Tag Archives: teacher life

Report Card Comments

“I hope that he will continue to be a purr-fectly paw-sitive presence when he enters 5th grade” – is a sentence that I definitely put into one of my report card comments (he loves cats).

“Why does she read like she’s running out of time?” – is a sentence that I put into another report card (she loves Hamilton).

But I just wanted to include this whole comment that I wrote for another student of mine.  I feel so privileged to be able to write something like this; this girl was a literal rock star.

I can’t say that it was a joy to teach **** this year… because this year, I don’t think I really taught **** – she basically taught herself. She always went above and beyond in all subjects and did a great job in making sense of materials that I gave vague directions on (since she was ahead of the class), and constantly made positive choices.

Yet beyond her academic gifting and maturity, I really appreciated ****’s kind and patient nature. I know there were many times where her questions and needs weren’t met because I had to help other students, where she wasn’t called on to participate, and where she ended up with tasks that required trust but weren’t the most exciting. I really appreciate **** for taking this on and just helping me out as a teacher with her positive attitude and kindness towards others. It definitely helped keep the classroom mood light since **** was the friend that some of our students really needed.

I hope that if she learned anything from fourth grade, it is to take risks and to embrace mistakes. I hope that she won’t always be met with success but have some real challenges and opportunities to grow. Like I said, I can’t say it was a joy teaching ****, but I can say it was a joy learning from her and witnessing the power of her being in my class.

Here’s an excerpt from another one. I think this is amazing to witness in anyone, let alone a 4th grade boy..

As a person, **** is one of the most empathetic and kindest boys in my classroom. There are so many instances where he stayed loyal to a classmate even when his peers were not, and other instances, where he was understanding of students with special needs even when they offended him. He celebrates with his classmates and forgives easily. That is not an easy thing to do, and I felt blessed to witness that in my classroom this year.

A day in the life – told in pictures.

IMG_5885This morning, a boy delivered this awesome map that a parent at my school blew up for me on his architectural printer… it was beautiful. I enjoyed it for 90 minutes until a certain child, in his haste .. to do whatever, spilled it out of the tube, and pushed it out of the way and crumpled it. I yelled. I definitely yelled.. when I discovered it.  Even now, my blood starts to race a little.  He denied doing it. But later when I approached him and asked him to iron it, he said he would. And later-later, when I asked him how.. he told me it was an accident. The closest admission of guilt I’ll get.

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This morning I opened a box from Amazon. Amazon usually never fails me. I got supplies through DonorsChoose!  And I was excited! Was going to put everything away for our art project. Unfortunately, the spackle had cracked and gotten all over everything and so I spent the morning cleaning off my hands and jacket.

IMG_5891I found this in my pocket when I got home. *sigh*  I have such big pockets. Pens, post-its, and pokemon cards. All in my left pocket. I leave my right pocket for my car keys, cell phone, and apparently, a crumpled up receipt.  There was a hole in that pocket, and I sewed it up. Unfortunately, I forgot to check if anything fell through that hole. I now have 1 binder clip, 1 plasticky thing, and 1 paperclip sewn into the lining of my jacket…

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Ms. Kim is a FISH? 🙂

The boy who wrote this (yesterday morning) had a GREAT day today. We finally had a conversation with his mom yesterday. Good thing I didn’t find the note he wrote me until today… lol.  (Aside: I sent him out to write an explanation of his feelings with an aide. Now, I understand the need to help a child get out his feelings, but REALLY? As the adult, you couldn’t steer him to see beyond himself? smh).  He was upset on Monday because he couldn’t find his rough draft.  I suggested that maybe I misplaced it.  Then when we really couldn’t find it, he felt that I only cared about myself and that I hid the essay from him. (His words, obvi).  Honestly though, it must be so hard to be him.

 

IMG_5888To you this might look like a normal chair.  It did to me too. At the end of the day, I sat down so that I could do some mini-grading. As soon as I sat, there was this weird sound – like velcro. And when I got up, I realized that yes, some sticky substance was now on my butt.. because a bunch of sticky stuff was all over the chair.  Great.

 

 

But honestly. Today was a GREAT day. Besides the incident in the morning (what do you do about a kid who is extremely difficult and pretty smart?  Nothing much since their parents think that it’s your fault anyway.  Oh well!) where I yelled, things were really smooth. Thursdays are my favorites because they have dance in the morning and they come in really ready!

It’s kind of funny because our behavioral specialist came in to observe some of my kids at my request…. and everyone was SO WELL BEHAVED that… nothing stuck out. Go figure.

Some memorable moments from this week:

-C sidles up to me and I lean in so that I can hear him, “Ms. Kim, word in the halls is that you have some pencils up front?”   LOLLL

-I had a great convo with a parent who is now agreeing to get my student tested. (Previously – very adversed to anything that might apply to special ed).

