Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reindeer Games

Because this is the dormant season in my garden (and the busy season in my work life), I haven't posted much lately in the garden blog. But now that school is officially out for winter break until January, I have time to share a couple of things with you. First, the photo above is of my new indoor plants. My principal bought every teacher a poinsettia (left) for Christmas. Also, one of my students gave me the beautiful holiday cactus (right) for Christmas. You can't see it well in the photo, but it is full of tiny pink buds just getting ready to open. Both plants are now adorning my dining table.

It has been a busy fall. I'm in my first year teaching third grade and it is the hardest job I'll ever love. Unlike jobs I've had in the past, you never really feel like "you've got it" or "you're in a routine". Or maybe you do and I just haven't gotten there yet. My experience is that there is constantly something new just around the bend and I have to learn about it, think a lot about the best way I can meet the expectations set for me, and what I need to do to accomplish it. Just when I think I'm done, a new thing comes along.

I am starting to feel more comfortable with what my students are capable of and what I need to do for them as far as pacing. Pacing is the hardest thing about teaching. You have so much that you need to teach them and that has to be balanced with their prior knowledge and how fast/slow they need to go to learn new material.

I'm happy that I have a two-week vacation to relax with my family. But I'm also excited about starting a new semester in January. We will be starting some new subjects (history and health) and I feel more comfortable with the subjects I'll be continuing.

This past week was trying. The week before the holidays is probably the wildest week in any elementary school. The students were almost literally bouncing off the walls. Yesterday we had our class Christmas party. We played some games (including a relay race where each student eventually sported a red Rudolph nose - picture below). I gave them a snack (Little Debbie Christmas Tree cake and Sprite). We finished off the party by exchanging gifts (books) and I gave them each a personalized stocking filled with goodies from me. It was a fun and exhausting week.