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I hope I get a job at a school that has lots of money for the teachers to buy materials for their classroom.  I watched my mom spend her own money on supplies to perform science experiments with.  She has eight kids and needed that money for her own kids but there she was in the store making purchases for her classroom.  She said the school would reimburse her for the purchases, all she had to do was turn in her receipt.  I later found out she was only reimbursed up to $50!  I know she spent way more than that!  How are teachers supposed to make sure they have activities to interest all of the kids in the class when all of the kids are different and like different things?  I like the different centers in the pre-K and Kinder classrooms that allow imaginative play with a variety of different activities.  I also like that tablets and computers are “center” options.  Everything a child could need to learn in the way they need to is available.  The only thing that seems to be a problem right now is how to provide consumables for my classroom. 

“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.” ~Vince Lombardi

4 the Love of Teaching!

What should I do with a kid who is just not interested in learning?  I know he’s smart and can pick up on concepts quickly but he has absolutely no desire to sit in a chair and learn his ABC’s.  He is a clear case of having to find hands on activities to get him to learn.  He’ll sit and put puzzles together, build blocks, and play with play dough but as soon as the flashcards come out, he’s antsy and wants to leave the room.  I spend a lot of time looking for things he can manipulate with his hands but I’m struggling to find activities that teach the basic concepts.  “Somethings just need to be taught the old fashioned way”, my grandmother would tell me.  I hope all of my endeavors are not in vain.  I know there’s a way to reach this child, I just have to find it.  I’m getting a chance to see first-hand just how difficult teaching can be in certain cases.  I suppose once I’m a seasoned teacher I’ll have lots of tricks up my sleeve and won’t have to do so much research.  I’ll be able to pick from a plethora of teaching “tricks” instead of having to do research online every night.  I’m spending so much of my personal time looking for different activities for my classroom that I don’t even have a personal social life.  I can understand how the teacher in the movie “Freedom Writers” lost herself in her work.  Teachers need to find a balance between work and play to prevent burnout.

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” ~Thomas Jefferson

It’s All About Timing!

Technology is an important part of learning for the kids of today but it may also be a hindrance.  Back when my mom was having her kids, the doctors recommended no more than 2 hours of TV a day.  Well, I feel the same recommendation should be made for electronics too.  I know some of the computer programs read books to the kids but that is no substitute for a person reading to that child.  I feel watching a phone or a tablet is as bad as watching TV.  Kids should be outside exploring their world or engaged in imaginative play.  Developing kids’ imagination is as important as their growing bodies.  Parents should increase imaginative play time and one on one time with their kids to help them grow and develop into well-adjusted students.    I’m well aware of the fact that no matter what you do for some kids, they are who they are.  There have been cases where parents have shown their kids love and attention but the kids still grew up to be mass murderers.  The parents of the murderers were interviewed and they said, “Looking back, the red flags were there.  We just missed the signs at the time”.  In addition to providing all of the necessary things for our kids we also need to pay attention and listen to them.

“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~Lolly Daskal


Once Upon a Teaching Blog!

Today’s kids are so into technology.  I have a two-year-old brother that knows how to use my mom’s smartphone to watch what he wants to watch or play the games he wants to play.  Smartphones, kindles, tablets and iPads are readily available to the kids of today.  If there is no technology of some sort in today’s classroom, it may be hard to engage the students and keep their attention.  The Smartboard is a great way to attract and hold kids’ attention.  I will never forget a video I saw of an eighteen month old baby looking at a magazine.  Instead of him turning the page he tried to “swipe” the picture on the page, as you would on a phone, to get to the next one.  He eventually started to cry because his magazine was “broken”.  Teachers need to keep up with technology so they can be aware of all that is going on.  Technology in the classroom is a great tool but if the teacher isn’t aware of what the students are doing or what site they are on, then that same technology that was supposed to be good is now a detriment.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” ~John D. Rockefeller

Today’s Leaders, Tomorrow’s Educators!

Getting kids involved in their own learning is important.  I would be more engaged with hands on activities more so than with paper and pencil.  My mom is a science teacher and would make us do science experiments at home.  I can remember sitting around the kitchen table with her making me, my sisters and my brothers perform some kind of experiment or another.  I enjoyed doing those experiments because she allowed us to perform the entire experiment ourselves.  I wasn’t always afforded that opportunity in my classes at the public schools.  When I get older and have kids of my own I will definitely do some of those experiments my mom did with us as well as new ones I see on Pinterest, (actually I’ll probably call my mom over to do experiments with her grandkids).   I think this is the best time to be a teacher today because of all of the technology available.  My great grandmother was a teacher but she didn’t have the advantage of having the internet, Pinterest, YouTube, smartboards, and blogs at her disposal to help her find ideas and materials for her classroom.  There’s no reason not to be creative in today’s classrooms.

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”~ Oscar Wilde

Teachers care to the core!

I really enjoy learning.  I learn something new every day, even if it’s just a word from the dictionary.  It would be awesome if my students felt the same way but from what I’ve seen this summer, I don’t think they do.  I hope I can encourage them to look for opportunities to learn something new every day.  The best way to learn is not in a classroom, but through experience.  My mom likes to tell me, “Words don’t teach, experience does”, and I’m finding that to be true.  Some kids will take heed to the words I speak yet others will have to learn the hard way, (or from the school of hard knocks), as my mom would say.  In fact, the majority of my students have to learn things the hard way and that’s okay with me.  Just so long as they have an opportunity to learn sooner rather than later.  The earlier you learn your life lessons, the better off you’ll be.  When I was growing up I would listen to music with my mom.  She used to listen to this song named “Is This the End?” by a group called “New Edition”.  There’s a line that says, “Momma told me one day it was gonna happen but she never told me when, she told me it would happen when I was much older wish it woulda happened then”.  That part of the song always seems to fit when I’m thinking about learning life lessons earlier in life rather than later.

“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” ~Chris Grosser

“My Teacher Has Class!”

It’s quite disconcerting how many kids from the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder are behind their middle and higher rung peers academically.  I’ve seen that statement for years but getting to see it first hand is disturbing and has made a huge impact on me.  I’m here every day, after my own classes are over, trying to help them and some of them don’t even realize it.  They don’t care that I’m trying to be sure they are on grade level by the time they either start school or return to school in the fall.  Perhaps they aren’t aware of the fact that they are already behind academically.  I know exposure to various experiences in life is one way kids can learn.  If some kids don’t have the opportunity to see, hear, smell, taste and feel some things that other kids get to experience then they won’t be as knowledgeable as those that did.  It’s hard to find time and money to take your kids places when you’re a single parent and the only one supporting your family.  That’s the situation for most of my students I’m teaching this summer.  How do I find money to take kids on field trips to The Main Street Theater, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Natural Science Museum, and NASA? 

“Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” ~Vaibhav Shah