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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ramblings of me

I debated whether to write this post, but I think it's a place where we've all been before.  It's something I've mentioned more than once this school year.  It's a feeling that's not fun---it puts wear and tear on you--and exhausts you.  To sum it up---It's Stress.
Some think stress is a mindset...if you keep yourself busy, you don't have time to stress.  I don't know about that, because I personally try to stay busy.  I come home, and do mommy/wifey things, then start thinking about how I can help my students at school.  I do get side tracked (Candy Crush, anyone?---OHH that game alone can stress me out! lol)  and before I know it...I'm beginning to feel like this poor cat.

I think that I'm a people pleaser too, or at least try to be.  I care what others think..I want people to be happy.  Then that causes the worrying....it's a never ending cycle with me.  (I'm a little weird, I know--I live with it HA!)  But seriously, I do worry.

 I worry about my first graders.  I teach in a little "rougher area"---so sometimes (like a lot of you, I'm sure) I may be their only positive role model.  I worry about their home lives, their social lives, and their academics.  Am I doing enough to help? Can I do more? 

Some of my students come from backgrounds where their parents struggle with helping them get work done. It just breaks my heart.  Then the behaviors that I've witnessed over the past few years of my teaching career, just shock me.  It breaks my heart.

I don't want to say I let it consume me, but how do you find the time?
There's just never enough time to do it all, is there? 

So how do you handle it all---the stress that is?

or are you one of the lucky ones who can just:

For me, though baking truly does help, I'm a believer in the power of prayer.  
I found these quotes, and need to remember them!

The sad thing is, my students get, I don't want to say "stressed" but frustrated.  Sometimes you just need days to step back from those mandated basals (if you have them) and enjoy your class.  Let them be kids!

I think that some of the best learning times for my classroom, is when I step away from the basal or I even extend the basal.  I know more about my students than a book can tell me.  I know that they are kids and they need to explore, discover, discuss.  

I have several behavior issues in my classroom, and the days that I just step back and let them learn, are the best days for all of us involved.

Last week I had several students out (we've had some bad viruses going around) and it's hard to begin anything new when you're missing over a 1/4 of your class.  We did review work, fun stuff, writing.
We did the great little unit from Miss Kindergarten. 

Here are a few of our pictures.

And this little sweeties below---she's come a long way.

We did some exercising/brain breaks from youtube as well.

The brain breaks we do frequently.  My students need movement. 
The crafts, I love!  
I've had a few friends/coworkers comment on things I hang in the hall.  They say they like them.  They only wish they had time for them.  Somtimes you have to make time.  

It's not like they are just crafts. They are expressing themselves.  They are working on their fine motor skills.  They are doing writing activities.  They're not just crafts.  They are exploring, discovering, creating. 

So sometimes, we do need to take a few breaks, and allow them to be kids.  After all, think about some of the things you did in school.   Here's a list of games that may bring back memories.

If you made it through my ramblings, God bless ya! :)
Happy (almost) Friday! :)


  1. I know what you mean. The best times this week have been doing a half leprechaun activity and Dr. Seuss math coloring sheets. They have nothing to do with our math program, but they were high interest (and fun).

    1. Sometimes, that's when the most learning takes place! :)

  2. Sounds like a rough time. I'm not a public school teacher, however I do home school my three special needs kiddos (Two are autistic and one, adopted, has Reactive Attachment Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.)and am a full time foster parent. It is rare that I have a non stressful day. But, over the course of our journey and as we're in the final stages of adopting another baby girl, I've learned we can do all we can and it will never be enough, so we just do our best and accept that it's our best... No matter what happens next. In the foster care world, this can be extremely hard to accept. But I have. You are making a huge difference in these kids' lives. Even the littlest things mean the world to them, and sometimes more than that is too much for them, because of where they come from.

    I've been reading your blog for the past couple of months, mostly looking for ideas for my kiddos, as I'm their teacher. You can read our learning time blog at http://everystarisdifferent.blogspot.com, if you're interested. Good luck!

  3. I love the "childhood games teach us" photo. So true!

    And the crafts turned out soooo cute!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  4. Thank you for posting this today! I have been feeling exactly like you! I have been stressing about the same things...I feel like we may almost have the same class. It is hard to relax and turn things off when your students are always on your mind.

    I also play Candy Crush and get frustrated when I am on the same level for several days or weeks. lol I am glad it only gives a certain amount of lives or else I would be spending more time playing that game than I should be. ;)

  5. I hear ya! Stress and worry are one of my big problems......my last trip to the doctor....he asked if I ever relax on the weekends......all I could do was cry and say..."nooo....all I do is lesson plans...." Needless to say he was a bit concerned :) Really, I agree with you 100% on giving it to God and letting him take care of it. And I pray that every morning on my way to school.....but then I get there and wham! I'm back to worry/stress....is this enough, what else can I do.....etc.
    I think another issue for those of us in Ohio....at least my part of Ohio...probably yours too.....is the lack of sun! I need sunshine occasionally!!!
    It also doesn't help that we are being slammed with new evaluations, new standards of who can teach reading....oh and by the way...you may need a new masters or maybe an endorsement or maybe you can take a test...but we aren't sure yet! AHHHHHHHH! Okay....so I'm as stressed as you are.....when are we going to meet and eat our way through some bakery? :)

  6. Do you get feedback from your principal when you hang things like your lions and lambs writing/craft? We are highly discouraged from doing ANY cut and paste activity at our school, because quote: "I wonder if student time could be spent in learning more effectively." We have daily random "snapshots" where we are graded on an effectiveness rubric. I've taught 1st grade for 14 years now, and am just so terribly frustrated at the things that are being expected from 6-7 year olds!!!
    --I had this comment posted on facebook and then deleted it because a coworker called and said she was afraid I'd get in trouble if our district happened to monitor FB tonight. That's how bad/sad it is here.

