Tuesday, August 29, 2006

stress city...

YIKES! I didn't really except to be this stressed this early on in the year! The school calendar has yet to begin, yet I am feeling an unusual amount of stress. It started yesterday on my first official day of reporting to school...

I went to bed on Sunday night and had my outfit all picked out and ready to go...lunch packed...water bottle in the fridge...I got into bed and before I knew it, I was OUT! That's good and bad...good in the sense that I didn't lay awake thinking about school or all that had to be done...but bad because I forgot one small detail for the day...setting my alarm! AHHH! I fell asleep with no alarm set...thank GOODNESS that my roommate's alarm went off only 15 minutes after when I was SUPPOSED to get up...luckily I had enough time to take a quick shower, run around getting ready, and then head out the door to make it to school on time! Ok...so one obstacle down.

I get to school and my room was looking pretty good...everything was in it's own place...nice, neat little stacks around the room, easily to get to. I got there around 7:45 and didn't walk out of the building until nearly 7 pm. SICK! I spent every hour busy doing something...from meetings, to cleaning, to arranging and rearranging, to cutting, gluing, typing, copying...oh the list goes on! It was crazy. I left on Monday night with a list a mile long of things that need to be done and a room that looked like it was hit by a tornado!

This morning I got to school and had a good solid 3 hour chunk of time just to work in my room...I figured I'd get most everything done and be out of school on time, if not early, today...WRONG! I work straight from 8:00 until about 5:40...with only an hour "break" for a meeting on safety procedures and drills. There were a few moments throughout the day that I was just really NOT sure that it would all get done...but once again my roommate, Megan, came to the rescue...she offered to come help me out...so with her in there helping for about an hour and a half, I left tonight feeling pretty good about all the jobs that needed to be done...

However, if that was not enough stress...add a handful of very skeptical, and perhaps even enraged parents and you get one overwhelmed person! I was notified from the principal, the assistant principal, and another person of three parents who have specifically talked to those authorities about their concerns for my position as first grade teacher...they feel that I am unqualified because of my lack of experience, and would even be bold enough to say that I may be a "BAD" teacher for their child. I can see where concern might be expected, but pre-judging me based on NO prior knowledge is really frustrating. They have no idea who I am, what I've done, and how I will contribute to the class...that sounds like I'm talking to myself...but I was well informed, today, that you have to be overly confident in this profession or they will tear you apart...I've also learned (in the last day or two) that you really have to let things slide off your shoulders and stand up tall or else you'll never survive. There will never be a PERFECT teacher for all the little angels that walk into the school...there will always be MORE that a teacher can do...always SOMETHING that can be different...but I've been encouraged to be confident in my abilities and to show them different from what they think. One parent went to the extreme of emailing the principal 7 times in less than 24 hours...calling several times, and waiting in the parking lot for the principal to leave so she could speak with her! WOW....

I'm glad I know all that...and everyone is on my side, and really saying flattering things about me...that all helps...but I am still extremely nervous for tomorrow...tomorrow is Open House! AHHH! It will be the first time the parents will see me, the first time the kids will see me...and while it is extremely informal and supposed to be a "light hearted" time of getting to know one another, I know I will be under the magnifying glass for many of the people that come in and out of my room tomorrow night. The next two days will be conferences with parents which will be ONE on ONE time for them to ask me questions...or DRILL me! It will be quite interesting!

Good thing I was able to spend some time with some of my very best friends tonight...it was very reassuring to be with them and to know of their support for me! See ya later stress...helloooooo new day!

Monday, August 28, 2006

amos lee...two thumbs up!

Some of you have heard of Cities 97, and some of you haven't...but they have this thing called Oake on the Water which is a mini concert series throughout the summer. They had various artists lined up to play "on the water" in various locations throughout the Twin Cities. The last Oake on the Water was held in Waconia, MN...of all places, rinky-dinky Waconia...I'm not sure why, but I just went with it:)

I had heard of Amos Lee on the radio quite often, but I only knew maybe 2 of his songs...what I knew of him, I really liked. So my roommate, Megan, and I decided to make the trek to good old Waconia and go to the concert. The best part was that it was FREE!!

