XXXI: Bell Ringing & Tardies


I am blessed.

I’m just over a week into being an official teacher inside the school I’m currently with. It’s been a whirlwind of a month; from teacher orientation, room design and construction (literally), to the very first day of school. It’s easily a thought that I’ve processed on multiple days, but have concluded that the battery life in my keyboard wouldn’t last long enough for me to type out all of my thoughts in relation to this amazing experience.

Truly, the best way to sum it up is to say that I’m blessed. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Final Days Alone


I’ve spent more time laying across a couch today then most of the summer. It’s my acknowledgement that indeed my vacation is over.

Tomorrow is filled with laundry, cleaning, and finally midweek prep work. Friday, by contrast, I officially report back to school. Being a new teacher I’m required to go through a week of orientation, tech sessions, etc…Afterwards I’ll have a few days in the building with my colleagues, and then before you know it.

Class will be in session for real.

Yikes.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Furniture Airports


So, it turns out there’s this store in the world named IKEA. It’s giant, blue, yellow, and full of…stuff. You can build a home, buy supplies for the home, or just chill on the furniture for your home, while eating a plate of Swedish meatballs or a cinnamon roll.

These are all true stories, and some of the things I have experienced in the past two days. A few months ago the city south of where we live opened up an IKEA. To give you an idea of this significance, the closest one past that is in Chicago. Needless to say I waited my due time to visit, and actually heading home yesterday Darco conned me into stopping by. Continue reading

XXXI: Butterflies


It is a two prong thought, both stemming from the realities of the day.

For the past two days, while Darco has been out of the country, I’ve been attending a series of classes for educators within our district. Some of the classes have been great, some of them…not so much. It was during my first class this morning, I was sitting across from my mentor teacher assigned to me from our school, and I confessed that I was nervous about the beginning of the school year. I felt that I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and it was kind of settling into a panicked state within my heart and soul. I’m still embarrassed tonight typing out that thought. Continue reading

#getyourpraiseon


After a board meeting, some news releases, and a few emails I found a document in school account.

My official contract.
The. Real. Deal.

Even with class preparations going strong it still doesn’t feel real. It’s definitely something that’s hard to convey, but I love this sensation of joy.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Success Around the Corner


A little bit about my classroom setup next year…

Seventh grade is divided into three “teams”: 7A, 7B, and 7C. Within each team you’ll find your core classes (science, ELA, math, and social studies). I’m on team 7A, and I guess over the years teachers constructed t-shirts for each team. The students purchased them, took pride in their team, etc…

So, last night while allowing myself to get tired I messed around with a t-shirt design that had been stuck in my head:

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Here’s the fun part I didn’t realize until today. 7A is on the corner of the seventh grade hallway. Look where the type is aligned with the lines. So…that got me thinking of a team motto:

Success lies just around the corner.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Showtime


I went to school today, but really I didn’t…

I was blessed with my first opportunity as a social studies teacher by attending a meeting about our district’s seventh grade social studies curriculum.

Here’s the deal: we don’t have one.

The district has been at odds with the proper content for seventh grade instruction (teaching geography by region vs by theme). Today all the district seventh grade social studies teachers gathered to resolve the issue heading into the 2015-2016 school year.

The resolution went something like this:

Teacher A: I like teaching by region.
Teacher B: I like teaching by theme.
Teacher C: Do we have to do either?

By lunchtime the group had destroyed the curriculum for seventh grade. Instead, out of its ashes, arose a new concept. Teaching content based on the topic of humanities. Teaching units would be based on culture, conflict & resolution, human rights, and resource distribution. Within each unit we’d explore timely topics, global locations, and how we (students) are affected by the global society. Needless to say my mind was on fire! It’s fun being in your element, and not forcing yourself to be excited about a topic.

How cool is that? 7th grade students getting tastes of humanities, sociology, and a unique blend of geography?

