Several people across the nation think that things need to get better for educators and that the respect level needs to improve. Of course, they are arguing for other improvements also. Our district expects us to have a duty period every other day. That duty usually consists of either supervising the In-School Suspension (ISS) students, if there are any, or sitting in the media center to help out with any problems or if the librarian needs to run an errand or leave the library. I don’t mind those duties as we rarely have a student in ISS and if we do we can bring them to our room, so basically still able to get work done and the library is not too hard either. Basically, we are just sitting in a different place to work. It is easy to take the laptop down to the library to work on units, lesson plans, grading, etc. On occasion, we have also been asked to cover for a teacher when there are no subs available. In previous years this has not been too bad, maybe during the last class of the day for a coach when the team needs to leave early to get to the game site in time. This year, however, it seems like we are extremely short of subs and are always relying on the teachers to cover. Usually, it is not too bad, however, one time when covering for the Health teacher, I was asked to show the PowerPoints on sexually transmitted diseases and birth control. I know that many of the teachers were uncomfortable covering this topic with students. It didn’t bother me too much, because I also have certification in Health, so somewhere in the back of my mind was the knowledge to discuss the topics.

The bigger problem, however, is why are we suddenly faced with not only a sub shortage but also a teacher shortage? We have had positions go unfilled this year, retired teachers have been called back to cover the teacher shortage, either in the subject area that they already taught in or another area that they were qualified to teach.

I am curious, how does your district handle teachers having to cover for others? Is it part of your duties, do you get paid extra? What happens when you are left with an assignment that you are not qualified to teach or feel uncomfortable covering?


Back in the Saddle again

I am trying to get back into blogging and writing. Once again I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers challenge, I think that this is my 5th year. Last year I started the challenge and totally fell off the wagon after about a week. I never did get back on track. It has been almost a year since I have written anything for my blog, but it feels good to be back. I make my students write 3 times a week for 10 minutes. Ok, they are supposed to write for 10 minutes, but after several months, many of them still want to write a one-sentence answer and be done. This year, I have written with them and then we share our golden sentence. It has been a fun thing to do in class and an easy way to get to know them better. If I want my students to write more than I need to demonstrate and lead by example. Here is to rebooting my blog and writing more.

March Madness

Today, our girl’s basketball team is playing in the first round of the state tournament. Since at least half of the students went to the game, class sizes have been very small. In my final class for the day, I only have 1 student. It has been a good time for students to get work done and caught up. Now, I will use the time to get work done in my classroom, that I don’t normally get to do. I am enjoying the chance to get some things filed and cleaned up.

Our boy’s team has also qualified for state next week. We will have the chance to do this again next week?

Fully Vaccinated

As of Friday, 100 of our staff are now fully vaccinated with the rest to follow this coming Friday. I was so excited to be in the first round. I know that not everyone agrees with the shot and that is fine. I just want things to begin to return to normal. I want to see my students faces. I don’t want to have to be on Zoom at the same time that I am trying to teach in person.

After hearing everyone’s stories I had prepared myself to have complications and not feel well the next day. After round one, I had chills and a slight low grade fever 99.8. The chills lasted for a few hours and by the time I woke up the next day I was fine. Earlier this past week, I had my yearly physical and the receptionists were telling me how bad they felt less than 24 hours after the shot. I was prepared for a similar reaction this time around. Thankfully, the only problem I had was a slight soreness in my upper arm at the injection site.

As more and more people become vaccinated I am really hoping that we can begin to return to somewhat of a normal lifestyle. I miss people, I miss hugs, I miss having places to go, I miss teaching my students from the front of the room where I can see their faces and expressions.

I miss seeing my daughter’s concerts. I wrote about that earlier this past week. I miss traveling and getting to see new parts of the country.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Minus one day.

For the first time since I joined this writing challenge a few years ago, I have missed a day. I knew it would happen at some point. Yesterday, was such a busy day with so many emotions, that I just totally forgot about writing. Too bad, because there were so many possible slice topics yesterday.

  1. My second Covid shot
  2. My daughter home from school and an early supper with the girls
  3. Kristen being reunited with the 3 kiddo’s that she has babysat for several years. They love her and really miss her. As soon as they saw her, they started begging their mom to leave and take dad, so Kristen could stay with them.
  4. The creative goodies that are trickling into my house in preparation for a stamping and card making weekend (all virtual) but hopefully, I will learn some new things.
  5. The death of a dear friend, an older gentleman, who had cancer. Kristen had bonded with him a few years ago when his wife died

Yes, many stories, but nothing was told. I will come back to this list and tell these stories in the next few days. I am also going to try and get one more entry in later today to make up for the missing one yesterday.

A late gift

My youngest daughter, Kristen, a junior at Luther college came home today for her “rest” weekend. The school decided to take away spring break and instead is giving the students a one day break. She brought home a Valentine’s gift for me today. It is a cute little heart shaped clipboard that says Teaching is a Work of Heart. Nothing to expensive, but it is really cute. The best part is what was clipped to the board. There was a baggie with 21 strips of paper with a note on them. (She is 21) and then another note that read, “For being the best teacher for the past 21 years. Here are 21 things you have taught me.

