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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today was a Better Day

Yesterday when I got home from school I was beaten down and disappointed.  I was disappointed in myself and my students.  I should have known it would get better, but I just couldn't get past what a crappy day it was for so many reasons.

Today it totally redeemed itself.

Not only because Victoria was there for the first time ever - but because this happened:

We have a subsitute para this week in for my favorite para to help one of my most difficult students of my life. 
Let's just say that's not an ideal situation for any of us involved.  I was more than frustrated.  When I saw the lady I thought maybe she went to my church or something - she looked so familiar.  Turns out she is the mother of one of my most favorite/difficult students of all time.  I blogged about seeing him at a petstore not long ago but can't find that blog, unfortunately.  That was the first student who took a piece of my heart.  I was his teacher my very first year.  I bought him a non-fiction book about restoring cars when he was in 3rd grade.  I've written him 3-4 letters over the years reminding him I'm thinking about him and hope he's making good choices in life and if he ever needs and adult he knows where to find me.

This lady didn't even smile at me.  Nothing.  She looked miserable actually.  She wasn't doing a great job in my room and I was frustrated in the whole situation.

This afternoon I read Mean Jean the Recess Queen and was explaining to my class this book is so tattered because it's so good.  It's really worn.  Pages restapled and restapled again.  The top half of the cover is faded from the sun and the whole right side of the book is tatttered.  Then I mentioned, "Oh it even has my maiden name on it.  That means I've had it for at least 7 years."

I read the book and the kids loved it and I sent them to their desks.  The para walks right up to me and says with tears in her eyes, "You're Miss Motz (pronounced incorrectly) aren't you?! I didn't know!  You were Michael's second grade teacher.  He's a junior now and he still talks about you.  Do you realize you're his most favorite teacher in all of White Bear?" 

By now I had tears in my eyes and can barely speak.

"Yes, of course I remember Michael.  He'll always be one of my favorites.  I just saw him at a pet store not long ago.  I loved seeing him!"

After that she smiled and did a much better job helping my student and we definitely had made a connection.
That is why  I love my job.  You never know where or when you're going to hear you made a difference.  I won't forget that encounter for a very long time.

First Day of School

Today was a BIG day!!  I really think I was more excited than the two of them combined - even though they were both sooo excited!

The excitement started last night at 9:30 when our wonderful friends Nikki and Therese showed up with ballons and a gift for each child and a bottle of Sangria and a very nice card acknowledging the next day's milestones.  So thoughtful!!

Christian was thrilled to see his trucks and balloons.

Victoria's gift was overshadowed by the gift I'd been saving for over a month.
A new turtle lunchbox - which she totally LOVED!
Here she is packing her own little lunch.
She's putting three carrots and 6 olives in separate baggies.
She decided on the amounts.
Then she added the Lunchable and clentine zipped her little box shut.

She was delighted!

We headed out to the front yard to get the
First Day of School pictures!

They both LOVE their backpack or 'packpack' as Christian says.

After she got dressed she looked at herself and said,
"I look so cute someone might think I'm a second grader!"
I thought she was lookin' awfully cute myself;-)

Finally his big day!
After living in his big sister's school shadow
for the last couple years he is a Big Shot now!

I told Christian's daycare Mom I would be back at 8:30 to take pictures on the bus.
I was a couple minutes late and saw the bus at the end of the street and FLOORED it!
I was certain I was going to miss him and thought I'd have to chase the bus all over its route (which I would have!)
Luckily Kris knows me well and wouldn't let him get on the bus until I arrived. 
There they were.
Rosie waiting patiently on the bus with two teachers and Christian standing on the curb with all the daycare kids.

Finally I arrived!

SOOOO GLAD I didn't miss that!

See. . .Big Shot!

It was just a few more minutes and the public school bus rolled up. For the other kids at the stop it was Day 3.
But it was Day 1 for my girl!!
She hopped right on and didn't even look back and the bus driver said,
"Turn around and smile for your mom."
She did.
She bright.  Cutest smile I've ever seen.
I couldn't have been any prouder of her.

She was beaming and I was a puddle.
First tears I shed about her going to kindergarten.

I was there when she got off bus 10 too.
She looked right at me, turned away and ran in line like the
rest of the kids.

I kept taking pictures as she ran away.

She accidentally got in the 1st grade line. 
Our Principal stopped to talk to her and tell her where her line was.
It was so cute!