It was my first experience as a teacher. I watched a district curriculum be destroyed and resurrected. I’m already pumped.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: On Its Way


I still remember the time like it was a ‘flashbulb memory’…

Alone, around 3:30 AM, I sat in the office inside the underground apartment that I had called home for nearly six months. I didn’t have a job, and throughout the night to combat the lacking of sleepiness (because I was doing nothing with my life), I would fill out teaching applications.

  1. Log on to the site that had all school teaching positions open
  2. Locate schools that were looking for social studies teachers
  3. Access their website
  4. Print off their application
  5. Start typing

I lost count at 92 applications. My wife had already given up on me teaching, I had started to work at Subway, and every-so-often I would go and substitute teach at a local school. I’d hear teachers comment on openings, wondering if I was applying, and it was the same dog-and-pony trick every week.

It wears on an individual to want to teach, but to never be qualified for a school. By qualified I mean that I didn’t know the right people. I’d given up on coaching, my own room, stability, all of it…and that was before the divorce.

I only paint this rather strange picture, because five years later in my living room I clicked “submit” all over again. Now, Facebook is an IPO, Twitter exists, and my phone can easily replace a desktop computer. Even stranger, I didn’t just send in an application off a whim, I was ‘encouraged’ by individuals at school today to follow the protocol and submit an application.

Yes, you read that correctly, after two and a half years I just submitted an official application to teach in the school I’ve been in and out of for the past several semesters.

I’m nervous. I’m anxious. I’m so excited.

Praying that this one will be right…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: There Will Be Anime


This is enough to make an ELA teacher cringe…

Here’s the problem about taking a course on classroom management and curriculum without having a classroom…you get a ton of ideas of what you want to do in your own classroom (that you don’t have).

Today’s example: I was thinking about the walls within a classroom. As a student (and a sub) I hated all the cheesy, poorly laminated posters that showed Garfield, or some other random animation that students didn’t understand, talking about using your brain, listening, etc…As I said…boring.

What I hope I can do is something that’ll be a bit more entertaining inside the classroom. After watching, talking, and hanging with students I’ve come to realize that similar to myself, Japan’s anime and manga is a current trending theme of enjoyment for people. Not only in the realm of watching and/or reading, but also in the form of drawing. Noting that, that’s the case I think it would be pretty cool if the classroom rules, motivational posters, etc..were constructed for the classroom in the form of anime illustrations. Additionally, thanks to specific group-share sites out in the internet, I can quickly find an artist who enjoys this field and with the appropriate guidance can create the images for me.

This would be so cool…

-D-

XXXI: In-Service


Am I supposed to enjoy “professional development days” at school?
I’m not really sure, but today I definitely did.

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Yes...SpED department selfie!

This morning, similar to our last in-service day, the instructors were able to take some time and award “GATOR’ade” to people in the building for going above and beyond.
Towards the end of this lengthy process I wound up with a bottle from an unlikely source (in my opinion).
When I took the position I currently have at school I was located in a case manager’s classroom. This case manager, very pregnant at the time, sits around my age. However, their level of professionalism and maturity is so high that quite frequently I accept the role of the annoying, hyper younger brother when I’m in her room.

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You could imagine my shock when she nominated me for one of these awards this morning. Whole-heartedly I was genuinely surprised (and really humbled). Coming from someone who’s so mature and level minded, it just spoke volumes to me. Additionally, another teacher nominated me at the same time for my speeches that were given over last Tuesday, which brought upon a shade of red to my face.

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Snapped by an administrator...I think (that's me standing up).

Please understand I don’t type this out of pride. School is the one place where I continued to be surprised. I’m having so much fun, and it’s considered a job. I’m in love with this specific school, I can’t get enough of the kiddos, and the staff just blows my mind every day. Sure, it has its quirks, but the relationships built here are just unfathomable to understand…and it’s a middle school.
IA, teacher, instructor, etc…whatever my position is, I’m so, so blessed to continue to be in such a warm, caring atmosphere.

-D-