Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Best Dog Ever

Meghan was the best dog anyone could ever hope for. I mean she was seriously perfect. I was there the day she was born on January 3, 1997. She became a permanent part of the family at 8 weeks old, on March 3, 2007. All of my parents’ memories of Meghan are simply that she has always been “perfect.” Well I do think Megan was the greatest dog of all time and was eventually the perfect dog, however, I remember some moments when maybe I didn’t feel she was quite so perfect :)

The first incident I recall was the summer we moved across the country. Meghan was 6 months old for the 3,000 mile road trip. On one of our stops I was taking Meghan for a bathroom break. Well at the time, I was 11, and Meghan probably weighed almost as much as me. When she spotted the rabbit there was no time for me to let go of the leash before I was pulled flat onto my face, dragged across the field, and my glasses were smashed to smithereens.

Then there was the first time Meghan experienced fireworks. She hated fireworks her whole life. They made her jumpy and nervous. Well her first 4th of July back in ’97 we had yet to realize this, so we took her to the fireworks show. She started freaking out and struggling and ended up bashing me in the face and smashing another pair of my glasses to smithereens (I believe it was a couple of months later when I began wearing contacts :))

The time I was the angriest at Meghan was when we first moved to Virginia and I was home alone. Somehow she got out of the yard (hopped the fence or dug out from underneath, can’t remember which now as both events happened frequently when she was a puppy :)). Well I just grabbed a box of chocolate bars (great treats for a dog, I know) and I chased her all over the neighborhood trying to entice her home with those chocolate bars. She would get real close to me and I would hold out the chocolate, but just as I would lunge for her collar she would lunge for the chocolate bar, and because she was as fast as lightening, I fed her an entire box of chocolate bars before I caught her. I’m surprised she lived through that incident:)

Well over time Meghan became the greatest dog of all time. A little over a year ago when I got Addie, Meghan played a huge role in “training” Addie. Addie is sure an amazing dog, and although she’s a puppy, and has gotten into her fair share of mischief (jumping out the car window while I was driving, destroying about 20 pillows, 2 chair cushions, and countless socks) she has learned to come when called, because Meghan always came when called, she has learned to play fetch, because Meghan was the champion of fetch, and there are countless other things Addie learned from Meghan.

Meghan really was the best. Coming home tonight and not having Meghan come out to greet me was heartbreaking. I will surely miss that fluff muffin. I’m so thankful her sidekick, Addie, is here to keep me company. But certainly there will always be a void that no other dog will be able to fill completely.

I'll love you and miss you forever Meghan!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I am not a Wal-Mart

Well I keep meaning to take pictures of my class, but just like dozens of other things I keep meaning to do, it just keeps getting pushed further down on the list. My classroom certainly has a quite lived-in look and I have decided I rather like that :) I adore each and every one of my students (and tomorrow I am getting a new one). There are many different types of personalities, and some present more of a challenge than others, or I could say will probably be the cause of a couple of premature gray hairs :) But still, I am enjoying my kids.

I feel extremely overwhelmed and never understood how much work a teacher actually does…until now. Trying to teach math, science, social studies, health, writing, reading, grammar, and listening, as well as other things here and there is a lot to juggle. I suppose every teacher feels the exact same way. It is amazing the expectations and pressures that are placed on teachers. I guess that is just the nature of the job. I am still struggling to keep my head above water in this third week. Spending all of my weekend planning from sunup to sundown almost put me over the edge this past weekend. I haven’t had any real meltdowns yet, but I have had some close calls.

My biggest challenge has been parents. Apparently along with the gifted cluster class comes concerned, overbearing, overcommunicative parents. What I really want to say to them is, “It’s been 2 weeks! Relax! Everything will be fine!” And to some I want to say, “Do you think I am a Wal-Mart? I am not open 24/7.” Although they believe that is how often I should be at their beck and call.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have some funny stories to share soon. Nothing comes to mind right now, but my mind is so jam packed that the more I try to remember, the more I forget! Throughout the day, as I think of things I need to do, I ask my responsible students to remind me at certain times during the day. They are very diligent about doing so, and that is one great advantage of teaching 4th grade :)

I’m planning to go to DC on Saturday to spend the day with a friend. It will definitely be a very welcome distraction from real life :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Full Plate

I realize that I haven’t posted on here in a few weeks and that is because my days have been jam packed FULL! And that is because...I HAVE A JOB :) I couldn’t be happier or more excited about this school year, but I also realize I have a lot on my plate and I might be living in “Miss Stephens’ Dream World” which could come crashing down on Tuesday (the first day of school) but hopefully not!

It was about 4 weeks ago that I was hired and I have spent every weekday, minus maybe 2 or 3 days, in my classroom. My room has come together nicely. But have I done much planning? Mmmmm...maybe not. Oops. Well, I’ll get it finished this weekend! I spent two weeks cleaning, organizing, throwing things away, moving furniture, and did I mention organizing!? My room was a disaster, but it has all come together and I will post pictures next week once the kids have taken over :) This past week was teacher work week and the week before that was training for new teachers. I have had more training the past two weeks than I think I received in 18 years of my previous education. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it sure felt that way. In the midst of all of the curriculum training I also had some other responsibilities put on my plate. My principal called me about a week ago and asked me if I would be the media liaison for my school (twice a month I have to send pictures and information to the newspaper, local TV stations, etc.). So of course I said “sure!!!” Then I went to more training :) Then at the beginning of this week my assistant principal says, “Miss Stephens, You are going to have the gifted cluster class.” And I said “ok!!!” And off to more training I went :) Then today my principal AND assistant principal come to me and say, “Miss Stephens, Will you take the BRIDGES kids in your class?” And I say, “oh, why not!!!” (BRIDGES is a special program for autistic kids, and 6 of their students will come into my room for portions of the day). Anyway, things keep piling up and I know this is going to be a crazy year, but I’m honestly thrilled.

Oh, and there was a bonus to taking all of this on. There is a new writing curriculum that I think is AMAZING and have been dying to teach called Being a Writer. Well each grade level is allowing one teacher to teach the curriculum this year, and I was not assigned as that teacher :( I asked my principal if we could share the curriculum, and she gave me a no. And since it is about $400 a kit, I knew I wasn’t going to be getting one. Well today when I had BRIDGES added to my plate, and I took it so willingly, my principal said she would get me my very own Being a Writer kit! YAYYYYYY!!!!!!! This must only be exciting to a teacher :)

I would definitely appreciate prayers that I will be able to juggle all of my new responsibilities as well as raise support. Please pray that my students will respect me as a teacher, and that we will all work well together, and learn from one another. And please pray that I would get enough sleep and stay healthy this year :)

Oh and I already have a funny kiddo quote! I had the kids do a Getting to Know You activity at Open House last night. One of the questions was, Who is someone that you admire and why? Well one of my students wrote...

I admire the girls at McDonalds and I don’t know why.

I’m thinking this one is going to be quite a character :)