Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes you just need to hear it

I love my job. As much as I can sometimes complain about it, as much as it saps every bit of energy out of me, and as much pain as it puts me in (physical pain from a bad back, but that's another story) I do love it. And I love my kids. I know that I'm doing a good job and making a difference in these kids' lives. But sometimes it is just good to hear that from other people.

This afternoon I was on my way out the building and popped my head in my principal's office, just to tell her a quick thing. That "quick thing" turned into a 25+ minute long conversation. But I didn't mind because part of that conversation centered around her telling me that she has noticed all the hard work (and it's been a lot!) and that she recognizes I am doing a good job. So much so that she wants another teacher to come watch and observe me. As in, learn from me. ME! A 2nd year teacher!

It just felt so good to hear that from my administrator. Teaching can be a very solitary profession, you're stuck in your room almost all day long with no other adults. But to know that she knows I'm doing a good job, it just made me feel good. And it makes all the long hours, hard work and effort much more worth it. Now I'm actually sad that I'm taking tomorrow off because that is a day missed with my kids. But I know that I'll be back on Wednesday...and it'll be great :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Kindergarten is like the ocean..."

Browsing through the tv channels tonight, I stumbled upon "Kindergarten Cop." This 1990 classic stars Arnold Schwartzeneggar as an undercover cop posing as a Kindergarten teacher.

I had forgotten how much I love this movie (for the ridiculous-ness of it, of course!). And now that I actually teach Kindergarten, I appreciate it on a whole new level.

Two minutes into watching, I hear this: "Kindergarten is like the ocean, you never want to turn your back on it." My fellow teacher friends, you can appreciate the accurateness of this quote :)

My new favorite place

Is this:
Can you say amazing?? Radnor Lake is only about 5-10 minutes from my house, but a world away. It has a nice easy walking trail that goes around the lake, and some more strenuous trails that go up in the hills. I have become obsessed and usually go twice a week (weekends) for a good workout. Since I had to stop running because of my back issues, this has become my new cardio routine. It is SO much better than walking on a treadmill or even around my neighborhood.

When I did Team in Training (for the half marathon), they told me that iPods were not allowed during training. WHAT?!?! I thought. No iPod? How do I distract myself from the boredom and pain of running 7+ miles? The reason they give is that running without music gives you time to think in your head, work through thoughts, etc. and you become stronger mentally.

Now I get it. Two weeks ago I went to Radnor and ended up walking/hiking for an hour and a half. By myself. With no music. And it was great! So much time to think through all the things going on in my life, time to enjoy the nature and the beautiful weather. My work week is so busy and chaotic dealing with my students, it was so nice to be alone and just think.

Oh, and I saw this:
It's hard to tell because I didn't want to get too close at the risk of being creepy, but it's the cutest old couple EVER!! They were so sweet going on their Sunday walk together and holding hands.

Are there any nature areas/hiking places where you are? Check them out, they are great!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Your Usual Gas Station

Across the street from my church is this gas station. Back when gas cost $3.50+/gallon, they had a funny sign that read: "regular- arm, plus- leg, ultra- first born". Walking back to my car from getting frozen yogurt, I saw this sign. So simple, yet sometimes so hard.

My first thought was to apply this to my every day life. Everyone can stand to be a little bit kinder to everyone they meet. You never know when it is going to make someone's day.

My second thought was to apply this to my school life. Somedays it is VERY hard to be kind to my students. Not usually just one kid, but as a collective whole it is hard. Sometimes it is because I am in a bad mood (for whatever reason), often it is because they not doing what I want them to do. But seeing this sign made me think, what if I'm just a little bit kinder to them?

My kids come from a rough area. They don't have a lot of kindness in their life. I can change that. I can be a little bit kinder to them.

Think about the people in your life. Is there someone you can be a little bit kinder to? (and yes, I realize I ended the last sentence with a preposition. If my father the English major reads this, sorry Dad)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Donors Choose

When I first got a job as a public school teacher, my friend Hillary told me about It is an organization where teachers can create a "project" (sort of like writing a grant) and people can go online and donate money to help their classrooms.

Check out my donor's choose website! I have had several people donate to fund my project, but am still $164 away from my goal. The cool thing about Donors Choose is that people can search for projects by region. I have had several anonymous people donate simply because they wanted to help a school in Middle TN. It's an awesome organization and I have several friends that have benefitted from it.

So spread the word! Help my project get funded and help some super cute kids in the process!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Funny things kids say

People ask me all the time if my kids say funny things. Hello! Of course they do, they are 5 years old. They are hilarious! I can be so mad at something that has happened, and it only takes one little comment to turn everything around. There is no way I can remember all the funny comments, but here are some of my favorites:

"criss cross applesauce, spoons in your bowl" (meaning sit on the floor, hands in your lap)

"these are my white buttons, these are my green buttons, these are my funny white buttons" (during a sorting by color activity)

"it smells like hand sanitizer!" (upon receiving a good behavior certificate)

"Ms. Harbison, you ok?" (during rest time, totally out of the blue)

"that yo' mama?!?!?" (when my mom came and brought cupcakes for the first time)

"Ms. Harbison you look like a vampire" (this one may be the most random)

"Ms. Harbison, you sound like a real teacher." (Did I sound pretend before??)

I'm sure there will be more and I will add to the list as the year goes on. One of the reasons I'm blogging is so I can look back and remember this school year. So stay tuned for more hilarious kindergarten comments!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Teacher "perks"

We all know teachers are not in it for the money. If you want to be rich and never worry about finances, do not be a teacher. I (and all my colleagues) do not do it for the money, we do it because we love what we do. You have to love it to be surrounded by 15 whiny 5 year olds all day long and willingly go back for more. And I do seriously love it (sometimes I have to remind myself of it though!).

But there are some "perks" that come along with being a teacher. I've discovered there are many places that offer teacher discounts/benefits. Here's what I've found so far:

1. IRS- you can get a tax refund on school supplies that you buy. Last year I got $250 back!!
2. JCrew- 10% off, makes a bigger difference than you would think
3. Ann Taylor LOFT- 15% off if you join the "Loft Loves Teachers" club, and you get extra coupons throughout the year
4. various bookstores- range from 10-20% off, depending on the store. Most only off the discount on books for your class, but hey, a discount is a discount!
5. Sprint- not sure about other cell phone carriers, but Sprint gives you 15% off
6. YMCA- 20% off. It's actually cheaper for me to belong to all the Y's in my area now rather than just my center :)

Any other great discounts that you know about?? We teachers can use every extra penny!!