Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Do you like kids like us?

at Two Writing Teachers!
I finally feel like a normal person today!  School is finally becoming slightly less of a whirlwind and I no longer have to work non-stop until 9pm just to get ready for the next day.  I even cooked a real dinner tonight, for possibly the first time in several weeks!   (To be clear, a "real dinner" means that I managed to throw some prepared chicken in the oven and heat up some Ready Rice... as opposed to just heating up leftovers, dipping out a crockpot meal that Husband started in the morning, or having him pick up Chinese on the way home.  I didn't say I was a cook!)

Anyway, the first two weeks of school have been AMAZING, in addition to tiring.  Here are some of my favorite snapshots:

  • My mom came to my school after one of the teacher workdays and brought me this awesome care package!  She is so proud of me for getting this new position! (And so excited that I'm teaching high school now: after all, she is a high school principal.)  It's full of all kinds of useful school supplies and I feel like I'm getting a hug from her whenever I use one of them.
My mom is awesome!
  • On the first day, after my usual "about me" talk, I let the students ask me whatever they want.  One girl, who had told me earlier that she doesn't like little kids, asked if I like little kids.  (I do!)  Then a boy (who I have since learned is one of the sweetest high school boys you could possibly work with) raised his hand and asked, "Do you like kids like us?"  (Of course I do!)  That simple question took my breath away.  After all, isn't that what all kids want (and need) to know on the first day of school?!  Do you like kids like us?  Sadly, my predecessor in this position apparently did not, especially boys of his ethnicity.  I hope I show them every day that I do.
  • On the first Friday, the school I now work at played the school I graduated from in football!  It was surreal and a blast, and the kids got a kick out of asking me who I was rooting for.  (My new school, of course!)
  • I found out that one of my sophomores had a baby last year.  Wow.  And she is such a hard worker!  I don't know how she does it, and I admire her persistence a lot.
  • After we talked about choosing a "just right" book and I recommended a few books to them, many students were excited to check out books.  In the afternoon, I mentioned that some of my highest recommendations were already checked out by some of my morning students.  I didn't expect this reaction: "M. checked out a book?!"  "Are you serious? He doesn't check out books!"  "Yeah, M. doesn't read!"  All the hours I spent organizing the mess of books into bins, buying new books so the kids will have high-quality books for choice reading, and making cute book bin labels are already paying off.  (By the way, the book was Origami Yoda.)
  • I always have my students bring in a special object from their country's culture and share with us about their country.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and quality of questions that students asked in all classes.  (I had planned to make each group come up with a question for each person, but I didn't even have to tell them to!)  Moreover, in my afternoon class the sharing turned into the most amazing discussions! (I hope to write more about this another day.)  It was awesome to see the students genuinely interested in each other's countries and valuing each other's cultures.
  • I've already had an amazing time writing for my students and sharing my writing with them.  This is one of the things I was most excited about in this new position, and it's as wonderful as I had hoped!
  • To top it all off, we have a gorgeous view from the classroom window and we had incredible visitors in 3rd period today!  It was a great chance to crowd around the window, let nature seep into our souls, and have a quick discussion about how writers have to be good "noticers"!
a mid-morning surprise!


  1. I have missed you! What an incredible start you've had! This sounds like a perfect job for you. You've begun to build strong connections with your students. How cool to have the deer show up! Can't wait to read more about your classes this year.

  2. I wish that I had a room with such an awesome view! I love you energy and your obvious compassion for the students that you will be teaching. xo

  3. I don't know what happened to my first comment--all of a sudden it disappeared! I love your post. How heartbreaking to hear "Do you like kids like us?" though. Thank goodness they have you--you who will honestly answer yes.

    Here's to a great year. I can't wait to hear more about it!

  4. All the good things that you noticed and wrote about have lifted my spirits just reading about them. Thank you! Keep up the wonderful work you are doing.

  5. Wow - it sounds like such a great start. I have to admit, I read this with some jealously. While I am loving working with 5 year olds, I am missing some of that deeper conversation that comes with older students (like yours). I look forward to hearing more!!!

  6. Jennifer, I know from your past posts that you fix your room up so delightfully & artfully that I think the students already realized that you really do like them & want to be a good teacher for them. I love hearing all the good stories, & then that last about the view. I guess you've had a little testing by the students going on, right, & it sounds as if you passed with flying colors. So happy the year has begun so well.


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