Friday, June 4, 2010

End of the School Year Wrap-Up

Family: First and foremost, a huge shout out to my DH's parents who have graciously allowed DH, Em, and I to crash at their place for a to-be-determined amount of time. The air conditioning at our house broke....which when the heat index is in the 100's is IMPOSSIBLE to survive in! A repair man was there on Tuesday, but needed to order a part which will take 3-10 days to arrive. My in-laws have fed us, let us mooch their guest room, office area ( Em sleeps on the couch in the office,) living room space in the evenings, etc. THANK GOODNESS! We spent only one night at our place post-A.C. breakage and it was hot and miserable and I couldn't sleep. Yikes! Thank you, thank you, thank you, C&C!

(--And WOOHOO for amazing Home Owner's insurance. The A.C. compressor would have cost around $5,000 if we had to pay out of pocket. Fortunately, all we have to pay is the $60 fee for the repair visit to our house. Whew!

Emma: Em's Pre-K graduation was last week. SOOOO bittersweet. I hope to eventually have a post (with photos) just about this event...if I can get back to blog land on a regular basis.

School: I'm typing this in my classroom as I am waiting to get dressed for the annual 8th Grade Dance. Can't wait to see my school kiddos gussied up....this is one of my favorite school events of the year!

--I spoke to my principal today. It is 100% definite that I will be moving to 6th grade next year. Part of me will miss my 8th graders.... However, I'm super excited about the reading program for ESOL students that I'll be heading. (Which could mean I'll also have one class of 7th and 8th graders.) Cool!

--Did I mention I get to move to a huge classroom with windows! WOOHOO! Out of my windowless hole...I'm loving it! I look forward to having a nice reading area, like I had at my prior school, since I'll finally have ample classroom space. (I've already spoken to a teacher who is retiring---she's going to sell the 2 comfy chairs in her classroom to me! $30. Sweet!)

--Part of why I've been away from the blogging world is because I've been swamped since a teacher in my department resigned last month. I'm stuck keying his grades and attendance into the computer system, because long-term subs aren't permitted to do "official" documentation. Bah hum bug!

--The field trip this week went well! Sadly, the new Harry Potter ride and HP area of the Islands of Adventure park doesn't open until mid-June. So other than a cool photo of the outside of the Hogwarts Castle, I wasn't able to have any Harry Potter time. Sighs. Most importantly, the students were well behaved and didn't drive us chaperones too nutty. I had a fun time!

--This year is my 7th year teaching. Through the years I've received some small cards and gifts from students and/or their parents as "thank yous" for a job well done. I always appreciate the acknowledgement! Generally these gifts are not expensive, and I certianly do NOT expect them to be. But holy WOWSERS. Guess what a student gave me yesterday? His mother even emailed me to make sure I received it. A $100.00 gift certificate to Starbucks. WOW! (And yes, that was one HUNDRED, not an error.) I still can't believe it! Entirely TOO much and TOO kind. I am gracious! And I totally got a Frappichino on the way to work this morning! :)

--I just finished an amazing book called Larger-Than-Life Lara. I used it as a read aloud with my students. The book teaches a lesson about bullying along with teaching story elements. For example, 3 of the last 4 chapters of the book are titled "Rising Action," "Climax," and "Resolution." My students loved the book overall. THANKS to my sister, Laurel for introducing me to this novel! :) A short, fun read I'd recommend to anyone who reads aloud to 3rd-8th graders. (Almost too young for my 8th graders, but I was able to tie it into some stories about bullying that were in our textbook.)

Questions: My friends, I leave you with 2 questions...

1st---Does anyone know what happened to Fishsticks and Fireflies?? (Is she ok? Did she go private? Is there a way I can email her and ask to be added to her new blog readers' list?)