-When kids were getting in line, one girl punched another girl and then went, “Oops!” and looked at me.  Baby steps!  I told her she had to hold my hand.  Then we walked down the halls, while I held her hand. Usually in elementary school, you know a kid’s in trouble when they’re holding the teacher’s hand. But this was a super big victory because in the beginning of the year, she wouldn’t even let me TOUCH her.  And I think she felt giggly about it. This girl makes my day… the most stoic, ornery, stubborn, little feather of a girl… she’s basically a cranky grandma in a little girl body. I love her so much.

-For some reason, one of my very bright girls has started to complain a lot but as a joke.  She gave me a backhug and I said with a straight face, “That better not be XX,” which then made another girl and another boy come over to do a group hug.

-Speaking of hugs, I got a few random ones today. and I am NOT a hugger.

-R ran out to recess with a fart noise maker. I was just super proud and impressed that he waited until recess to pull it out!!  He has been spending most of his recesses chasing people around with the fart noise maker.

-T kept trying out jokes on me from her new book from the library. I told her that if I didn’t laugh, she’d get in big trouble.  She kept trying to give me jokes. I kept not laughing and frowning more. I had a good time.

-4th and 5th graders LOVE getting excited about history and reading and etc. It’s really sweet.  There are definitely sweet moments.

– One boy hugged another boy with this deep, loving, eye-closed embrace ….. because the second boy was about to get a video game and the first boy was SO happy for him.  They’re my two loudest boys, but I couldn’t get them to be quiet in the halls because I was cracking up, because it was just so sweet (and ridiculous).  The second boy has a hard time getting along with people, so my heart was just warmed up to see the first boy hug him.

– OMG. A BOY BROUGHT ME DAFFODILS AND I LEFT THEM AT SCHOOL!!!!!

SAD!

I’ve also had this pimple for a week now. It’s horrendous. It’s like all the pimples of the year decided to band together to become one pimplón. It’s ginormous. You can see it on my snapchat.

The ups and the downs.

I read this article, “Where Have All the Teachers Gone” today.  In particular this stood out.

“An analysis just out from Georgetown’s Edunomics Lab argues that boosting class size for great teachers would save money that could then be funneled into bonuses for those educators taking on a larger load. The savings would come largely from a reduction in the overall teaching force, angering teachers unions and their allies.”

Calm down teachers unions.  What sane teacher would boost their class size for extra money?  I don’t want you to pay me more for added time or kids, I want less kids for the same pay.

Today was really rough. I had a hard time keeping the simmering anger down and when I got cut off on the bridge and there was weepy country music in the background, I couldn’t help but start to cry out of self-pity.  Amidst the excuses and trying to empathize with two students who made it hard today, I harshly told myself that maybe that time of the month was approaching.

But there comes a fault where it just can’t be my fault.  As I neared the last light before my house, I glared at the blinking red hand and railed against this piloted “rotations” system going on in my classroom.  I’m told that the light is closer than I think and I’m doing better than I’m giving myself credit for.  But at the end of the day, nothing feels worth it.

I try to concentrate on the rest of the kids.  The laughs.  The miniature successes.  And how with a rotations system, I can finally give some of my higher kids extra attention too.  But what do I do about little Bo Pete who stares at me blankly.  How many more emergency meetings are we going to have on differentiation and outlier students?  I’ve heard the science teacher explain her differentiation piece three times now in three meetings with I’m sure the same audience.  I’ve heard us voice the same issues.  Kids know that all they need to do in my class is work hard.  If I have Mr. Freshly-Tested-Out-of-His-IEP and Ms. ELL/IEP/Missed-class-because-of-broken-leg thriving, what’s the excuse for the kids who claims that “I get him in trouble” or “nothing will change” or “it’s because others distract me”?  How do  I respond to ridiculous requests like, “when I’m distracted, let me go for a five minute walk, let me listen to music, seat me somewhere else, seat me near a friend?”

Do I reward you because you, as a fourteen-year-old, can’t hold it together?  Sure, go on your five-minute walk.  Then come back and be more confused than before.  And then get more frustrated!

Or sure, go ahead and listen to music.  Oh wait, you don’t know what’s going on because you’re spacing out even more?  I’ll take time out of my lunch break to help you out.

Oh sure, sit with your friend who’s going to “help” you.  Wait! Now you’re both throwing things at someone else at the table?

Give me a break.

And while I’m juggling kids, there’s people who promise help and never deliver. That’s even worse.

And I promisepromisepromise you, I have it really good here.  How do I deal?  Money’s definitely not what’s going to sweeten it.

What’s interesting though, is that when kids are rotten, something sweet happens with the school.  And when school things discomfit me, the kids are pretty sweet.  I’m thankful for a happy end of the day.  Now onto the massload of emails concerning students I sent to the office, a failed conflict-management, and phone calls home.