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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drop that E!

A few days ago I was on a "social" website and saw where a young lady wanted a babysitting job for the summer. She mentioned she was in the high school club for future educators. I found this rather scary. Every other word seemed to be misspelled. Now, I am not so anal as to nit pick on a typo here and there and an occasional misspelled word but after seeing the word "hopeing" appear several times in her texts I wanted to pull my hair out. Why can't these kids spell?

My sophomore year in college I had to take a culture class. The name of the class escapes me at the moment. The instructor was younger than me. There may have been two other nontrads in the class other than me but I really didn't know them. The class was full of young students that were pretty fresh out of high school in the age of KERA. One day the instructor came in fit to be tied. He said he did not know how some of us had gotten through high school let alone got into college. I just knew he was talking about me because these KERA kids had extensive training in writing with all their open responses and portfolio pieces they had done since elementary school. He handed out the papers of which he was referring and to my surprise I had a good grade. Later on in the class we were put into groups for critiquing. I saw what he was talking about. Through the years KERA has under went many changes. I think for the better. So how come these kids could not write a simple essay and spell correctly?

I remember first grade well. It was a traumatic year for all involved and that is all I will say about that. Back then that is when you learned to read. I was in the Red Bird group. That was the highest group. I was always determined to read just like my older siblings and cousins. I do not remember having spelling tests in first grade like they do now but we had quite a bit of phonics to do throughout the day. One book was orange with hot air balloons on it and the other was red and black plaid. I loved those books. I wanted to sit down and do them all at once. Even the "lower" students did well with these books. First we worked on the simple short vowel sounds then we went on to the long vowel sounds. By third grade we knew most spelling rules such as when to drop the "e" to make hoping and when to drop the "y" to add the suffix. 

Every school I've been at in the last few years uses Scott Foresman Reading Street series. I believe this is an excellent program and it focuses on phonemic awareness. Also there are tons of excellent resources on the web that go along with this series. So why can't these kids spell? Laziness or perhaps they do not care. It seems after a certain age the focus of correct spelling is put on the back burner. I admit I am not the speller I used to be thanks to spell check but I do try. I fear that many of these kids will be denied excellent opportunities because they cannot or will not spell correctly. This is the times that are before us. With this thought I ask you to remind your kids of simple spelling rules.

Friday, April 29, 2011

In honor of Poetry Month

As National Poetry Month comes to an end I am inspired to create a poem.   Ah-hem

The sea is blue
The sea is blue
If you were the sea, you would be too.

Thank you very much!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wives of yesteryear and today

The Good Wife's Guide

From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955.

View the original article as a graphic
Note: This may actually be fake. See Snopes.
  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

The Perfect Wives of 2011
  • When you come home from work and taking the kids to their practices make sure you are ready to cook like a mad woman because by now your husband will be very hungry.
  • Don't complain about your day, what a jerk your boss is, or what annoying co-workers you may have because no matter what his day has been worse than yours.
  • Let him be take care of all the discipline after all, he is a man, he knows best. 
  • Make sure the house is picked up and you have done a little laundry after you have finished the supper dishes. You would hate for him to wake up to a mess before he goes fishing, golfing, hunting, or whatever the case may be.
  • Make sure you have a schedule posted of where you will be because he is apt to need you at any time of the day. Keep your cell phone on silent or vibrate if you must. Make sure you can get his emails, tweets, or FB statuses and you respond promptly. If need be tell the person conducting the meeting that you have a "female issue" and excuse yourself quickly!
  • Have the remote where he can find it and all of his favorite tv shows DVRed. 
  • Be sure to remind how your husband how perfect he is and how you suffer in comparison to him. Just in case he goes an hour without reminding you.
  • Be sure not to bother his tackle, guns, hunting clothes, golf gear etc. This will only upset him. When he throws your belongings around just smile and say "Thank you."
  • And always kiss him goodnight.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sign of the times? Let's pray not!

