

+ Bekah is loving being part of her high school’s performance of “Phantom of the Opera”. We all went to see it last Friday.  There are 6 performances all together, and it looks like I’ll make it to one more.  At least she didn’t have practice these last 3 days.  I’m pretty sure that would have pushed me over the edge.

– I’m a stress eater.  I hate that about myself. I get stressed, I eat. And I eat a lot.  Not good, friends, not good.

+ Spring like weather was here for a few days last week.

– It’s cold again. And gray. I need sun…and LOTS of it.

I really hate to end on a negative, but I’ve got nothing left. And no one else is going to fill out these report cards and sift through all the evaluations I’ve done.

I lieu of feeling bad for me, leave me the most positive things someone’s said to you lately in the comments. That would make me very happy 🙂

 

Tiny Talk Tuesday

It’s Tuesday. Again. Yeah, I know…it happens every week.  In last week’s post I only made it halfway through my pile of scribbled sticky notes, so not to worry, I have plenty for you today.

Though Toby the Tattle turtle is helping out with the rampant tattles in our classroom, some still slip through. Like these funny ones.

D- “She licked her tongue out at me and said, “You can’t play wiff me.”

B- “I’m being G’s dad, and I’m an old man and old mans need to sit in rocking chairs and he won’t get out!” (on why they were fighting over the rocking chair)

I was correcting some children who were pushing in line, and said, “Stop being silly and fussing about your place in line. We’re all going to the same place at the same time.” A (also known as Jesse) pipes up and says, “Yeah, just like the Israelites.”

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Show & Tell can also be a great time to hear some funny things.

S- “When you put it upside right it can spin.”

T- (showing her Cinderella doll and carriage) “Cinderella sleeps under her cage.” (under meaning IN, and cage meaning carriage)

B was showing his car, and the kids asked him to show them how fast it could go.  He told them it goes faster at home not on the carpet. Another student asked why and B said, “It’s got fur. It can’t drive on FUR!” (if you could hear B, he answers in a very intense way…with hand gestures and everything 🙂

B also tells us that everything he brings has a remote control (even if it’s a matchbox car.) Once he told us he needed a new “S-O” battery for his remote. I asked him what an “S-O” battery was. He said, “An S-O battery is a big battery in rectangles for my remote control.”

“A” sometimes forgets to bring something to show us, but then has the chance to tell us something.  He was telling us about a trip he had taken with his family.  “A” told us how we went swimming in a “floating suit and wobble gobbles.” I told him I didn’t know what “wobble gobbles” were.  He very frustratedly said, “You know, wobble gobbles!” I still wasn’t getting it and I asked him to describe them.  He held his hands up to his eyes, “You KNOW, Wobble Gobbles!!” (water goggles)

When a student is done telling us about the thing they’ve brought in for show and tell, the other students get to ask one question about the item.  Last year, the question every time was, “Do you love it SO much?” This year it’s, “Where did you get it?” In an effort to get them to think about asking sentences I told them they can no longer ask that particular question.  So, one day D asked A about her toy drum, “Is it a liquid?” Lol…at least he was thinking!

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And some good old random comments:

Overheard in the block center- L- “Are you the first kid in your family?” B- “No,my sister was borned before me.”

B was walking to the puzzle center and tripped over something and fell. (he was ok) T burst out laughing and said, “Falling makes me funny!”

S came in one morning and when I complimented him on smelling so handsome, he said, “I have on perfume. It’s the stinks one.”

D- “Why is you wearing flip-flops, Miss Mongold. It’s fallish outside.”

T told me this on a Monday morning- “We didn’t get to see God yesterday cause we were too late for church.”

“I made a capital ehhhhh.” (the sound of Ee)

“God gave them polka dots.” (discussing the plagues in Egypt)

Talking about what you should do when a bee comes by you, Z said- “I run for my wife!”

T told me- “I’m a princess AND a beauty!” (indeed she is!)

And I’ll leave you with one that I heard just today:

Today our reading book focused on the letter W.  On one page was a picture of a well, and on the other the word “well”.  After I had them all sound out the word for me, I asked what you get from a well.  “Change!” was what one girl shouted out.  Sadly, they all thought you get coins from a well. So, I took a little time to explain what a water well is/was.

Next week will be all about D and A. Trust me, you will laugh!

