First Week of Teaching: Complete!

So, I have successfully completed my first week ever of teaching, and that feels pretty good.

The first morning on my drive in, I honestly thought that I was going to throw up I was so nervous. To make things worse, the heat was out of control and I could literally see steam coming up from the sidewalk as I was walking into the school. I will blame my sweat covered self on the heat, but we all know that’s not true. Nerves don’t bring out the best in me. I’m pretty sure that I blacked out until about 11am when the kids were going to recess, because I remember thinking, “Oh my god, I don’t know any of these kids names.” I ran around to each of their desks and peeked at their name tags that I had them all make, and got the general gist of it. It’s weird, but I think that I may have blacked out for part of the morning. 

I have to say that the end of the week went way smoother than the beginning of the week did, and remember consistently chanting to myself, “act like you know what you’re doing, act like you know what you’re doing.” Because if I said it enough maybe my students wouldn’t catch on to the idea that I was scared out of my mind and had NO idea what I was doing.

By yesterday we had a decent routine going on, and I have a fairly decent grasp on their abilities. I did an awesome lesson yesterday on writing a Friendly Letter, and they all seemed to “get it” which was a great feeling. I introduced to them that they would be having pen pals and we wrote a class letter to them first, and they all signed on the bottom in marker. We have been reading the first Boxcar Children book out loud as a read aloud, and they absolutely love it. It’s a much older book, and different than a lot of what they are exposed to nowadays, so I’m really happy that they like it.

I’m kind of bummed that this four day weekend is going to kind of get in the way of everything I have worked so hard to accomplish this week. But not bummed out enough to dance for joy when the final bell went off yesterday and drove home completely ecstatic of the four days of freedom in front of me. Thank GOD for Labor Day weekend.

Some things that I have learned so far:

1. Not all of the fellow teachers that I am working with are excited that I’m there. I think with these people it’s best to just keep my distance and prove to them that I’m a great teacher.

2. Teaching when it’s 100 degrees outside and roughly the same temperature in my classroom is incredibly miserable AND unflattering.

3. My hour long commute has forced me to drive by countless trees with their leaves changing colors, and I’m not sure how I quite feel about this yet. I have spent my entire summer so anxious about school starting, and now that it’s here, I wish I had spent a little more time appreciating my favorite season. I absolutely love everything about Fall, don’t get me wrong. But after Fall is Winter and well..I hate snow and being cold.

4. Nobody taught me how to unjam a photocopier in college. Or a stapler. And they should have.

5. I have morphed into a child again. By around seven at night lately I look at the time thinking it MUST be at least ten, and therefore a socially acceptable time to go to bed. When I see that it’s only seven, I get a little embarrassed for myself.

6. At least for right now, I am definitely where I’m supposed to be as far as work goes. And that’s incredibly reassuring. 

7. Eating during the day is just not going to happen.

So, naturally, now that I have four days off the weather is cold again, and all I want to do is lay in the sun and relax. It SHOULD warm up, and I’m going to take advantage of this and spend the last days of summer outside as much as possible, drinking way too much iced coffee and being as lazy as possible. And go and see If I Stay at the movie theatre and eats lot of popcorn. 

 

Emotional

New jobs always start the same for me. I always psyche myself out, make myself nervous, think of all the possible terrible things that could happen. But yesterday was slightly terrible and overwhelming, and so this time I didn’t just psyche myself out for nothing. At least I was prepared.  

I started my day off my sleeping through my alarm. I wasn’t too late, I still had time for a shower. I knew that I needed to shave my legs, but only completed one before realizing that I was out of shampoo and needed to get my new bottle out from the cupboard under the sink. Which was really far away when you’re soaking wet and naked. I sprinted from my shower, tripped on the bathroom floor and almost gave myself a concussion against the side of the bathtub. No worries, still alive!

I forgot to shave my other leg.

I left my phone on the kitchen counter, and didn’t realize until after I had already made the hour long commute into work. I didn’t have time to stop for coffee while I was leaving the city, so I stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts which looked to be in the middle of a cornfield, and they gave me a stern response of, “sorry, pumpkin coffee isn’t being served until September 1st.” Bitches. I couldn’t even send whiny text messages about my pathetic morning to people. Now, isn’t that just pathetic?

This is why the city is way better.

The schoolday went fine with it just being New Teacher Orientation, even though it was made quite clear to me that I have zero clue what I’m doing. The good thing is that neither did any of the other new staff. I was given way too much information, and almost hyperventilated around hour five, and fell asleep around hour seven. They had me meet with my mentor teacher afterwards who clearly didn’t want to be there, and thought that her iPhone was cooler than me. I was supposed to attend a literacy conference today and tomorrow but ended up telling the school that I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed and could use these two days to further prepare for when the students will arrive next week. And I am feeling very, very overwhelmed. I came home from work and sat on the couch and sobbed for a good twenty minutes before calling my mom and crying all over again. 