The idea of these concerts is to set up the stage outside and be on or near the water (on a dock, a boat, etc.)...however, the day of the concert was the day we got the most rain we've had in a long time....so they had to move the concert inside to this little restaurant/bar...not a big deal is what I initially thought...and then after about 5 minutes, I changed my mind...streams and streams of people kept piling into the Boat House...I could barely move an inch without running into people.

So Megan and I sat for nearly 2 hours with our knees up to our chest waiting for Amos to come out and play...finally the moment came, and it was TOTALLY worth it!!! I didn't except to like his music/style SO much...but he is awesome. I think the best part is that it's not a forced sound and when he plays live, he sounds just like he does on his album! NICE!

All of that to say....the concert was great...and after I got home I downloaded quite a few songs to my ipod! check him out....I give him two thumbs up:)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

running is a breeze....

5 years ago I never thought I'd say this...

I actually look forward to running. In the last few years I've gotten into a pretty good habit of running on a regular basis...but now I have even more motivation to run...

I got some amazing new shoes for my birthday and let me tell you...I pretty much don't want to stop running once I've put them on!!!! Hopefully you'll think they are as cool as I think they are (perhaps you'll even think they are cooler than what I say) In either case, check them out and at least pretend to be excited that I've shared this with everyone!

Oh...and I know it's slightly odd that I actually took a picture of my feet with my shoes on...but the picture just didn't seem to capture the greatness of the shoes without feet in them!

Monday, August 21, 2006

school...before the kids!

I've been able to get into school a few afternoons after work (it's been tricky since I've been working 55+ hours a week...but I've managed to do it!) and the room is coming along...slowly, but surely!

From a quick glance, it actually doesn't look that "bad"...I have been able to get the general set up of the classroom in place. When I got into the room, the desk was on one side, the computer on another--so, I created a little "office" space for me! (it was quite the site to see Megan and me moving the HUGE desk across the room! YIKES!) I also rearranged the desks, and "meeting" area.

I have SO many ideas for the classroom and hopefully after a few trips to IKEA I will be able to put my of those ideas into place! It's a ton of fun getting to make a classroom the way I envision it, and it's a bonus that I don't have to start from scratch!!!

Other than getting the room set up, I take little breaks from organizing and work on cutting out, sorting, labeling, etc.

Most of the pictures I've put on here are self explanatory...so hopefully it will give you a good idea of where i'm at...and what school is really like before the kids:)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Crown's Poster Child!!!???!!?

Look what many current and prospective Crown students will receive in their mailboxes!! Whoooa:)

Friday, August 18, 2006

well...here i sit...

Location: Cedar Ridge Elementary School
Task: Set up an entire classroom
Time Expectancy: WHO THE HECK KNOWS
Reward: A bunch of precious little kids...oh yeah, and a paycheck every other week:)

Well...here I sit...just me and an empty classroom. It's one of those "surreal" feelings because I have literally dreamt about this day since I was little. I mean honestly, for those of you who knew me as a little kid...don't you remember me always nagging Tony to play school...or setting up a fake dry erase board on my closet door...or making D.O.L (Daily Oral Language for those of you who don't remember) exercises...or even requesting an overhead for my birthday. And now....I have all of that. I have my own chalk board, I have my own overhead, I have pages upon pages of exercises and activities...its all sitting before me and I'm not exactly sure where to begin.

I've been feeling slightly overwhelmed the last few days realizing the amount of work that needs to go into this classroom in a very short amount of time...desk tags, locker tags, name badges, folders, cleaning, organizing, setting up, taking down, Open House, conferences...not to mention actually planning what I intend to teach the first few days! Wow! However up until now...I've always had someone holding my hand...walking by my side to assist me and watch over my every move...until right now...now, that has completely shifted. I had either a professor advising me, or friends giving me helpful ideas, or a teacher sharing expertise and now all of that is left in my hands to do with it what I please.

