Oh, my students are charming me to death this year. Maybe the novelty will wear off as they hit puberty, but seventh graders...wow, I just love them. I LOVED my kids last year, but it really seemed like something was missing. I am feeling more and more like this involuntary switch happened for a reason.
My friends and I have this birthday sash that one of my friends made that we have been passing around. It's super cute, and it makes you feel special to wear on your birthday. Well, this year, my friend made me wear it at school on my birthday, along with a tiara. I felt super embarrassed, but it was totally worth it when my students arrived. I have never seen kids so excited and happy over a birthday. It was like it was THEIR birthday! I had at least twenty kids giving me birthday hugs, constant happy birthdays throughout the day, singing of the birthday song, and a sweet homemade birthday card (from a boy, even!). I am so overwhelmingly charmed by them that it is almost embarrassing. The next day one of my girls wrote me a sweet note about how I am such a great teacher, I explain things so well, I have beautiful eyes and cool clothes (I admit it, this was what really got me--me having cool clothes? Really? I'll take it!)
They can be a pain in the ass, of course, especially with my two largest classes being 34 and 35. There's just so many of them and there is a lot less quiet time in this subject. In reading there is time when they are reading their own books or time when it is very teacher centered because I am reading to them. In writing, so far, the only real quiet time is 5 or 6 minutes in the beginning when we do a journal. No, that's not true, I made them be quiet when we were working on rough drafts of the first official paper...but so much has been active--gallery walks, mini white board practice, pairs work, etc. I am so grateful because I have a PLC (professional learning community) that is actually a PLC now. My old PLC was just starting to get there, but usually it was me sharing with them and not getting much usable stuff in return. My new PLC is awesome because they think in a similar way to me, but they have slightly different ways of planning and strengths. What is awesome is that this has given me lessons that I wouldn't be able to come up with myself but that are usable for me without much tweaking (a lot visuals--which is so important for ELL kids). I feel so lucky to have so much help from my two colleagues when I am planning everything from scratch again.
It also sounds like the kids this year on my old team are awful, so I am lucky in that sense too. I was so worried because last year the kids hated writing so much, but my kids really seem to enjoy it so far. Maybe I am pulling this off...
I do miss my old team, and I miss sharing books with the kids (they still borrow them from me, but I miss read alouds). I am grateful to be on a team with my BFF though.
My birthday this year was great! I felt so spoiled by my friends especially. I got a kindle from British Boyfriend, and I am really loving it! I went out with a big group (14 people) for my b-day and just felt so loved. We even went dancing and I had a great time!
One thing that is really making me sad is that one of our students left today. She is a foster kid who came to our school at the beginning of the year and has some extreme issues. The biggest one is just that she needs love. We actually had an incident during the first week where she was very rude to another student. I asked her nicely if we could step outside to talk, and she refused. I then TOLD her to step outside. Refused. Tried to send her to time-out...refused. Finally called the resource officer to come get her. She tried to refuse but somehow he convinced her to leave. I thought this girl was going to be TROUBLE. After a talk in the hallway about the meaning of defiance of authority etc., we were fine. That day she wrote on her journal exit ticket that "Ms. Boombastic is cool, fun and strict." Interesting. Since then, we have been great. Although she thinks she is married to a certain famous actor that I was also in love with when I was young, although she tells outlandish lies and announces in class that she has decided to stop cutting (cutting as in cutting her body, not cutting class), all of the teachers were really getting somewhere with this girl. She constantly sought out our approval and was trying hard on her work after realizing that it is a little boring to refuse to do anything. So there was a meeting to figure out if our school was the best place for her (because she does have some serious mental health issues going on), and we thought it would be a good idea to keep her. About a week later, she is moving from her current foster home (which was a fairly new placement) to another group home. And although everyone knows it would be best for her to have stability and stay at our school, it is in another district, and whoever is in charge wherever is not paying for transportation so she can stay at our school. Poor kid...she was really sad today. I wrote her a goodbye note about how much we will miss her and how she will have teachers at her new school who care about her and like her, too, so please give them a chance. She wrote all of us notes, too. She also told the class she was moving to London. And when I asked if her new school was 7-8 like ours, she looked me straight in the eye and told me that it was a high school, or maybe even a college...so there's that. I will miss that girl, and we've only have her for five weeks. How many times has she had to say goodbye to people? :(
I also recently saw Tokyo Police Club, Arcade Fire live (love love love love love--amazing), and Liz Phair for the fourth time last night. Go download Arcade Fire's three albums right now if you do not have them. Do it.