I know I’ll be okay, but there are about a hundred different assessments I’m expected to give, and know like the back of my hand and I just don’t. I don’t know the other 500 acronyms I’m supposed to know, the way to upload grades onto Infinite Campus, or what the hell the Cafeteria Plan worksheet is that I’m supposed to fill out. I’m frustrated because I’m supposed to have a mentor teacher to go to about all of this and I do have a mentor but she doesn’t want to help so I feel stupid asking. So, I have skipped the literacy conference, which thank God wasn’t required, so that I could stay home and lesson plan and all I’ve really done is watch Bones, deep clean my apartment, and online shop.

I’m feeling sad. And terrified. And wishing that I had some kind of distraction. I’m hoping that in my current state of disaster I don’t do or say something stupid, like I usually do, and make my life even worse. I should probably just stay home and watch old Heath Ledger movies, order takeout, and work on my nonexistent lesson plans. I guess that with all of the new going in my life, I’m really missing the old. Those people who read my blog regularly know what I mean by that, I just don’t want to say it. 

So, yeah. I’m feeling a tad bit emotional. All I want is chocolate and pumpkin coffee and maybe a BLT, so you know it’s THAT time, and I would love nothing more than to curl up in leggings and a giant sweater and read a brand new book cover to cover. With you know, a couple glasses of vodka here and there.

Even just a, “Liz, you’re going to be okay, you’re going to be great.” would help me. It would.

Pumpkin Looooove

So, this is my last day off before I begin my new job tomorrow. I’m so nervous and feel like I’m going to throw up. I also can’t sit still. In fact, I’ve started this post about four other times this morning and have managed to find something that needs to be done this second, like going to Dunkin’ Donuts, that I erase it and leave and then come back and start it again. 

The good news is that my classroom is ALMOST ready, and the students don’t start 10418319_10152646950778184_6601712550158628511_nschool until next Tuesday, so I still have time to do some of the smaller things that need to get done in between orientations and meetings. Like put up my synonym and antonym bulletin board for overused words, and tape down my book genre labels and put the students names on everything. 

The bad news is that I don’t have a lot of lesson planning done. My first day of school planning is completed, but other than that I have kind of blacked out from nervousness. Is this possible? The important (and lucky for me) thing is that our literacy and math programs are very strait forward and if I turn into a zombie at least I can be a zombie who follows the strait forward directions.

Yesterday I spent the day in my room organizing, filing, and getting rid of the 50 or so UHaul boxes that other staff have so graciously put in my room since they don’t want them. I got so much done and now I’m so sore I can’t move, and also managed to completely tear off one of my toenails in the process, which in case you are wondering, is absolutely disgusting.

10577126_10152646951938184_5049366068951046550_nMy goal today was to do something calm and relaxing. Either lay outside on my lawn with a new book and an iced coffee or lay outside on the beach with a new book and an iced coffee. Unfortunately for me it’s currently 64 degrees outside. So, now I’m sitting inside with a delicious autumn-in-cup Pumpkin iced coffee, and a new book and I’m wishing that I was outside instead of inside. Because I’m thinking too much.

That’s a lie, I’m actually playing fetch with my cat and watching my neighbor chain-smoke shirtless on his front porch. But trust me, you don’t want to see that.

So, I know that I’ll be okay. If anything, this new opportunity has kept my mind so busy that I’ve forgotten about everything else going on in my life, and that’s honestly a good thing. I’m so grateful for this job, for the hour long commute that will allow me to enjoy the morning before a lot of the world awake, which is also my favorite time of day. I’m grateful that I have a Monday-Friday job with weekends off, a luxury that a lot of people aren’t lucky enough to have. I’m ecstatic that I get to spend my days teaching children, which is something that I love. I’m grateful for the nameplate outside of my classroom, for no other reason except that it makes me feel official. I’m excited that I get to read classics in my class as read aloud books; Hatchet, The Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House, 6th Grade Sugar Babies, Lost on a Mountain in Maine, Holes, and Harry Potter.

I’m also very, very grateful for Pumpkin coffee and for Taylor Swift’s new song, “Shake it Off.” Seriously, big fan. Maybe I’ll even get lucky and it’ll get warm enough for me to bust out my swim suit and camp out on my front lawn, but only if the shirtless cigarette lover leaves the premises. Cross your fingers.

You’ve Got Mail

I’m in the land of no electronics, acres of fields, and a town that’s population 4,500 – but 4,000 of it is cattle.

Needless to say I’m typing this on my phone in a doctors office waiting room and stealing someone else’s wifi.

