Friday, July 26, 2013

First Peek in my Classroom

Woah. It has been a busy two weeks! We had district induction with the ASD and learned more about Common Core and how this year is going to run. It has been insane as we go 8-4 everyday in sessions, meetings, and planning with other teachers. It's been so great to get to plan with some other 4th grade teachers though! I'm not sure if I said this on here yet, but I will be teaching 4th grade ELA, math, and social studies. We have three 4th grade teachers and each of us teach ELA and social studies to our homeroom, then we switch and teach all three classes either math, science, or technology. So I'll be teaching three hours of math, two hours of ELA, and one hour of social studies each day. I'll post more about my schedule another day!

Today was the first day of our planning week with our individual schools, which meant going over procedures with our teams and then getting into our rooms for a couple hours. Ready to see S202?? They were taken on my phone and are a little rough, but it's my first peek! These are the before pics, for sure.
When you first walk in the room.
The board on the far wall is my SMARTboard! Yay!

I made the back left corner my "teacher area"
because that was where the big cabinets were. 
Check out those lockers! No cubbies for these fourth graders ;)

My "teacher area"... for now
So today I moved the students' desks into pods of four (Kagan shout-out) and moved the kidney table over to my "teacher area". I wanted an area for guided reading, but also a "home base" that I could keep papers, folders, binders, etc. We were given a generous gift certificate to an education store in Memphis and boy am I ready to shop! I need to figure out some organization, for sure, and am ALL OVER Pinterest right now.

Each room has a college name to encourage the kids to reach for college and OF COURSE I picked UF. I went ahead and decided to make Gators and the swamp my entire theme. Get ready for some orange and blue bulletin boards, friends! If anyone has some Gator gear burning a hole in their pockets, email me ;)

Excited to spend a weekend "relaxing"!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Being All Official and What-Not

So I think I knew on some level that accepting a teaching job meant that I was gainfully employed, but it wasn't really until TODAY that I FELT employed! We started new teacher training for the Achievement School District on Thursday (there are 75 of us from 5 schools) and got all pumped up about being a part of the movement to move the bottom 5% of schools to the top 25% in Tennessee.
(Courtesy of ASD's fb page)
Then, today I filled out all my paperwork with HR, got my badge, and was given my school laptop and email address! It was all so exciting (except maybe some of the paperwork).  It's actually starting to feel real, which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying....
I am SO pale in this picture!
I'm excited to have my own school laptop, so I won't have to carry mine back and forth. Rumors are floating around about classroom iPads so more on that later.... As far as technology goes, our school doesn't have a traditional website, so I'm considering making a class site using Wix. I'm just not sure if the families would be interested or not. Maybe a class blog so my fourth graders can broadcast their voices!
Sticker on the bottom- see, it's mine ;)
Perfect background
This past week has been really productive! Once training started on Thursday, I was pretty much done with Institute. We had our last day with the kids on Wednesday and got to go to the zoo. They had so much fun! It was hard seeing them go, but not as much for me, because I'll get to see a lot of them this fall =] I just can't believe Institute is already over! Not that I'm complaining ;)
Our favorite exhibit!
I started buying some furniture for my bedroom, set up our cable/internet plan, and started moving some things out of the dorm and into the apartment. Another perk of last week was getting to see a children's performing arts group called Watoto Memphis practice and they are INCREDIBLE! They focus mainly on dance, but also work with the students academically, having them research the music and time eras and write about it. Some of the schools have already partnered with them to do some after-school or even during-school arts programs and I am so on board!! It was such a boost to see these kids go all out dancing to African drums, Hairspray, and then Justin Timberlake. Such talent!
Well, 2 and half days till my momma gets here! Can't wait to see her and move everything into my apartment =]

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Blog-iversary!

Can you believe it's been a year? One year ago today (er...Friday) I wrote my first blog post as I was getting ready to start my internship and year at home. Now I'm getting ready to start my first year of teaching and setting up my new home in Memphis. It's so funny to think that a year ago, Memphis wasn't even a blip on my radar. If you had asked me where I'd be a year from then, I'd have laughed at the idea. A year ago, I had no clue I would have to leave my original placement of second grade and end up in fourth with the best mentor teacher I could have asked for. I know I would not be half the teacher I am now if it weren't for my mentor and that school! However, not too much changed, I still watch the Bachelorette and take it too seriously and I just got to stand up with Lexi as she got married this weekend (pictures to come!). Everything has worked out so well that I have to believe that God wants me here. I get to live with Meghan, one of my fabulous friends from UF, we have a beautiful apartment in a great area, I get to teach the grade I spent a year interning with, I have already met a ton of really great friends, and the food is to die for. Good things to remember when the first year of teaching gets rough (as seen in the last post). Happy one year! Can't wait to see where I'll be next year!
One of my last Gainesville celebrations!
Hey Memphis ;)

Monday, July 1, 2013

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days. You know the days that you feel rotten from the moment you get up in the morning and nothing goes right and you end up crying in the bathroom in the middle of the day? (Or is that just me???) I felt like I was getting on to my kids all day long and they weren't learning anything from me. I had this thought that scared me a lot: maybe I'm not meant to do this. I think this thought pops up for most people from time to time (regardless of your career) and don't worry, I'm not quitting. But it's just scary to go through five years and two degrees and then dive into the middle of the career you chose and feel like you're drowning.

I'm going to get some sleep and some perspective and I know that tomorrow will be better. Today's bright spot came from my TLC (who is like a mentor throughout institute). It was corps member appreciation day and she had one of these made for each of us:
It's a 2 sided frame with one of my students on the left (with a blue face for privacy reasons!)
and our motto on the right. It says "I love Ms. Douberly when she teaches us hard math!"
This, along with a really sweet email from the parent of one of my fourth grader's that I printed out and a painting that the student mailed me at Institute really helped me refocus.
This email really touched me.
You have no idea how a small comment or gesture can impact someone!
I have an "inspiration box" at home that is chock-full of drawings, letters, emails, cards, messages from supervisors, etc. that are encouraging and loving. One of our professors encouraged us to make an inspiration box for days like this. She also guaranteed there would be days like this, so at least that's encouraging. I just wish I had that box now! These will hold me over for now =]