How much longer until retirement?

A teacher blogs about reading, writing, knitting, and classroom life.

I heart Valentine’s Day February 13, 2009

Filed under: Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 7:49 pm
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At least from a teaching point of view.  I got so many cute little cards saying how I am the “world’s greatest teacher”.  But what took the cake (pun intended) was a small, heart shaped cheesecake that a student brought me.   It was so delicious!  I just love the feeling of knowing that my students care about me just as much as I care about them.


Happy Birthday to me! February 6, 2009

Filed under: Life,Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 4:57 pm
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My birthday is on Tuesday and I’m treating myself to Monday and Tuesday off work!  Yay!  The catch?  I got confused and asked for the wrong days off so I don’t have a sub for Monday.  But I’m sure throughout the whole weekend I’ll be able to find somebody to sub, I have a lot of buddies from my credentialing program so I’m sure something will come through.  If not, the principal said they’d find a way to cover me, she’s pretty good about that.

So how am I celebrating my birthday?  On Saturday night G and I are having a “Happy Birthday to Steph and G, good-bye to G and D” party.  (G’s birthday is Valentine’s Day, on March 3rd he’s leaving to study in Germany,  D is leaving on Sunday to study in China) If it’s not raining, I want to go to the zoo on Monday (I have a pass.)  If it raining, I think I might go to the museum of contemporary art, it’s free to people under 25, and honstly G (my boyfriend) won’t be under 25 much longer!  So might as well use it.

What about Tuesday?  I’m going to… Disneyland!!!  I have a pass and I go all the time, usually with my roommates/best friends who also have passes.  This time though I’m taking my mom as a late Christmas present.  I’m actually really excited to go with her, it’s just nostalgic because all of my childhood memories of Disneyland were of course with her.  Plus since it’s my birthday I’m allowed to eat lots of ice cream and goodies. 🙂  Disneyland has a deal right now that you get in free for your birthday, but since I have a  pass I get that amount in the form of a gift card.

Overall, I’m just really excited for a long weekend and to de-stress and enjoy my special day.

Update: As I wrote this, J text me that she can sub for my class.  That’ll be awesome because she was just there and all the kids loved her.


Apples and Friends February 3, 2009

Filed under: Life,Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 4:28 pm

My friend J came to observe my class today.  I’ve known J since 2nd grade and recently went to her wedding, so she’s definately a close friend.  She called me over the weekend and said that as part of her student teaching she has to observe various classrooms.  She thought it would be a worthwhile experience to observe a first year teacher so she asked to come observe my classroom.  I gave the kids a big talk about it yesterday and they were so excited to meet her today!

Overall, it was really fun to have J today, although I probably scared her a little bit.  It’s so different observing a really great experienced teacher and then watching a first year teacher, but it’s also probably a reality check.

So why is the word “apples” in this post title? Well, I’ll tell you that little diddy.  As kids, J always teased me about my “fifteen minute apple”.  Basically, I’d eat an apple every day at lunch and it would take me fifteen minutes to eat it, hence she teased me about it.  Well today I pulled an apple out of my lunch bag at snack time and the kids started commenting, “You always have an apple!”  “Why do you like apples so much?”  “Do you like apples because you’re a teacher?”  I looked at J and she burst out laughing, remembering me and my apples.  I guess some things never change.


If you don’t have anything nice to say… January 29, 2009

Filed under: Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 6:18 pm

… don’t say anything at all.  Which is why I’ve been super MIA.  I had a combination of post-holiday blues and back-to-work blues and a nasty cold and I just wasn’t feeling it.  Some stuff went on at work too, and I got a mentor which is sort of good and sort of bad for reasons I may go into in another post.  But overall I’ve got my act much more together this week and I’ve been leaving at a decent time and I just feel better.

So today, after school, we had an assembly about something called the blue ribbon and its all about recognizing people and making a difference.  One of my students “honored” me with the blue ribbon.  I’m not a happy crier, but a bunch of other teachers were crying and I just beamed.  For better or for worse, I love those kids and it’s nice to know that they love me too.