 

Why I’m A Teacher

The answer to that is as simple and complex as life in general.  I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.  I remember playing school with my dolls and stuffed animals in the front room of my grandparents house (the house I grew up in.)  There was an old desk in there, and I would set up my ‘students’ and teach them.  I remember always asking to borrow a coffee cup (because teachers drink coffee!)  Memories of the coffee cups with the orange and red chickens on them come to mind.  How I actually got to be a teacher is the complicated part.

At the age of 15 I got my first job working at a YMCA daycare in Pennsylvania.  I loved those kids.  I still remember a lot of their names and I think about them from time to time.  I learned a LOT there.  Throughout my high school years, I worked at 3 different day care centers.  Each was VERY differently run, and I got a lot of experience and formed a lot of opinions about how I thought things should be run.  Then again, I was young and idealistic.  Since daycare centers close at 6, that left my evenings open for lots of babysitting opportunities.  Kids were my life. My senior year of high school I had enough credits to go to a vocational school for early childhood.  It was my best year of school!

After graduating high school I moved to Indiana where I worked in another daycare until I got married and started having kids of my own.  When they were young I stayed home with them, and went back to work when our church started a daycare. Alisha was 3 at the time.  Eventually I ended up being part of the school and teaching the Pre-Kindergarten class. I’ve been doing that for 8 years now.  All that to say that I’ve worked with every age group from infant on up to school age, and in many different centers, yet never have I gone to college.

This last Thursday and Friday I attended the Illinois ASCD PreK and K conference.  It was awesome!  The presenters had so many great ideas to share and I learned a lot.  I also had to fight the same demons I face every year when I go to conferences like this.  You see, most of the other people at these conferences (in fact ALL I’ve ever talked to) have an early childhood education degree from a college.  Some of the presenters have doctorates in numerous areas.  In other words, I fight within myself the whole time that I am a poser, and I do NOT belong there.  Even though I enjoy the sessions, take tons of notes, and basically get my engine revved up to finish out the school year strong, my mind is telling me I am not what I could be.  I start to compare myself with others.  That’s pretty foolish. I am me, and they are them.  We’re different, and God is writing different stories for everyone.  Your story will not look like mine, and that’s as it should be.  Unfortunately, it took me until today to really remember that.  To get what I know in my heart to resonate in my head.

I know I’m a good teacher.  Could I be better at what I do? Sure, we all could!  I’m always being asked if I would ever consider going to college to get my degree.  My answer is that it’s not completely out of the question, but with 2 daughters in high school who will be in college themselves in a few years, I’m not sure it’s feasible.  But like I said, God is writing my story, and whatever he has in the next chapter…I’m all for it.

This guy was one of my favorite speakers at the conference. He’s a lot of fun, and I ended up buying 4 of his cds.  He sang this song to us at the end, it was sweet and funny.

I’m curious, why do you do what you do?

Is it Friday yet?

That’s usually my thought by Wednesday, and I’m just praying for the strength to get through the rest of the week. This week’s a little different. Today feels like Friday!  At least the work part of it.  Tomorrow and Friday I get to go to the Illinois ASCD Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Conference. I’m pumped!  It’s a great conference and I always learn a lot and get some really great ideas to use in my classroom.  The best thing about it though, is that the conference is in a hotel across the street from IKEA.  Oh friends, my joy knows no bounds!  The only downside is that it starts at the butt-crack of dawn.  You know, like 7:30am.  Which in reality is not all that early, unless of course you’re an hour away from the conference.  However, my husband loves me so very much he rearranged his work schedule so as to ferry the children about for 2 days while I go to Schaumburg, IL.  He not only got me a hotel for the night so I don’t have to do the crazy driving thing back and forth (have you seen the price of gas?!?), but he knows that the shopping in Schaumburg is amazing. And I love me some shopping!  IKEA and Land’s End…I’m coming! That is if I ever get packed.