I was lucky enough to catch her side by side with her new teacher Ms. Beck.
They look so happy!!

I walked away and then hid near the corner of the building explaining myself to the other mom's standing there who know me as their children's 2nd grade teacher.

Then I saw Victoria open her backpack and hand Ms. Beck the newpaper clipping she clipped and glued to construction paper for her.
(Ms. Beck was in the local paper, possibly on the very day she was hired, showing a little girl the classroom.)

After that I had to get to my own room but I couldn't stop thinking about her.
I peaked in the little window every chance I could!!
I was so excited for her!!
I was careful for her not to see me, however, I did (apparently) have a lot of spies around the school.
Throughout the day people said, "I saw Victoria waiting in line for the bathroom." "Victoria was standing in line so nice downstairs!" "Victoria was raising her hand when I walked by!"
I LOVED it!!

Keep it comin' spies!!

She has the very first lunch and I have the very last which sets us apart for a whole hour.

I asked a teacher to read a story so I could sneak down there to watch her get settled.
So glad I did!

She was standing in line so cute.
She got in the 'need milk' line and I snuck a juicebox in while she was in class.
So I whispered to her she could sit down.
She didn't look thrilled to see me.
I sat next to her asking questions, asking if she needed help with this or that in her lunch and her reply was,
"I have it covered," and looked right into my eyes - like back off Momma!

The rest of the kids were sure happy to talk to me there but I figured I better cut the last teeny tiny string left of the cord that's held us together for the last 5.5 years and let her eat lunch with her new friends.

But not until I go one picture of her eating her very first lunch in the cafeteria.

She was totally exhausted at the end of the day.
So tired she didn't even get out of the car when we picked Christian up from daycare.
However when little dude, I mean Big Shot, opened the door she said,
"Hey Buddy!  How was your first day in preschool?"

She made some art in kindergarten.
That's the Mystery Machine
(in case you couldn't distinguish that).

That's Freddy and Scooby Doo.
But I bet you already guessed that.
Last week I taught her about exclamtion points -
I guess she got it.

Tonight was the fastest Christian has ever ever falled asleep.

It was a very successful day!
Already looking forward to what tomorrow has to bring!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Week of Change

This week is my least favorite week of the entire year.  Yep, I'd take a whole week of conferences over this week.  I really really dislike.  Everyday I come home feeling like a total failure.  Teaching is so difficult in Sept.  So so difficult.  It's not even really teaching.  It's behavioral management.  Uh, it sucks.

Then Mark's birthday is the 11th and if I didn't plan something to take place in August he gets screwed - for the most part.  We also have a slew of personal engagements.

The whole back - to - work thing always makes me sick to my stomach with guilt.  It's hard to leave the kids and begin the 'rat race' (I ran into a teacher friend at Sam's after school and she said "Welcome to my rat race!")  for the next 9 months.  Trying to keep healthy food on the table, house somewhat clean/picked up, kids happy and played with and made to feel special, getting exercise in (which I didn't do last night until 10pm), keeping the kids happy and played with, lessons planned and daily behavioral managements planned, etc.

But THIS week puts a whole new twist on Back to School Week.



I will be there to takes pictures as they each get on their buses. 

I will race the bus back to school to be there when Victoria comes in for the first time as a real kindergartener. 

I am so excited for this new chapter in our lives. 

I am looking forward to hearing Christian's own stories that Victoria can't interrupt and finish for him.  I am looking forward to seeing and hearing how he's thriving in school.

I am looking forward to Victoria learning new things and being able to peek in on her (whenever I feel like hehe).  After prayers tonight she asked if she could add a wish to it.  She wished to have a happy day in kindergarten.  I asked if 'it would be ok for me to stop into your kindergarten room tomorrow.'  She followed it up with, "I'm not in charge there, you'll have to ask Ms. Beck."  Oh Ms. Beck, you're in for it;-)

Daddy took Victoria to her two hour orientation today and it was simply adorable.  The principal offered to have my class covered for me but since it's day 2 in my crazy class and I thought Daddy deserved this special day I just popped in for a couple minutes to snap a few pics. 

Victoria couldn't have been any happier and Daddy wanted to know, "So what do we have to do to have her advanced to 1st grade?"  Seriously, that's a quote. 

This year is going to be the year of change and I'm going to love every minute. . .

If we can just make through September.

Stay tuned for pictures soon!!