I have so many ideas...so many plans...so many hopes for this job that my brain can't even begin to process the "reality" of it all. It still feels somewhat like I am student teaching, or like I am going to be playing school. I have a list of at least 20 "urgent" things that need to be done in the next week and I can't decide where to start. I try to start a task, and easily get sidetracked with thoughts of something else that needs to be done! All that to say...this is FOR REAL! HOLY COW:)

No longer am I going to be playing or dreaming...but I am going to be living out that dream of mine...that kind of sounds sappy, but its honestly how I've been processing this whole experience so far. My dream will become a reality in a matter of 2 weeks...I am going to have 23 little bodies sitting in front of me, with eager anticipation, and nervous minds...and I am going to have the opportunity to share a little piece of their lives. Wow! Such an awesome responsibility!

But enough of the procrastinating (I know I work better under pressure...but I do need to accomplish SOMETHING today)...so I will leave you by saying THANK YOU for being a part of my life...each of you have played a huge role (in various ways) and I'm so excited to continue to share this new experience with you.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

a long time coming...

I feel like MANY people have been anticipating this wedding for years...and it finally came and went...

Bethany and Zach are now Mr. and Mrs. Weinkauf! How stinkin' exciting is that!?!? I am so happy for the two of them...here are some pictures for those of you who are interested in seeing them:) What an amazing couple!

i've been a slacker

well...my intentions of writing daily (or frequently) on this blogger site have not gone much more than just that...intentions! I was really thinking I'd keep up with this thing much better, but I haven't and so today is a new day!

I often think about things I want to write about...thing I'm pondering, or feeling, funny things that have happened...and yet, time seems to slip away from me and by the time I get a chance to write, I forget what it was that I wanted to write about. I'm sure many of you can relate!

all of that to say...get ready...I've decided I am ready to get better at this blogging thing...if for no other reason than for my own sanity...writing is an outlet for me...I love writing and so I decided I need to start taking time to do thing that are enjoyable even in the business of life! I have no idea who reads this, or how often people look at it...but like I said, if no one ever reads this....thats cool with me...its good for me to write and think "out loud"...so if you see this, thanks for letting me think out loud...I appreciate it:)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

are you serious?!

Ok...well, I've never thought myself to look extremely OLD for my age...but I never really thought I looked super young either. However, many other people think the latter of the two...

For instance...Meg, Beth and I went to Chicago for Spring Break this year and stayed with Meg's sister in the freshman dorms. Way fun...made me feel old because we were ready to go to sleep by like 10:30 each night and for them, the night was young. However during our stay there, many times people would ask if we were Andrea's "younger" sister's friends....were we in High School...how old are you...etc. You get the picture. There have been other times since then, that I've been told that my friends and I look young but this last situation put me over the edge...

Megan, Darcy and I decided to spend Sunday afternoon at Lake Calhoun...great place...love it! We were laying on the beach when I saw this guy walking around and selectively giving out stickers for this "club"...I didn't ever completely hear what it was, but I knew that he was only giving it to certain people, probably people that were old enough. Next thing I knew, he walked up to us, and told us that this party was going to be awesome and that we should check it out...I took the sticker/flyer with pride and said thanks.

He walked to the group of people laying next to us and said, "You guys aren't under 19 are you?" To which they responded, "No..." "I didn't think so," he replies laughing. I froze for a second trying to reply the 3 sentences that had just been exchanged next to me...what did he say?? I figured he had given us the flyer because we looked old enough to get into a club that was 21 and over...well, after I thought I heard him say "under 19" I knew I must have heard wrong...so I pick up the flyer, look closely, and see that it says, "Ages 16-19 Only"...

ARE YOU SERIOUS? Do I really look like I'm as young as 16 but no older than 19?!!? Oh MAN....needless to say, I couldn't get over the fact that we were given an invitation to something for little teeny boppers and I spent the rest of the day thinking about that. SICK!

People always say, "You'll appreciate your youthful appearance in 10 years"...I sure as heck hope so because right now I'm not appreciating it at all!