2nd---What are your thoughts on PRIVATE versus PUBLIC education???
-I went to private school from Pre-K through 6th grade, and then attended public school for the rest of my schooling.
-Though I was raised in a small town (only 3 elementary schools and 1 high school) I believe there was a definite difference in the behavior and academic grades of my peers who attended private school (for elementary only) versus those who did not. In my particular class, the high school valedictorian and 2 co-salutatorians were 3 students who graduated from my 6th grade private school class with me. We all then attended public school from 7-12. And still out of 300+ students, the top 3 were all from a private school elementary background. Interesting.
-I am excited to have my daughter in a school nearby the school where I teach. When I enrolled her in Kindergarten for next year, it was at the "A" rated school across the street from mine, but it is public. My mama heartstrings have been tugging a TON recently wondering if DH and I made the right choice. Part of me worries about not having her in a private school setting. (She's already reading----will her new teacher differentiate instruction, or force Em to be bored and back to basic ABC's; will Em get in trouble for being "bored" if she's off task----her private school Pre-K teacher this year was dynamite about re-directing her and finding activities for her to do at HER level; Lastly, will Em miss the Christian atmosphere and learning Bible verses and songs that are at her private Pre-K? (When she recites and sings them now it reminds me of my own childhood.)
-I want the best for my girl. Am I over-reacting as I wonder if she will be able to obtain the "best" at a public school? I ask this as an educator at a public school.... It is such a difficult call to make. How much of the child's knowledge and behavior is based on the PARENTS and how much is based on the SCHOOL? As a teacher, I believe there is a definite difference between students who do and do not have parental support. Am I wrong in thinking that if DH and I continue to provide a loving, educational background that Em can achieve the best in life no matter what her school setting?

Thanks for letting me ramble, Dear Readers. I'd love to hear your thoughts!


sklay723 said...

I totally hear you on the public vs. private school debate. But I think that you're right...most of the students I've come across who have excelled (both in elementary through high as well as college schooling years) have had a strong foundation of support at home. I think there are certain advantages that private school can offer, but if you're a parent who plans to be involved as a participant in your child's education, I don't think you're hindering your daughter by keeping her in public school. Steve and I can't afford what the tuition would be for private school for the twins, but I plan to be heavily involved with the kids' school as they progress and grow, so I think that is the best I can offer. And I do think that parent/teacher conferences are great opportunities for you to discuss Em's progress. You and your DH are awesome parents and I know that Em will do wonderful things with you cheering her on!!!

Danifred said...

Even though I work for a public school system, I would love to be able to avoid private. I think I know too much about the reality of a public education.

Fishsticks and Fireflies is gone (hopefully just for a while). It was sudden and very expected, but from my understanding, necessary. You can email Nicole at:
I miss her and the kids tremendously.

Shelli said...

I think it's not a clear cut answer (private vs. public).

My little guy is now in 1st grade (going into 2nd in the Fall). We chose a private school for many reasons, one being our public schools are overburdened size-wise. Up to 35 kids in a class, and temporary classrooms having to be built behind the school because the manin buildings ran out of room. Having a few teacher-friends in the neighboorhood (who WORK in my public schools) they pushed me in the direction to private, speaking about the woes of their ciriculumn.

I'm glad we made the decision, because my son was identified as needing extra help and was tested this year by our county child/study team. If he had been in the public school, they would not have even referred him until 3rd grade!! Which, from what I hear, is often too late. I am thankful for his school helping us though this year, which was often scary with the unknown.

So, really, it's such an individual decision, as you know, based on your state, your child, and most importantly, your GUT.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

The private versus public debate is a tough one... something that is regularly argued in my family. At this point in my life I am of the opinion that too many good families have abandoned the public system out of fear or being overwhelmed by the assistance required of parents. I think so much of how well a child does in school comes from how involved his/her parents are in the education process.

How excruciating to have no a/c. I remember how hot it gets down there. I hope it gets fixed quickly!

Yay for a classroom with windows and more space!

Beautiful Mess said...

I hope you're in your own house now. Our weather is SO crappy, I can't even imagine having to use our a/c. I'm sure I'll be whinnying about the hot weather soon though, at least I hope so!

As far as Em's education goes, I think being involved is very important. I went to private school from 2nd-8th grade and was SO shocked when I transferred to public school. I am grateful that I was able to have a private school education, but if I were in public school, my parents would have been just involved. With Nae and Zilla, I'm very involved. not as much as I was able to be before I started school, but I'm still in contact with their teachers, often.

I'd say give her a year and if you feel she isn't being challenged enough, switch her. That's my unhelpful advice ;o)