In order to get packed one needs clothing, preferably clean clothes.  Clean in not the issue really. More like dry.  Last Friday our dryer gave up the ghost. Or the heat as it were.  Upon coming home from work I realized the dryer was still running.  I’d put a load in before I left for work that morning.  That seemed wrong and when I checked, the clothes were still wet. Nice.  This was the second dryer of our married life.  As a wedding gift, Phil’s sister had given us a washer and dryer.  We will be married for 18 years this May.  Not bad considering the washer still worked fine.  We decided it would probably best just to replace both, and so spent the whole weekend researching and shopping for washers and dryers.  Best Buy really was just that, and they delivered our new Whirlpool Cabrio  set on Tuesday (aren’t they pretty?)  Phil was going to install them himself.  Which he did…after 3 trips to the hardware store!  The first hose he bought was not long enough.  He went back to get the right size, and got home to open it and find out it was obviously repackaged since it was shorter than the first one.  To say he was mad? Well, huge understatement. The washer worked fine after that mess was worked out and when I went to get the load out of the new dryer this afternoon, it was still damp.  Really?!?  I checked the settings and turned it on again.  When I checked on it in 30 min, there was what looked like smoke (not steam…it wasn’t that cold today) coming out of the vent, and the windows were full of condensation.  I quickly shut the dryer off and tried to figure out what was going on. It was a vent thing, not a dryer thing. All is well, and nothing was on fire.

Long story short, 3 Lowe’s employees, $20 at Lowe’s, NO help from anyone at Menard’s, $10 there, two cuts on my fingers, and traipsing through the rainy, foggy, dark yard in Phil’s boots with a flashlight…I fixed it! That’s right, ME!  It’s working beautifully and drying the clothes I need to pack in my suitcase. To be ready to leave at dark-thirty. (You all know I’m a NAMP, right?)

My life…it is constant excitement.

 

 

Tiny Talk Tuesday

It’s been entirely too long since one of these!  Not to worry, I’ve got whole pile of sticky notes, 3×5 cards, and scrap papers with stuff my students have said written down on them.  There may even be too many for just one post. We shall see.

To make things a little more fun for me, I’m going to give these funnies to you by who said them. Of course, I can’t use real names, so I’ll just use some made up ones 😉

“Jesse” (of Toy Story fame)  is hilarious. She has the most beautiful smile and dimples.  Here are some of the things she’s said lately.

For show & tell she brought in her Bible.  The other kids get to ask questions about the item their friend is showing them and talking about.  Another student asked her, “Does it fly?” (he brought a flying super-hero action figure) “Jesse” answered, “It doesn’t fly or anything, it just READS.”

The best was her opening statement at show & tell though, “This is my Bible. It tells me so.”

I asked “Jesse” what were some things her Mom liked (we were talking about her Mom’s birthday), and she said, “Corn of a cob…but only in the summer.”

One morning she came in and told me, “Hey, Mrs. Mongold! Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is like a love-a-bye.”

At Thanksgiving (yes, I’ve been saving these scraps of paper since that long ago) “Jesse” came in the day of our party and yelled out, “It’s our thank-you party today!” (and then said, “You should all say ‘Thank You” cause I brought the cups.”) When asked what she was thankful for, she said, “Chocolate bars!” (amen to that!)

In Bible lesson we were learning Numbers 23:19 (God always keeps His promises,) and discussing keeping our promises.  “Jesse” said, “I never lose my promises. I always keep them myself.”

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Random things heard:

“My pencil sharped out.”

“X-rays can help see under your body.”

“They’re gonna need a bigger mouth.” (when they saw the Bible card with the giant fruit from Canaan that the spies brought to Moses)

“My shirt’s growing outta me.” (she meant she was getting too big to wear that shirt.)

And my favorite from just last week:

Again we were having show & tell, and one boy was showing a “Humpty Dumpty” book and puzzle he had.  He got shy when I asked if he knew the nursery rhyme, so another student called out, “I know it! Hunky Dunky sat on a wall, Hunky Dunky had a great fall.” (Hunky Dunky is Humpty’s handsome brother I’m guessing.)

I hope you enjoyed those as much I did.  I still have plenty to share with you next week 🙂

New Stuff

It’s always fun to get new things.  For a long while now I’ve been looking for a coat on clearance to replace my red, wool, car coat, which I still love, but the lining is ripping and it picks up fuzz like crazy.  After looking in every store I frequent I’d given up and was just going to have it cleaned (again) and carry on.  Well…the other night we went to Bass Pro Shop just for fun, and lo and behold, there it was. THE coat.  It’s all kinds of soft and pretty, and ecru (fancy, eh?)  And from Bass Pro Shop?!?  I didn’t expect that.  So here it is.

