Sunday, January 25, 2009

Teaching: For Better or For Worse

There have been many ups and downs my first year of teaching. There are good days, where I see a light go on in someone’s eyes. When they understand something or enjoy a really good lesson. Then there are days where I think we all need a break from each other. This week had a little of both.

First of all, due to the poor air condition, it was an inside day Monday through Thursday. The students did not get a much needed time to run around and be kids and get their energy out. Therefore, I did not get a break to sit down, prepare, and have a little quiet. Thursday came around and they were getting so restless, recess began and several of my students went to go to the bathroom and get a drink. A perfectly logical thing to do at this time, well they weren't as quiet as they should have been.

I was aware of this and sent one of my students to go round everybody up. Around the same time a teacher decided that she would come and yell at them to go back into my room. Then she came in and yelled at me for a minute when she got tired of yelling at them. Later that day I saw a note on my computer from the boy that I had sent out to bring everyone back in (see I had it under control...). It said, I just thought you should know that the teacher said that you don't care about us and that you are a bad teacher. (I also overheard her make some negative comments to another teacher on Friday about me).

Well if that doesn't make your day... I don't mind if she tells me to my face, or if she, or someone else, doesn't like me. Just don't go telling my students something you know nothing about. I do in fact care a lot about my students, their learning, happiness, and lives in general. I want what is best for them and for some of them that is me. I am not the perfect teacher for everyone, who is, but I think I have made a positive impact on a lot of my students. Oh and I am not a bad teacher, I have improved a lot this year and am, at least, much better than I was a few months ago. I am working hard and will continue to get even better. So there!

I figured I would end this post with the good. Thank goodness there was some of that too. Every week I spotlight one of my students. They get to bring in a poster, I say nice things about them in front of everyone, and then the class gets to ask them a few questions. One of the questions was, if you could have anything in the world what would it be? He thought for a second and then said, "Mr. Horan to be my teacher in 5th grade." A few of the students seemed to think that would be a good idea as well. I would love to have more students like him too, we can wish cant we?

I also have a student that has had a rough time since coming back from Christmas break. He has caused a lot of disruption and made life rough on a lot of us. We have tried a lot of things and nothing has worked, until Friday, he was amazing! I have tried to use as much positive reinforcement with him and to praise him whenever I see even the smallest thing he does right. It seemed to work on Friday and he was so happy. Not only that, but I was able to tell his Dad how well he did. They both had huge smiles on their faces as they walked out of school.

Last of all I have a student who was referred to resource. Before he was able to start, I had 40 days to work with him. Where I was supposed to really focus on him and see if there was anything I could do in class to help him progress. The 40 days came and they now think he will not be able to make it into resource because he is doing to well. It feels good to see someone progress and know that you and they worked hard together to accomplish something great. His mom says that he is always talking about me and how much he likes being in my class. He has grown so much this year! Hopefully he will be up with the rest of the class soon.

I could share success stories about so many of my students. They are amazing! I will keep trying to do what I can to take my students from where they are now and help them improve, even if it is slowly. If I can do that I feel like I am a success. Am I a perfect teacher? Far from it, am I perfect for some? I like to think I’m close. Will I be an even better teacher next year? For sure! So for anyone who knows nothing about me, except that my students are noisy in the halls sometimes, I’m not going to let you get me down.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, here in Happy Valley, lived a man with a quest. His name was Dave, a desirable, daring, delightful dreamer with desires to destroy, demolish and devastate the competition on the basketball court. Then dine at the delicious and delectable IHOP when done.

As he prepared for a physical battle, our protagonist placed proudly, a plethora of gel upon his head. Added unto it a headband and with his new DWill shoes, set out to settle, once and for all, who was king of the court.

The battle began, it was the Bricks against the World. The other team came out hard, making everything, it was as if they were invincible. Shot after shot sought comfort inside the cylinder. Our noble army renewed their efforts and were able to catch up and keep it even until halftime. As they huddled together the troops called for a speech, much was said by all. Praise was given for their defense, and they discussed the intricacies or their intramural offensive schemes.

The second half began, but the enemy was no match for the mighty Bricks. The Bricks outscored them 29 to 10 as they secured their first victory of many 44 to 25. Dave was given the Matt Harpring award for his mighty efforts in getting the other team frustrated, but doing nothing noteworthy offensively. He drew charges, got jump balls, three steals, three assists, and worked hard doing the little things. With leading scorer Chris to his side, and many other notable warriors, they marched into the sunset.

But their quest was not over, as the sun set, and the victory was being celebrated, our hero and his crew had no idea that a new enemy was just around the corner. With his lovely lady in hand, Dave, Jenn, Chris, and Joel mounted their chariot. They began the drive to the post game feast, when all of a sudden, a great fog encircled around them. They marched boldly through the enemy lines, not knowing what was in front of them. The worthy opponent had now decided to destroy the roads, in hopes of stopping them in their tracks. Not to be stopped, they pushed on. They lost no hope when Cul-de-sacs impeded their progress. Not even icy roads of death that sent them spiraling out of control towards a barbed wire fence could stop them.

IHOP appeared as a beacon above the fog, bacon, sausage and pancakes would soon be had by all. Jared, Jeremy, Jake, Jose, Joel, Jose, Jenn, Dave, Chris, and Stacey enjoyed the feast and an enjoyable night was had by all.

The quest was obtained.

Dave returned home, said goodnight to his Princess, and had sweet dreams of victory.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goodbye 2008

2008 has been a crazy year... In April I graduated from UVU in Elementary Education and on August 18th began teaching fourth grade in Highland Utah. I also had a lot of fun including an amazing summer road trip to Six Flags and Las Vegas with two of my friends Dan and Jared. I spent a lot of time playing sports both for fun and intramural. Both of my soccer teams did really well, football, basketball and ultimate were a blast as well. My brother went into the MTC in October to prepare to go to Mongolia, this month he will finally be on his way, we hope (visa issues). I also met an amazing girl named Jennifer, and she helped me enjoy the last few months of the year. So looking back it was a rather eventful year.

I was able to spend the last two weeks of the year in Arizona with all of the relatives on my mom's side of the family. We were able to take part in my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary, the day before Christmas, as well as my cousin's wedding on January 2nd. I loved the warm weather, spending time with my family, and all the free grapefruits I could eat. I really didn't want to come back, other than I was rather missing Jenn. I am so lucky to have a family as awesome as the one I have. There was always something fun going on, playing cards, watching giant turtles walk by outside of the window, talking, or just doing nothing at all.

I look forward to more memories this year and hope that each of you get to be a part of them. Time is so precious, let's all make the most of what we have. Happy 2009!