Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lesson Learned

While leading a class discussion with my 3rd graders the other day on proper computer use I was taking suggestions.

"We don't listen to music on the computers." "We don't log onto youtube." "We stay on the website we are supposed to." "We don't look at other's computers." "We keep our headphones on." "We try our best."

and it went on and on and on...

Then I called on Alexis.  Little, sweet, loving Alexis. Who has a lisp. 

Mrs. HOW-ward, we don't get on google and look at pithures of naked people, white?  
My bruther does tha-at 

oh dear. No Alexis, we never get on Google with out permission. Sorry I asked. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Jerome

Dear Jerome,

You have stretched me more as a teacher, than any student in the last two years.  You can make me feel angrier, happier, and prouder faster then I ever knew possible.  You came bursting into my classroom on the second week of school and reaped havoc on my stable classroom environment.  You refused to work, refused to stay in the classroom, refused to follow any rules. You stood up to other teachers, the principal, and everyone in the office. Several teachers pegged you as a gang kid. 

I didn't listen to any of them.  I saw your insecurity, your low confidence, your newness.  I didn't know what to do, you challenged me.  We talked endlessly in the hall, drew pictures of what you were mad about, and slowly, slowly broke down some of your frustrating walls. 

At the end of the first month of school, I was beat. I asked everyone who would listen how to reach you.  I want more for you then for you to stay in my room. I want to you learn.  I want you to read independently,  I want you to feel confident in math.   After countless incidences with other teachers in the building, I crouched down, looked you straight in the face and told you that I would not ever give up on you.  I meant it.

Something changed that day, although I didn't know it yet.  It took a week more of you trying my patience, seeing if I would hold true to what I told you.  I would count to ten and join you in the hall, I honestly told you your options over and over when I felt like yelling. I let you lay on the floor when I felt like forcing you to stand and talk.  I gave you space, respect, and stability. I gave you a snack to take home for dinner. 

Last week you joined my team. You told me. For the first time you kept your word. A glorious 6 days have past and not once have you failed to turn in your homework, or run around my room, or yell out while I was teaching.  You make me smile when you give me the 24th hug of the day or when you wear around an "I love Mrs. Howard" post-it on your shirt.  Your laugh is so contagious.  You sharpen pencils for me. You pass out germ-x before lunch and hold my hand in line. 

I can't wait to see what the rest of the school year holds for you.  I'm so proud of how far you've come.  I tell you every evening when you leave that tomorrow can be the best day of your life. and I believe it.
Mrs. Howard


This photo (taken 6ish years ago) is of my dad's family.  From the left you have Aunt Terry, Dad, Meme, Poppy, Aunt Peggy, and Aunt Diana.  This is the way the usually look.  We are missing one brother from this picture, but considering I've only met him 3 times in my life, I consider this picture to be pretty complete.

So Meme... I guess she was called Me-Ma until I came along..I (in all my baby cuteness) decided she was mine. I would say the phrase "me  Me-Ma."  Eventually I dropped the end syllable, and it stuck. 

Meme is, how should I say it, senile.  She loves to tell me the same stories.  I laugh each time. She also can't hear so great anymore, so I have to yell in order for her to hear me.  She just laughs when she can't hear the story, so I'm never sure if she thinks I'm funny, or she didn't hear me.

She also hates help, but needs it. Help going up steps, or getting up from church. One time in a wheelchair, from a surgery, Poppy forgot he was 'driving her' and let her slide alone on the ice. I think it had an effect on her...

She is a terrible cook, but loves to fix us dinner. I always say she is my 'box' grandma. My favorite foods at her house are powered doughnuts, pre-made sausage, and pickled beets.

She made me a tea towel once, in my wedding colors. She was so excited and asked me over and over if I noticed something different about it.  I was thinking..ummm you stitched the angel with blue hair and brown wings??? When she pointed out they were my wedding colors, she was so proud of herself.

She cried at my wedding the moment she realized she was walking down the aisle to "Cross my heart" by George Strait. She was the reason I picked the song, she LOVES the guy.

She loves to tease my Poppy about his many other girlfriends at church.  I tell her to put a pocket camera in his shirt so she can keep an eye on what he's doing.

