Monday, October 17, 2011

Just Thinking...

Warning! This is a LONG post because I have a lot on my mind that's been building up since my last post. :)

I recently finished two time consuming, rounds of evaluations. Whew! I finally feel like I'm coming up for air. This school year our state has started a new, rigorous evaluation process and it's literally "kicking our butts"! (Pardon the language, blog friends!!! :) There were some times over the past month when I was in tears over the lengthiness, time, and considerable effort it took to complete the planning and paperwork in order to meet the criteria of the scoring rubrics. Not to boast, but I've always worked VERY hard as an educator and have always gone above and beyond a typical 40 hour work week. With this last evaluation lesson, I would say I probably put in an additional 25-30 hours of work time for planning, creating, and filling out paperwork. That's just for ONE lesson!!! Both evaluations went very well but I can not stop thinking about how the expectations for educators continues to grow to a point of just plain impractical and unreasonable. I love teaching but this year I'm really trying to create more of a balance in my life. I've had a strong and serious commitment to my calling as an educator for the past 14 years but I feel God is leading me to do more outside of teaching. I've been thoughtfully reflecting on the gifts I feel God has bestowed upon me and how I can use these gifts to serve Him and others. My family, friends, and colleagues all know I love to teach, I love to organize, I love to create, I love to decorate, and I love to entertain. How does all of this translate into opportunities of service in my church, community, and school???? Well, that's what I'm trying to figure out but here's some things I've been doing...

Mission Work 
The Lord blessed my husband and I with the opportunity this summer to go on a mission trip to Anchorage, Alaska. What a beautiful place! While there we participated in service projects on a military base, retirement home, community parks, VBS, etc. The fun teacher came out in me and I convinced my husband to dress up like a clown with me to help entertain the kids at one of our VBS block parties.  He was such a good sport! One of our little buddies who liked "clowning around" with us sported his own clown look. LOL!!! What a character! I love that kid!

I posted earlier how my husband and I made goodies for the local firefighters and police officers. We've also both become more involved in our neighborhood. My husband is serving on our Home Owner's Association and they have been working on creating a more family friendly community. We'll be working at a Neighborhood Fall Festival soon and I've been creating welcome baskets for new families moving into our neighborhood. 

Student Teacher
I was blessed with a student teacher for the first 8 weeks of school. Wow! I've never had one at the beginning of the year before. She was such a BIG help!!! I wanted to help her out as much as I could and ensure she had a good experience in our classroom. Just a few details to help welcome her to our class...

Supporting/Serving My Colleagues
I don't know about you, blog friends, but the teachers I work with are like a second family to me. I feel so blessed to have worked with so many great people over the years and have formed some terrific friendships. We learn together, listen to each other, and most importantly laugh (a lot) together. I love to find ways to show my appreciation and love for these wonderful people. Here's a few of my ideas (some a bit crazy...but fun. :)

Baby shower for one of my former colleagues...

Teacher Retirement Party...Western Style

(even our administration joined in with the theme...surprised all of us :)

First Grade Teacher Get-Together for Team Building 
(We added 3 new teachers to our team this year.)

Sweet Treat for my Sweet Colleagues ( I got the idea from Pinterest...which I LOVE!!!)

Our Very Own "Olympic" Award Ceremony
 (for our school 5K we had done the weekend before)

Coming soon...ideas for turning a boring teacher lounge into something warm and cozy (with help from your principal and colleagues, of course) and what we've been up to in the classroom (besides evaluations :).  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and share in all my thoughts and ideas! 

Oh, and by the I typed this post, I'm listening the beautiful sound of the ocean waves and I'm about to head out to the beach to enjoy another beautiful, relaxing day of vacation at the beach. :)


  1. Boy, do I feel your pain! I'm a Tennessee teacher too, and this is craziness! Hang in there! Have a great rest of the week!


  2. what font/borders program do you use for your posters and worksheets (besides the vistaprint ones)? i absolutely love them!

  3. I use a lot of fonts, borders, and clip art from DJ Inkers, Lettering Delights, PC Crafter, and Scrappin Doodles.

  4. As I read your post I said to myself...she must live in Tennessee! I have never felt more disrespected as an educator as I do this year. But it is what it is (our unofficial motto this year). I'm about 4 hours into my prep for my 2nd evaluation--such fun! Hang in there!

  5. Hi Andrea- love your blog!! I'm now following. Since you love polka dots, I thought I would let you know about You and the kids will love it!! It has been recommended by TEACHERS FIRST a a valuable resource for K and 1st grade!!

    I hope you keep up the good work- at school and for the Lord!!


  6. Just from your pictures, it seems like you're a wonderful teacher friend! Keep your head up! I too feel the weight of the added pressure. I wish I had a secretary and an assistant, just to deal with the paperwork and assessments! More money would be helpful, but most days I'd just settle for some help!

  7. Hey! I changed the name of my blog piece-of-cupcake-life! Here's my brand spankin new URL!

    Check it out!

    -Melissa :)

  8. If you don't mind sharing what kind of stuff do you put into the binder for your student teacher?

  9. Glad you got to visit my state and do some work there! I love AK!

  10. (Not sure if my comment posted, so I'll do it again!) I am about to begin my demonstration teaching and am very interested in what you included in your substitute teacher's binder.