    1. I do get feedback when we do our crafts. She loves them! I'm so glad that we have some freedom to do what we think is best for our students.

      You are right though--we expect an awful lot from these little guys. I still remember having 3 recesses, and I think I turned out okay ;)

      I think there's always a happy balance, I just wish everyone could see that. :)

  7. And also, I just want to say, I love your blog. I have purchased several things of yours! I also appreciate your testimony. I don't know how I could continue teaching without God's strength!

  8. It is so true that you need to let them be kids. I am fortunate to have an extra teacher in my class until April 15th. She is a retired teacher I use to sub for and she is wonderful. My little firsties are now getting small groups for reading, writing and math and you know they are getting it. I am fortunate to work in a district that gives us a lot of leeway and trust us to do the best for our kids. I hope you find some peace in all the wonderful things you do for your class and realize that you are creating wonderful materials that others are using to help their students be their best. (OK so I ramble)

  9. I hear ya! I've had a rough year and have wanted to quit so many times. I'm in a district with about a 70% hispanic population and my firsties are so low because they don't get any help at home because the parents don't read or speak english. It's very frustrating and I've been stressed with how much importance on tests my admin puts on us. Our kiddos can only do so much. I know they need to be at a G at this time in the year reading, but even if some are still on D's they've grown so much since the beginning of the year and that's what I wish my admin could see. :/ Hang in there, as I have and I hope the upcoming spring break gives you some much needed rest. :)


    1. I just think we teach so much more than what scores will ever reflect. We teach social skills, motor skills---and when we have below level students coming to us to begin with, it's hard to get them caught up on level.

      It sounds like so many of us are in the same position!! Hang in there!! WE CAN DO THIS! :)

  10. Thanks for the post!! I too feel stressed out!! My students know what frustrated means also. I teach in a high poverty, high minority school and the students usually get no help from home. Our administration has been coming into our classes almost every day making sure we repeat the learning goal and review where each child is on their rubric. Even when giving tests (which I am and I am sure the students are fed up with) I have to repeat the learning goal and all my centers align to the goal. Sorry, can you tell I am stressed over this!!!! But God is in control and I have to give everything over to him. :)

    1. AMEN!! Without him, we are nothing. Maybe my motto should be too blessed, to be stressed? :)

  11. Ahh, DeAnne, I love ya!!! You are just the BEST!!! Over the last 2 years we have gone from 20 students, to 26 to 32 this year (yes, 1st graders!!). At the beginning of the year I strongly heard God saying to me "If I lead you to it, I will lead you through it." That has helped me a lot this year!! Maybe it will help you too!!

    1. AWW!! BIG HUGS!!! I <3 you too! :) 32 students is ROUGH! I'm getting a new one Monday, but it makes only 25 for me. (ONLY 25--WOW, I remember class sizes of 15-18--it makes a difference).

      LOVE that quote---I have to remember it more often! :) Thank you! :)

  12. I love, love, love, LOVE this post!!! I agree 100%! Have a great day tomorrow!

    Live Love Laugh and Teach!

  13. Hi DeAnne, I can definitely feel your pain. I think we may have had this conversation before. lol It's been a tough year for me, mainly with behavior. I had a student totally blow up today because I tol him and another boy to go tho their desks because they weren't on task. He started tipping a chair over and eventually threw it about 8 feet across the room. It got worse, but I won't keep going on. One thing that helps me along with prayer is to look for the positive things that are happening. Sometimes it is very hard to do, but once your start looking at the positive it does make you feel better.
    On a happy note, when we read Olivia last week, I gave them the test you made. They did terrific! I wish the people at Treasures had your talent.

    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  14. I love this post. It's one thing we all have in common- to varying degrees. I hope writing this post has helped some of the stress out of you! I also take my stress home and then I worry about my girls at school. I just can't win.
    You're doing an amazing job with your first graders. You are so talented and I love your stuff.

  15. I love this post!! I often think about how much time I had in kindergarten to just play and socialize and I think I turned out ok as well...we expect so much out of these little ones! I think we definitely have to be careful to balance it - which is just something else to stress about :)

  16. You are so in my brain right now! February was a doozie of a month for us and now we are on to assessments and report cards and my own kids' nutty sports schedule is out.of.control!

    So bad that when I was getting my hair done yesterday, my hair gal confirmed the fact that I am losing hair! Umm-what!? She said it could be from stress or hormones. I'm going to have to go with option #1. It's comforting to know that we are all rowing the same boat!

    Here's to the weekend!!!
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  17. I also teach at a Title One, low income, high needs school. I put in 12 to 14 hour days. I want so much for my kids to do well as these are those formative years. I'm so proud of how far they have come. But, like you, and others here, we have put so much stress upon our students. And with the lack of parent support, proper discipline in the home, it takes all we have to produce life long learners with social graces. I enjoyed reading your post and truly understand the stress that so many of us are going through. The accountability, the teaching to the test (test taking strategies) that takes a week, so we can understand the wording of a test, versus seeing the real application with hands on materials. The decision to post a craft, as long as I tie in something academic (with rigor). Yes, we just trust in God to get us through these times. -Shirley

  18. What an awesome post!!! {I too feel the stress}
    Praying for you!!!
    {And my class also made Miss Kindergarten's Lion and Lambs - they turned out so cute!}
    Crayons and Curls


First Grade and Fabulous

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