I've been working at a place that is known for troubled kids. Truth is most are there because they have made the choice to take a different and better direction in their lives. The majority of the students there are respectable and are serious about about getting their high school diploma and making something of themselves. None of the students are from area, most are city kids that are not used to the environment we have around here. They use the "f" word like we use "hello." Every other word is a curse word. For the most part if you ask the child to stop or tell them that you do not like profanity they will make an effort not to do that in front of you. Most of them may slip up and they will apologize. Of course every bushel has a bad apple or two and that is where this story comes from,. I have been called unprofessional for joking or using humor with students, leaving due to blinding headaches, and calling in saying that I could not come. Today I am ashamed to say that I was indeed unprofessional. 

It all started on Tuesday. A female student with the worst attitude I have ever seen decided she did not like me. In the past I asked her to not use profanity....this made her use it more. She defies authority and is disrespectful to everyone. She gained a little buddy. A student younger than her that seems to gang up with the worst acting people around. Together they decide to see how far they could push me. They wanted to argue with me that garbage collecting was not dangerous. I simply tried to state a few facts the more I said the more hostile they got. Ok, I moved away from that subject. Later the boy decided to announce that Edmonson Countians were inbreeds because everyone that works at this place is kin to each other. More non residents work there than county people. I did not handle that well. I should be used to such statements but I am not, I made the comment that he made an "ignorant remark" because he did not have the facts to back it up. So I am accused of calling this child ignorant. By then I could feel my heart beating through my whole body. I am sure that isn't a good sign. The girl would mumble some kind of remark every I walked near her. Today she put on her music and sang loudly as the four letters words poured out of her mouth she would look at me too see if I would say anything. Finally she said something. I apologized for my unprofessionalism from the other day and she went on to argue with me. I explained I was not used to such bad attitudes and disrespect and told them both if their attitudes did not change they would not be able to get a good job or go far in society as I know it. I was calm until the girl says "What are you a Christian or something?" I've never been asked that in such a negative tone and of course I cannot talk about my religious beliefs, I told her I could not answer that question and she says: "Well you must be a Catholic wearing all those skirts and stuff?" WHAT? Anyhow were interrupted by the aid who is not happy with my anyhow and after that was over the female said I think we should finish our conversation. I hate she thinks that was a conversation. I told her I was done with the matter that she just needed to work.I have explained to them that I think they are smarter than to use four letter words all the time, they know how I feel. She goes on to tell me that I should start cussing that way I would not be so rude and cool like Mr. X or Ms. Z. They would not stop things kept escalating so I just went to the principal and told her I was leaving. I do dread telling Chris but I was not going to be able to keep my cool with these two and this behavior seems acceptable at this place. I apologized told her I thought I could handle the profanity and disrespect but I could not. Understandably she was not happy. NOW I will take someone calling this situation unprofessional! I regret I could not handle the situation better and I am ashamed of my actions. Now I shall try to get  passed this and focus on my career as an elementary teacher. I am thankful this part of my life is over with and hopefully I will not dwell on the situation. I ask that everyone pray for these poor children that have this attitude that think profanity and disrespect will get them far in life. I pray that they will find God and go in a better direction than they are now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April Whoas