Meme loves Trevor. Whenever we were dating and I would tell her I was coming for a visit, she always would ask me if he was coming before committing to being home.

Anytime I call their house, Poppy always gets Meme on the phone before I can continue my conversation. She loves to listen and know lots of family news so she can pass it on. She always tells me around 4 times that she loves me before I can hang up.

When I was little she assumed I loved Tweety Bird because my cousin, around my age liked him.

She had surgery today to tie up her bladder... she came through with the grace she handles every life situation..laughing and surrounded by those who love her.

Meme, I know you said you only wanted to make it to 80...but you're at 82 now and I'm thankful for those two years, and the ones to come. 

(Meme in Pink)

Friday, September 17, 2010

You're too white for that...

Having a class that is primarily not Caucasian kiddos, I get told a lot that I'm too white for things.  


Things like that. They aren't being rude, just honest. I am too white. :) 

But until yesterday, I didn't know I was too white for Ranch Dressing.

We all had our veggie snack with ranch and a few minutes later, I noticed that all my dears had white residue on their chins, cheeks, around the corners of their lips.  I heard a couple of them asking each other if they had it/got it off. I mentioned that I didn't think I'd ever got ranch on my face.  Then one of my students raised their hand, "Mrs. Howard your face is to white to show ranch dressing.'  


you know what. I think she was onto something.  I felt dumb for not realizing this before. 

then... she sealed the deal. "Mrs. Howard, I bet you've had ketchup on your face before.... (thinking to myself...yes) but ketchup doesn't show on my face."

So, I'll stick to ranch....cause I'm white enough for it :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

band-aids make everything better

So two side notes.
1.  I think I broke my pinky
2. People who I talk to regularly know the frustration I go through with on a hourly basis with Jerome

So my third graders LOVE band-aids.  They really do fix EVERYTHING. 

so today, I asked one of my students to hand me his skateboard he was playing with. Without meaning to, he smacked the skateboard into my hand, namely my palm near my pinky.  And without meaning to, I flinched and said 'ouch!!'  So my kids asked what was wrong... and I told them my pinky was hurt.  So I started to continue on with the lesson.  Jerome, who has been sitting quietly *SHOCKER* at this point, gets up from his desk, chooses the smallest band-aid from our box, and comes over to put it on my hand.  He takes my hand and turns it over, and asks where it hurts.  I showed him my swollen pinky, and he placed the band-aid on and asked if it was better.  :)  I told him it was a lot better and thank you.  It just goes to show that even when I'm at my wits-end with him, he has a good heart.  A band-aid healed... my faith in him. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010


So this year I have the challenge. The challenge that makes the teaching stat about teachers not making it more than 3 years...yeah..he authored it. 

So besides my minute by minute documentation, frequent phone calls, and trying every strategy known to me, and the other teachers around me. He continues to try me as a teacher. Yet, I love the kid. Weird huh?

So as much as I'm frustrated..and to the point of getting prego JUST so I can have a few weeks off, (KIDDING)  I am so thankful I am teaching at HP.

Office write-up 1: Principal talk, called mom, came back and talked to me with the Principal
Office write-up 2: Call and note home to mom, out of class for the rest of the day
Office write-up 3: Mom called in, picked him up gathered work and suspended tomorrow.

I love discipline that gets progressively worse! Thank you Mrs. Dr. C!

Your ever-faithful 3rd grade teacher, 
Mrs. H

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good things about this week

1. it's already wednesday
2. i get to see a Bluejays game on Friday and maybe some of my GUES friends!
3. it's already wednesday
4. my defiant student has only been in the office one day
5. the parent that came and stayed ALL day, was actually helpful
6. i still am very thankful for my principal and HP staff
7. i have a fridge full of diet dp at work
8. this Sunday I'm going to missouri for a 12 year old birthday party x3
9. i just ate chinese take-out
10. i'm at home with my husband for the first night this week
11. i am healthy
12. it's already wednesday
13. next week i have a 3 day week
14. the how's are going to the borch's tomorrow!
15. i'm not too far behind on grading
16. i have a good family
17. my puppies haven't been going inside much lately
18. my dishes and laundry are caught up
19. i got to talk to my grandparents today...who are SO funny
20. i have a job