What do you think? I love it.  I’m just hoping it stays nice like it is now. I mean it is almost white and all.  I’ve already had horrific thoughts of coffee spills or other very staining substances getting on it.  So far I’ve owned black wool and red wool coats and they are ridiculous to keep fuzz-free. I’m hoping this light color is better.

I also got something new from Marissa.  I love the fact that my 16 year old daughter chose to make something for me in her ceramics class at school.  She made it for my desk at school (since our  theme is owls this year.)  The thing weighs about 20 lbs, but I figure that means it won’t be easily knocked off if my students throw things (not that they ever do…uh hum.)

He’s cute, huh?  She put my name on the spine of the book he’s standing on, and his tassle broke off when he was being fired (a ceramic term I assure you…this owl is still employed) but I still love it.  I think she got a 96% on the project and a high B in the class.  Ceramics has been the most challenging class she’s had in high school. It’s just not her thing.

And lastly in the new items, I got this guy for my classroom.  His name is Toby, and he’s a ‘Tattle Turtle’.  You don’t know what a tattle turtle is?  Well, there are 3 types of tattles.  Emergency tattles require a call to 911: there’s a fire or someone is really, really hurt.  There are good tattles: someone is crying and hurt, someone hurt you bad enough to make you cry, or someone is doing something really wrong. Then there are bad tattles. These are when you come tell the teacher someone blinked wrong or wasn’t sitting right in their chair, or other things that really aren’t your business.  Bad tattling has become rampant in my classroom lately, and despite using many methods to try to curb it, it’s still happening.  Toby is always my last resort.  I’d rather the kids learn to use self-control and good judgment when it comes to tattling, however in cases (like today) where I heard, “Mrs. Mongoooooold!”  about 100 times, I get desperate.  Enter Toby the Tattle Turtle.  He listens to children’s bad tattles.  It’s a win-win. I don’t have to listen to the annoying tattles, and the kids get to “tell” someone whatever it is they feel needs to be said.  I’m sure he’ll be very busy over the next week as the kids get used to having him in our classroom, but I hope my ultimate goal is met, and the kids just stop fussing at one another.

So, what’s new with you?

A Message For Morning People

Dear “Morning Person” (heretofore known as an MP…though not to be confused with the military police),

This informative letter is to help you live in peaceful coexistence with someone who may be “Not A Morning Person” (also known as a NAMP.)  If you follow these simple suggestions, your mornings are bound to be more enjoyable and peace filled. Let’s begin:

  1. Typically NAMPs do not like to be woken up and immediately have  their feet hit the floor. They require a few minutes of getting acclimated to having their eyes open.  Also, they need to stretch a bit and remember where they are, and important things like what day it is, and why they even have to be awake.  Expecting a NAMP to “hop tall” at a moments notice is like waking a hibernating bear in March. Don’t do it. It will not end well.
  2. Talking and or conversing with a NAMP first thing is also a big no-no.  NAMPs should not be held responsible for things said to them or by them up to 30 minutes after waking.  If you tell a NAMP something important in this time period the chances are good that not only will they forget what you’ve told them, but they will have absolutely no recollection the conversation ever took place, and will go so far as to deny vehemently being told this information at all.  Again, you, the MP are in the wrong and should not have spoken until the required time period was up. Your bad.
  3. Trying to rush a NAMP in the the morning is not only a bad idea, it may be hazardous to your health.  It can go one of two ways.  If you try to get a NAMP to pick up the pace within an hour of them waking, they may become angry, or cry.  It depends on the day, whether or not any caffeine has yet entered their system, or if the NAMP is a female, and if so, what time of the month it is.  Be wary.  They have been known to throw items (typically hair brushes) at MPs who are just, in their defense, trying to get everyone out of the house on time.
  4. Don’t take it personally.  NAMPs are not directing their icy glares or dagger eyes at you, it’s the general universe at large.  It takes some time to come to grips with being vertical and awake as opposed to horizontal and slumbering sweetly.  This usually only happens if you get in a NAMPs way, or speak to them.
  5. If after two hours of being awake a NAMP is still claiming their syndrome for their general unpleasantness, they are lying and need to be gently reminded that now they’re just having a “bad day”.  Which is a whole other issue itself.

I hope this helps all of you MPs in dealing with the NAMPs in your lives. We want to live peacefully with you as much as you do with us.

Love,

The Chief of NAMPs