  1. Sticking up for myself
  2. How to care
  3. How to read
  4. That I am important
  5. How to cook
  6. How to sew
  7. How to be the best me I can be
  8. How to fight for what is right
  9. Work Ethic
  10. Everyone is special and you shouldn’t judge
  11. How to get along with people even if you don’t want to
  12. How to drive
  13. How to get through hard times you don’t think you can
  14. What it means to love someone
  15. How to be happy
  16. How to take care of myself
  17. How to show compassion for others
  18. To think before speaking
  19. To always take responsibility no matter the consequences
  20. How to work hard to get somewhere
  21. How to be a great teacher (she is a junior, pre-service teacher)

I will admit that my eyes were just a tad bit watery when I was done reading through the list. I feel confident that she will do well in this world as she transitions away from college and into the work force.

Happy Mail

Since last March when the Pandemic hit, I have been trying to do more things that will brighten someone’s day. I love to make cards and have quite a few, so I started looking for reasons to send out happy mail. I enjoy surprising people with just because cards. They are just cards that convey the message that I am glad you are in my life somehow. I am also trying to “gift” more people with a birthday card, and I am looking for more reasons to send out thank you cards. I have decided that in this day and age with everything so digital, it is nice to get a bit of sunshine in the mail. Just a note, letting you know that you are important to me. I figure we get enough junk mail and or bills in the mail. I encourage you to try sending some happy mail also. I have learned that it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a brief note to brighten someone’s day.

Whose day can you brighten? I challenge you to give it a try and see if it makes a difference.

I Like to Move it.

For several years now, I have been trying to get more active, to move more, and maybe get a bit healthier in the long run. Everything I tried would last for a few days to a couple of months. Sadly, however, nothing stuck. Until this past Thanksgiving. I slipped and ended up breaking my Fitbit. A bit fed up, because this would be the 4th one in a year, I decided to switch to an Apple Watch.

For some reason, having the Apple Watch has been the change I needed. I want to close my three rings every day. Earning a badge for closing all 3 rings every day in a month is someone quite rewarding. Each month, there is a different challenge also to do, for example in January the challenge was 140 exercise minutes, February’s challenge was 16 workouts of at least 15 minutes. I want to earn these virtual badges each month. I know that Fitbit had badges also, but they didn’t motivate me the way these badges motivate me. I am also enjoying the special mini challenges that pop up every so often also.

Maybe now, I will finally be able to become successful at moving more. Just hoping that the heat and humidity in July and August don’t drive me away.

Life Continues

It seems like so long ago that I wrote anything. Hard to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic that began almost a year ago is still affecting our lives today. Even with so many things changing life goes on.

This morning before the school day began we had a sendoff for our Girl’s Basketball team as they left for the Iowa State Tournament. And then shortly after class started we were interrupted with the sirens from the firetrucks as they gave the team a sendoff throughout town. Throughout all of the changes many things have been allowed to go on and one of those things has been high school and college athletics. Changes have been made, the number of in-person spectators has been lowered and live streaming has become a thing. Now don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the kids still get to have a season, they need it. But what about our performing arts kids? Are they getting the same considerations as the athletes?

My daughter is a music major and they have had one band concert this entire year. They were spread out on the stage, no one was allowed in to watch the concert, the school did stream it, but they didn’t use near the cameras that they have in the past. Yes, I was able to watch at home, but it wasn’t the same thing. I talked to my daughter afterwards and she mentioned how hard it was to play without the applause at the end. That applause is something that the performing arts crown lives for. The athletes are still allowed to have people in-person, so they get to hear the cheering and applause, but it is not there for the musicians or the thespians. The performance hall at my daughter’s college seats over 1000 people. I am sure that they could find a way to allow for a least a percentage of people to be in the performance hall, to hear the concert in person.

What message are we sending to these kids? Sadly, for some, the message is that the athletes are more important than the performing arts kids. This message comes across in good times, but now with the restrictions in place the performing arts kids are feeling even more like second class students.

Today, I am sad

So many different feelings today.  I woke up to about 3 inches of snow.  It was pretty, but I was not ready for this.  Then a friend called and we talked for about 40 minutes.  It was nice to talk with someone this morning.

One of those days where motivation was lacking, and then with one decision at the state level motivation took a dive. The governor for Iowa closed the schools for the rest of the year.  Did I know it was coming, yes, but I was still hoping that we could go back to school yet this year.  I will be honest, at that point tears were shed.  Yes, I know it is the right decision, but I am still sad.  Sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my students, sad that I can’t watch the seniors celebrate, sad that there will not be a graduation ceremony (I am hoping that they will do something once this is all over with) sad that there will be no awards celebration this year, sad that I am missing so many of my co-workers, and sad that this is happening all across the world.

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to order t-shirts for our school about the quarantine, how ironic that mine came today.  Yet another reminder that I am sad.