I took this week off to try and take atleast a week of summer break and enjoy it without the stress of working. I kind of ruined that by working at the farm and in my mom’s classroom, but that’s different. It’s fun work. I made 80 different jars of jam, colored way too many Dr. Seuss drawings for a bulliten board, and have watched about a billion episodes of Bones. Yesterday we were forced to be inside due to getting six inches of rain and everything flooding, so I had to stay inside and eat pizza and watermelon. I had to.

I’m starting to gear up for the school year and will spend all day tomorrow in my classroom. My Mom is going to go with me and we’re going to leave at dawn and only stop for sandwiches and iced coffees to help us last the day. We’re going to put up bulliten boards and organize filing cabinets, organize binders for reading groups, read aloud books and all different chapter books for the year. It’s all very exciting.

I think that what makes me the most nervous is that I don’t want to look stupid and I know that I will. Because I’m so new and have to ask a lot of questions about everything and I guess I don’t want to annoy people. I have a mentor teacher for that reason but I still don’t want her to think that I’m a moron.

But even with all of that I can’t stop being happy. Fall is one of my favorites and it is so, so close. You know on the movie You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan? How she talks about her love of Fall because of the pumpkins and fresh smell of books and even the smell of freshly sharpened pencils? This is one of my favorite movies because I was able to connect to that and also because they play the Cranberries soundtrack and I love them. Just add in the crisp air, pumpkins, afternoon fall sports practices and the change of the leaves and you have me in a nutshell.

And right I just can’t help but be so, so happy.

Disrespectful Minions

Yesterday I turned 24, which makes me feel old. I didn’t feel like doing anything too spectacular, I just wanted to be with a couple good friends and family, so that’s exactly what I did. I ate cake and watermelon, opened up presents, got my hair done, and upgraded to the new Galaxy S4, which I have yet to figure out how to actually use. I spent the weekend in the country, which I loved, and wasn’t at all ready to leave when I pulled out of the driveway yesterday at 2pm.

10348287_10152611660653184_5729155705570264920_nI only have four days of work left until Summer School is over, and move on to my new job. I’ll have a week and half off before my new journey begins on the 20th, and I’m starting to feel it. Today I went out and began to purchase items that I’ve been putting off for both the students and for my room. I wonder if people understand how much of what goes into a classroom is bought with our own money. I spent too much money and time at WalMart in the Back to School section, and am still without scissors, markers, colored pencils, calculators, and paper. I know that it will all come together, even if I start the year with nothing, I can still teach. I’ll figure it out. I bought each student two notebooks, a box of crayons, a pencil box, and a materials box!

As I was driving home from my WalMart excision, my sister and I stopped at a local convenience store for emergency Diet Cokes. I was horrified to see a whole car full of todays youth parked next to me. They were punching each other, hooting, screaming blood curtailing screams while leaning halfway out their windows, smacking one other upside the head, and rocking the car back and forth. They were also old enough to know better. Honest to God, I swear I thought a tire or two come up from the ground they were rocking the car back and forth so much. This went on. And on. And on.

After I snap chatted this horrendous site to some friends, I quickly realized that these demon seeds could be in my own classroom. I have to admit that if this is the case they have some serious life changing (militant) experiences coming their way and they don’t even know it. This made me laugh. I was wondering to myself, “where is the parent?” since there was nobody in the drivers seat in the car full of hooligans. Oh, there she is . She strolled out ten minutes later with what looked like a ten foot long hotdog and a forklift of skittles, and didn’t even react. No consequences? No “we WILL talk about this later?” No “I am disappointed in your behavior?” These children disrupted an entire store and parking lot for ten whole minutes by screeching and acting like zoo animals and they were completely let off the hook. I was disgusted.

Are these my students? Dear God, if so I may need an after-school tranquilizer and a whole truck load of iced coffees. So, please. On the first day of school if I happen to walk in and see a whole class full of children just like these disrespectful minions, pray for both them and me, because they have another thing coming.

Teenage Dream

Music is like air to me, it’s on all the time. When I’m happy, sad, anxious, frustrated. There are certain songs that are like a time machine – I turn it on and I’m back in time, at that certain moment, feeling a certain way. Almost like when you smell specific things, and it brings you back. Evergreen trees at Christmas, the smell of the woods after rain, the salt in the air bringing you back under the bridge in South Portland, your first kiss with a guy who you never even saw coming on a hot day in the middle of May. Chlorine bringing me back to my college jobs, lifeguarding for hours and hours as the sun went down, and I was so, so happy.

Feeling The Moment by Feeder. I played it over and over and over again the summer going into my Junior year at college. My family was having a yard sale at our childhood home and I sat outside in my bathing suit and shorts, iPod on and blasting as I watched people come and go, leaving with childhood items and clothing I swore up and down didn’t mean anything to me anymore, but it did. I forgot to put on sunscreen and got the worst sunburn I had gotten in a long time. I stayed up late into the night applying layer after layer of aloe and missing him so much it hurt, even then I was going through this. I remember writing a status on Facebook about needing the ocean and a road trip, the glow of my computer screen lighting up the room in the middle of the night. Him texting me shortly afterwards telling me that visiting him would solve both of those problems, and asking me to please just talk to him for a little while longer.

