The Winds of Winter (SOL Day 3)

Has Mother Nature realized yet that it is March? I went out tonight for ice cream (a little ridiculous, considering what I’m writing about), and it was 7 degrees outside. We were briefly in jeopardy of a snow day today, but after a couple of inches yesterday morning, nothing else happened. While snow days are fun – sitting around drinking coffee, reading, and knitting – I’m ready for spring.

I’m ready for warmer weather. I’m ready for 50 degrees, driving with my windows down, and hiking through the woods. Spring break is only three weeks away, but sometimes it seems so far. I know that after that, the last two months of school will fly by and I will no longer be considered a first year teacher.

One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer, as I mentioned earlier, is hiking. Last year, Scott and I went to Gatlinburg in March, and it was fantastic. There was a little snow on the mountaintops, but overall the weather was perfect.

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Looking at some of these old pictures, I can’t wait until I won’t freeze every time I go outside, when I have to debate weather or not to wear a jacket. It’s not as far as it seems, but it’s just out reach right now that it feels too far.

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Semi-Lazy Sunday (SOL Day 2)

Sundays are days that I love and hate. I love it when I have the day stretched before me, as I’m sipping coffee and relaxing in the morning. Then about 5 o’clock hits, and I realize that I haven’t done nearly as much as I wanted to. I always plan to do so much, but I need to let myself be okay with not always being productive on Sundays. I can spend some time binge-watching t.v. shows and knitting, without feeling guilty.

Today I did start out doing some school work, creating some guided notes for this week, and I graded one of the two sets of essays I had to do before tomorrow. I still have one class of essays left to grade, but I know I’ll get it done before tomorrow.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that fellow teachers gave me when I started this year was to use my weekends for myself. While I try to hold myself to this, I never feel like I can go the full weekend without a little schoolwork. It’s just in my nature.

So here’s to Sunday, one of the best days of the week, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. After my grading, I plan on watching the Oscars and letting myself relax a little. Or at least as much as I can.

First Day, First Slice for Slice of Life 2014!

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As I begin this post, I still feel unsure of what to write, but according to the Slice of Life Challenge that I’m starting, it doesn’t really matter. It only matters that I am writing. When I started this blog back in July, I planned on using it as a way to reflect on my first year of teaching. Life got in the way, and I ended up doing nothing with it except for posting a few pictures of my classroom before the first day of school. Fast forward six months, and I have now learned more about teaching than I ever thought I could, and I continue to learn more each day.

So I will begin again today, with the Slice of Life challenge. All of my posts might not necessarily be related to classroom reflections, but since teaching is such a huge part of my life, many will be. I’ll use today as an “introductory” post, since writing about yourself is supposed to be one of the easiest things to do.

Hi, my name is Rachel. I teach 8th grade Language Arts in Dublin, Ohio. As a first year teacher, it is both incredibly exhausting and thrilling. (I consciously chose not to use the word “rewarding,” because it is so overused. But teaching is so rewarding. There’s a reason that descriptor is used so much.) In my free time I enjoy hiking, writing (which I never do enough of), reading, and knitting. I also have an unhealthy relationship with coffee, but I’m okay with that.

In the past I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), which challenges participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during November. I’ve participated for the past five years, but only “won” (written 50,000 words) twice. Last year I got up to about 30,000 words, but didn’t manage to finish. So when I was told about the Slice of Life month-long challenge by my friend and fellow teacher, Gretchen, I was immediately on board. I could post a blog everyday for a month. It doesn’t even have to be long. That’s nothing compared to 2000 words a day during NaNoWriMo, right?

But this is different. Writing for NaNoWriMo, I can write whatever I want and never have to show it to anyone. It’s a great writing practice, but I can keep everything to myself. With this challenge, I know there is a possibility that others will be reading my writing, so it adds something to the challenge. I have to write something worth reading. And maybe it won’t always feel this way, especially when I get farther into the month, but I’m not used to writing for an audience beyond my students.

I’m excited to get started on this project, and I hope to see it through all the way to the end of March. I have a tendency to start things and never finish them, but I’m going to hold myself to this challenge. Let the wild writing begin!

Prepping for the First Day

It’s almost here! The first day of school is tomorrow, and I could not be more excited to finally get to meet all of my students. My agenda is set, copies are made, and get-to-know-you activities are planned. I’m hoping to have a smooth day tomorrow, but I also know that I need to roll with the punches, and teaching can be unpredictable. The best thing I can do is communicate my expectations to my students for this year, and also make sure that I am modeling that positive behavior and attitude.

I have prepped my classroom to be a warm and inviting environment, and here is what awaits 120 8th graders tomorrow!

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Welcome!

Hello! Welcome to my blog!

As a new Language Arts teacher at Sells Middle School, I am happy to share with you my experiences in the classroom! I look forward to posting about teaching ideas, collaboration, and many other topics that affect education today.

Since school hasn’t started yet (though it is coming quickly!), I am mostly getting myself prepared for beginning this year. I was able to see the bones of my classroom earlier this week, and I am incredibly excited to start making it a welcome environment for all of my students. I have a few ideas brewing on ways to make that happen, and I will be sure to post some things once I start spending more time there!

Check back later for more about my progress once it gets closer to mid-August!