Friday, February 27, 2009

A trip to the mission

As promised, here is the incredible story of the trip to the mission. So my enterprising and caring sevenths graders organized a book drive and made bookmarks with the third graders to put in each of the books. After weeks of calling back and forth with the mission, it was finally time to board the bus and bring the books over. The students came to school in their service shirts, which the school designed in recognition of the Catholic call to service. The students have to earn these shirts by completing a service project, and are supposed to wear them on all service outings. It will be important to note that these are short sleeved t-shirts.

As we are walking out the door one students asked me if they should bring their coats, I uttered the famous last words..."No, we'll only be on the bus for a minute." So off we go, carrying the books and toys and bookmarks. It was about 38 degrees and raining.

All this time I had assumed that the mission was a homeless outreach, and we had studied homelessness in our service unit, so I was proud of myself for prepping the kids so well. So we get there, and the woman giving us the tour starts by saying that the first rule of the mission is that clients can not be high or drunk when they come. The second is that they are not allowed to make meth in the rooms at the mission. At this point, my less mature students cannot handle this type of information and giggles are beginning to spread through the group. As the tour progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that while the mission is indeed for the homeless, it is mainly for those with addictions. I definitely had not prepared the kids for that.

Then, our tour guide announces about 5 minutes in that the rest of the tour will be taking place outside. The kids shoot me anguished looks and marched outside behind her. For the next 35 minutes we stood in the rain and the cold in nothing but t-shirts. We were also ten minutes late getting back to school and the lady gave them each a soda, which is normally not allowed at school. So by the time we got back, we were drenched, drinking soda, and I had a whole lot of questions to answer from the students and the parents. It was one of those things I just had to laugh off.

All in a day's work, I suppose.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When it rains, it pours

Yesterday was possibly one of the worst days that I've had since I started teaching. The kids were antsy, I had to give a detention, and in the middle of religion class I intercepted a note that began with "I hate Ms. Appert," and went on to describe how terrible I was. Now, I know that I shouldn't really care what twelve-year-olds think of me, but I think every teacher wants their students to like them. Needless to say, the rest of that class period was not very much fun. I was trying really hard not to get upset, which of course only made me more upset.

Then after school I had angry parents in my room telling me that it's my fault that homework never gets turned in and that their kids are flunking. So for another half hour I had to hear about how terrible I was. Then I had forgotten a staff meeting and was late and it was not very good. By the time I got to my car, I was crying. Luckily I have wonderful roommates and Kristin helped Steve get his car so that I could just go home and go for a walk and destress a little.

The one good thing about having a terrible day like that is that you realize how much people care. Steve went out and got stuff for Mardi Gras, and we ate dinner together, and I talked to my friend Bryce, which was good. I also had beautiful roses to make me feel better too.

Sometime soon I'll have to write about our trip to the was the stuff comedies are made of.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nothing says awkward like a middle school dance

This is true. Last night Kristin and I chaperoned the seventh and eighth grade dance at school. We were the only adults present at what was obviously a high budget production. The seventh graders brought soda and the eighth graders brought chips. The decorations were a poster on green paper that said "Just Dance" and some streamers and two red lights. The "DJ" was a rotation of three i-pods and a set of speakers. I think the kids thought that having Kristin and me chaperon would be better than the older teachers, but in some ways I think they read us a little wrong. Kristin and I actually listen to music and have been out dancing, so we can tell from the first few bars of a song if it's the one with "Back you a@# up, motherf$#@%$" in the refrain. They were not pleased when we told them to change the songs. Also, we were middle schoolers not too terribly long ago, so we knew the sneaky things they were up to. I may have interrupted a first kiss. I didn't feel too bad about that.

Tonight Kristin and I are going to yet another crab feed, this time as guests, which is much better. We'll be sitting with our principal and the school board, which should be interesting. Also, this afternoon two of my students are playing a doubles tennis match against their respective siblings, so I'll be heading over to the tennis club to watch. Tomorrow is Sandwich Sunday at church, so after then nine o'clock mass we'll stay and make sandwiches for the homeless of Yakima.

That's about all the interesting stuff going on this weekend. Only one month until I'm in New Jersey!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tiptoeing through the tulips

My surprise was and orange and yellow and purple tulips.

They are my favorite.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Roses are Red

As much as some of the things we do at school drive me crazy, I am really happy at St. Joe's. Yesterday we packed the fourth through eighth graders into cars and buses and went to Skateland, a rollerskating rink near the school. Seriously, roller skating. Not roller blading. It was really phenomenal. I did my best to skate with the kids, but it was only me and one of the other teachers and the secretary that even attempted to join the kids. It was really funny to watch, especially the awkward couples skate. One of my boys asked me to couples skate with him, which obviously I did not do. I did skate around the rink a couple of times with him and the others though. I also had a dance party with my one student who was on crutches and couldn't partake in the merriment. Then, unfortunately, we had to go back to school and try to teach hyped up, tired out middle schoolers in the afternoon.

Did you know that teachers get the most valentines of any profession? Obviously, I teach seventh graders, so I didn't get quite the grand haul that my first grade teacher roommate did, but it was really cute some of the things the kids did for me. I have a really chintzy heart bracelet and a mug and some hand drawn cards which are my favorite. And while I have no plans for tomorrow, I've been told there is some sort of surprise coming my way, which is exciting.

Kristin and Kristin are out of town again this weekend, so it's looking like quality time for me and Steve again. We don't have school on Monday, which is nice, so I'll probably just be catching up on some grading and sleeping and do some work in my classroom this weekend. I also have some work sample stuff to do, and I'm surprisingly ahead of the game on that one.

I'm still enjoying Yakima...but I can't wait for spring break!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Girls just wanna have fun

Currently reading: The Giver with my seventh graders

So this last week in Yakima has probably been the most fun I've had since I moved here. The weekend was really weird, from meeting new people to Steve's car breaking (it moves forward in reverse) to mine getting egged, to Kristin H. having to go to the hospital with a weird allergic reaction. But the rest of the week has been pretty social for us. We spent superbowl Sunday with some friends and then after the game Kristin P and I went out with some of the people we met on Friday night. Tuesday I went and got dinner with one of said new friends, and last night got drinks with other teachers and then ice cream. It's weird to go from having no one to hang out with to having too many people to talk to. I like it a lot, but I've been more tired at school this week than ever before.

That being said, we've gotten a lot accomplished in school this week. We're moving right along with The Giver , so that's good. The kids are really restless though, and it doesn't help when I'm really tired all the time. I have to figure out a balance between being young and having fun and also being a teacher.

Tonight we have a school fundraiser and we are volunteering, so it will probably be another late night. We have to wear these really doofy crab shirts. Needless to say, I am not a fan at all. I don't do cutesy gimmick stuff very well. But hopefully we'll have a good time.

It's been really warm the last few days, and today we saw the sun! Kristin, Kristin and I went for a really long walk, which was definitely a good plan. Now its off to get ready and go out!

Only 6 weeks until spring break and New Jersey!