Hangin’ By a Thread by Jann Arden. Probably the saddest song I have ever heard. This song was played at a dance competition that I competed in when I was seventeen in Boston. A company danced to this song with so much emotion, I sat there and cried and cried because I could literally feel the story they were telling. And every time I play it now, I’m back in that room, in front of that stage, and I’m just as mesmerized now as I was then.

Vanilla Twilight by Owl City. A friend showed me this song in college during a class called Nature of Story which was a complete joke, as our professor was at least 90 years old and taught class with his shirt completely unbuttoned. My friend had just gone through a breakup of her own, and I remember thinking that I had never seen anyone so sad before. “Drenched in vanilla twilight, I’ll sit on my front porch all night, waist deep in thoughts because when I think of you I don’t feel so alone.”

The World Spins Madly On by the Weepies. This is my favorite songs in the whole world for a lot of reasons, and I recommend it to everyone. I first heard this song during an episode of Greek when I was in High School, and during a time when my parents still had dial up internet. It took me weeks of trying to remember the lyrics before I was able to find that song, download it onto my iTunes and play it until I dreamt the lyrics in my sleep.

Use Somebody by Kings of Leon. This song played when I was in my ex boyfriends dorm room collecting my stuff on a warm day in September. I went over to meet and “talk”, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to talk, to hear why he didn’t want to be with me, I just wanted to see him. I was wearing jean capris and a turquoise Hollister shirt, and I’m sure I looked terrible. He was down in the bathroom when this came on, and I was left with his roommate. I’ll never forgot the look he gave me as I stood there listening to this song, like he felt so, so sorry for me.

State of Grace by Taylor Swift. I can’t even put into writing how amazing it was to stand in the middle of the pouring rain at Gillette Stadium, hands in the air, my throat raw, and absolutely screaming the lyrics to this song with thousands of people as the sun went down.

Times Like These by the Foo Fighters. Because don’t we learn to love again during times like these?

Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. Too much vodka, short skirts and tank tops, hair bleached out from the sun and this song on constant repeat. My roommate and I listened to this over and over and over again for months, in the car, at the club, during Thirsty Thursdays on the front porch of our apartment. It was our soundtrack, and will forever take me back to hot, sticky Fall days when I was twenty and reckless and loving everything about life.

Sometimes I’d like to forget these things, but then I think, do I really?

I’m Feeling…75?

I’m annoyed with myself, sometimes that happens. I feel like I am kind of rotting and sitting around and going on and on with my life and nothing is happeninnnnng. I wake up at the same time every morning, go to the same job, in the same car, and come home and do the same things over, and over and over again. I even cook the same meals all the time! God, Liz, pull it together. I need more avocado in my life.

So, I have booked a vacation to Florida in February an order to spice things up, and also because Maine in February is one of the worst things ever – cold, wet, too much snow. My inner nerd is coming out and I cannot wait to lay in the sun, swim, and spend SO MUCH TIME AT HOGWARTS during that week. Seriously, I cannot wait.

I’m taking a few road trips this summer, one to Acadia National Park, which is right here in Maine and is absolutely gorgeous. I’m going to spend a weekend camping, spend a day shopping in Boston, and spend a day at a theme park with friends. So this helps, that I have a bunch of things to look forward to outside of my normal routine.

I’m also looking in to planning a trip in the Fall to New York City, even if it’s just a spontaneous road trip at a crappy hotel on a long weekend in October. I’ve never been there before and I would like nothing more than to do all the touristy things, see an amazing musical, stand in the middle of Time Square and shop shop shop. I think it’s really sad that I live so close to New York and have never visited before, (unless you count a layover when I was 16, which I don’t.)

Maybe it’s the fact that my birthday is next week, and I’m not really looking forward to it. I don’t want to be 24. Just last year I was able to sing “22” by Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs when I saw her in concert at Gillette Stadium and now I’m almost 24! Which is practically 25, which is half of 50, and seriously close to 75. I’M SO OLD.

Also, I think it’s because I just landed my dream job, and to be honest it happened really fast. I had kind of accepted that this year I would spend another year working with behavior kids, and not attending IEP’s, lesson planning, and correcting papers after my brand new hour long commute. I’m thrilled, I really am, and I can’t wait to September to come. But I don’t want that to be all my life is, and I also don’t want to grow up too fast. I don’t want to run out and buy a house, with a huge yard, and spend my days cleaning baby spit up and mowing my lawn. I’m not quite there yet, I’m still young.