Humbled December 13, 2008

Filed under: Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 3:55 pm

In the past week, a few events passed that made me realize I need to stop grumbling so much about my job.  I don’t dislike teaching, I dislike working.  This is my first year out of the academic world and into the professional world and I guess that transition has been a little hard for me.  If I had to choose any job it would be teaching or writing, but if I had to choose I wouldn’t have a job at all.  Anyways, now that I hopefully cleared that up so nobody thinks I’m a total grinch who hates kids (I love kids, they crack me up all the time) I’ll move on to the valuable morals I learned:

1. A few days ago I read an author interview in the back of Tuck Everlasting.  I forget the question, but the answer was something like being a writer is not a very important job and that in her opinion teachers have the most important jobs.  Needless to say I was overly nice to my students the rest of the day after reading that because I thought, “Wow, my job is important.”

2.  My students daily write in their reading response journal.  They read for half an hour and then write 6 sentences answering a question from a big list I gave them.  This one kid, J,  was writing about a book I’ve never read but apparently the main character had a rough life.  J in his journal went into a long ramble about how this book has made him appreciate the things in his life and has made him think twice before complaining.  Then, always the ham, J turned the question toward me.  “What about you, Ms. S?  Do you find yourself complaining a lot?  Well you shouldn’t because some people have it worse!”  Well that made me feel like a real schmuck and J is right.  In this economy, I should be very appreciative that I have a job.  Even more than that, I have a job very close to my home with a great administration and a big circle of support.

3.  Lastly, Friday was our last day of school for three weeks.  About half of my class brought me a present which of course made me feel loved.  My favorite present was a cake.  I don’t know why, but it strikes me as very funny.  It was just a plain, yellow cake that he made.  It’s sort of a small circular shape and he cut out a star in the middle and filled it with a star cupcake (which he also gave to each kid in the class).  Having a kid bake me a cake definately made me appreciate how awesome my job is.

Teachers rock!


Hope, Joy, and Sheer Frustration December 8, 2008

Filed under: reading,Teaching — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 5:57 pm
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Hope: My students were well behaved today.  Even H.  Especially H.  How?  On Friday my principal came in and helped me rearrange my classroom (for the third time this year- another story for another day) to separate the 5th and 6th graders.  She felt that the 6th graders were a bad influence on the 5th graders.  H got his own seat and a clipboard.  He was perfectly behaved. After lunch the whole class got a little rowdy, but in general, it was one of the best behaved days in ages.  There is hope after all!

Joy: I just checked out The Invention of Hugo Cabret at the library.  I was eying this book at our school library last week, but a kid took it and I wasn’t about to take it from him- although I was tempted.   This book is really cool in it’s set up.  It’s super thick like a Harry Potter book, but 284 of the pages (according to the jacket) are drawings.  On the pages that do have writing, they aren’t a full page.  I “read” like the first twenty pages at the school library and I was so excited to have found it and I can’t wait to start it!

And the frustration that put an anchor on this whole day…

I’m taking this online class that makes me want to use all sorts of profanity.  In California, teachers have to “clear” their credential.  This too makes me want to use profanity, but I’m trying to focus my anger on this class, which is one of four to clear my credential.  On the website, the assignments are listed in 4 separate places, and none of them match.  On one week in particular nobody could figure out the assignment and a ton of people emailed the instructor, but she took her sweet time (a week) and waited until after it was due to clarify and some people had to do it again.  I am currently failing this class because I didn’t find the rubric for the assignment until a week later and didn’t realize all that I had to do.  Notice my choice in the word “find”, not that I didnt read, or didn’t know, but that I literally couldn’t find it on this maze of a website.  So to pass this class I need to get an excellent score on the next paper. However, I am confused on this as well.  In one place she says it should be between 3-5 pages, but then the sample paper she put up is 13 pages.  The whole ordeal makes me want to yank my hair and scream into a pillow.

But on the bright side, it makes me want to be an internet teacher, because apparently you can assign obscure assignments and not respond to your pupils and still make a paycheck bigger than mine.


A Harry Potter Marathon and a Sweater December 7, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,reading — Stephanie @ Finances & Fatigues @ 5:13 pm

Today I watched a Harry Potter Marathon and finished a sweater.

Oh yeah! This sweater, Francis, took me like almost two months, but to be honest I didn’t work on it very often. I guess I messed something up because it’s not supposed to be wavy and ruffled like that, but I sort of like it.  Makes me feel regal and it reminds me of Queen Elizabeth I. It’s also supposed to be long sleeved but I ran out of yarn.  Oh well!