It has been two years since I experienced my "major depressive episode." It is a time in my life I will never forget and neither will my family. What a horrible life they lived because of me. It started in January when my student teaching started. The horrors of my student teaching only added to the stress I was already experiencing without even knowing. This started slowly going down hill until April when everything seems to spiral out of control. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was trying so hard to concentrate on my student teaching but it was getting where I just couldn't have a complete thought. My first teacher constantly reminded me of how she wished she had never taken on a student teacher and she was sure my second teacher would feel the same way. She was correct. The smell of the building was not a normal school smell but more like a poisonous chemical. Small negative comments that I was constantly receiving were weighing on my like a ton of bricks. My second teacher was like a high school student. She would go behind my back and "tell" on me about things I was not aware of to my supervisor. I recorded four pages of negative comments she made to me in order to analyze it to see how I could do things differently. I was called unprofessional on more than one occasion. One time in front of the whole class over a little joke and another for calling in because Chris was sick (he was but really I just couldn't get out of bed). The secretary did not know me even though I had been at this tiny school for four months and I had to yell to her the problem. I was bringing home my problems and because I was so upset I was also getting berated at home. I was getting no help anywhere. What little advice my teacher would give me she would change her mind at the last minute. She would approve lessons and then say she didn't. She told me I wasted two hours of her class time and scolded me because of one child sleeping. The same child that slept the whole time she was teaching that morning that I kept trying to wake up. If I circulated around the room the kids ask me questions and she would glare at me. I was in her way and she had no problem letting me know it. I was sure she would fail me and the way I was now performing I could not blame her. I was unable to find words, I could barely muster the strength to walk to her room. During spring break I tried to clean out the attic and clean the house. Chris said he and the boys did not have time to help me they were going fishing. He was right, they never lifted a finger the whole time. The self time I had seem to make things worse instead of better. I could only see myself as a failure. After returning to school I noticed my words seemed to be slurred. During my last observation my mind went blank. There was nothing. I could see the kids and hear them asking me questions. I kept on like nothing was wrong not knowing what I was saying or doing. Needless to say I made a complete and utter mess of the whole lesson. My supervisor was livid. I was already imagining a fatal wreck on the way to or from school. From there it went to planning goodbye letters to my boys. After all, why should they suffer because I could not get it together. From there it was non stop crying, I could not even find the strength to put my clothes on. Chris was at his wits end. I had to call my supervisor and tell her I just could not go on. YEARS of preparations just gone, wasted. I had now caused a financial downfall for my family by not graduating and having all those loans to pay off. My supervisor realized what was happening to me and went to bat for me with the administration. She told me she had requested prayers for me at her church. I knew I needed help by then. Prayers and medication was the only thing that could get me through. I was surprised when I was not sent straight to the hospital after going to the dr. He immediately began medication and got me into a psychiatrist as soon as possible. After days of misery for myself and my family things were starting to get back to normal...well the new normal. Most days are a battle and more times than not I win. I finished my student teaching but not with flying colors. I had lost all my confidence, began having anxiety attacks, and felt insecure with the teacher I was with. We did not make the connection I feel we would have it had not been for my illness. I still wasn't me. I did not grow the way I wanted in my teaching, I knew this, my teacher and supervisor knew this but I also knew I could over come this and I feel I have. Now we are back to  April, the anniversary of my life changing experience. At times the echoes of all the negative comments about my teaching haunt me so much that I can't sleep. Prayers got me through this and they will continue to help me. I now know that I CAN make it. My doctor tells me there is a chance this will happen again. I know it could. I live each day using all my energy to prevent it TRYING to be positive. The not knowing what life has in store for me is hard at times but is OK because the Good Lord will see me through it. 

I don't share my story for pity but in hopes that my story will let someone see there is hope even though it feels like there isn't any. If you know someone who you think is depressed please encourage them to get help.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tutoring is awesome!

I've been tutoring one child for about two months now. I can't wait to add more students. I charge $10 per hour and we work pretty intensely throughout the session. I use sites that focus on the Scott Foresman Reading Street Series in order to improve reading and spelling tests on Fridays. Some of my activities are flashcards of spelling words, writing the words on a white board, oral spelling, reading the story, and I focus on phonics for reading.

I am a firm believer in phonics for learning to read even for those who do not make the connection of how sounds form words. Repetitiveness and practice go a long way. The more a child is exposed to these methods the more it will make sense to him/her because the child will memorize the sound and automatically say it most of the time. A person needs to hear something 5-7 times in order to remember it according to some of my professors at WKU. We work on blends, digraphs, and rimes and for my current student we have seen much improvement in his reading.

I encourage all parents who are able and have children who need a little extra help to seek outside sources. Even "gifted" children can benefit from tutoring. These students are often bored and appreciate learning new material. Summer tutoring also prevents that summer slide! If you know anyone who like a tutor for their child please suggest me. I do tutoring in my home to cut down on distractions and also because I have a wide variety of resources I'd rather not lug around. ;)


I know nothing about blogging but since I do love to share my life (maybe a little too much at times) I thought this would be a great way.

I am a mom, wife, educator, friend, aunt, niece, friend, and a FM sufferer just to start. I am proud to be a Christian and strive to up hold my Christian values, though I am far from perfect. 

This blog is intends to share my thoughts on everything and ideas I have about...well anything. I hope you enjoy!