Monday, May 14, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother's Day Bacon...

Oh how I love my job!  No, seriously...I truly, without a doubt, LOVE.MY.JOB!!!  Where else do you get surrounded by hugs...a plethora of hugs...good morning hugs, "anytime" hugs, I'm scared hugs, I'm happy hugs, all sorts of hugs.  I love it!  My students are particularly wonderful.  They are cuddle bunnies and quite frankly, I adore it.  Every day is started off with a Good Morning hug from "A".  He says, "Ms. Eklund, I have to start my day this way...a hug for my mom at home and a hug for you at school.  I love you both SO much." don't get THAT sitting in a cubicle. ;)

Teacher Appreciation Week was filled with amazing things from our PTO - we were truly spoiled at my site.  Food every day, notes in our mailboxes, notes home reminding our students to love on us too; it was quite something.  I was reminded how very fortunate I am to work at a school with such an amazing parent population.  Additionally - my students were wonderful.  I got roses from a couple of students, a solar powered gerber daisy from another.  I even got flowers from the parents of a former student and just today I received a lollipop wrapped in plain white paper! darn adorable and I am humbled by their love and appreciation.  In addition to all these wonderful things...I got bacon.  Yes...bacon.  "J" approached me today at the door with a piece of "crunchy bacon" wrapped in a paper towel.  Her eyes wide with excitement as she informed me that she had saved me a piece of bacon from Mother's Day brunch yesterday, because she just "knew" that I LOOOOOOVED bacon.  :)  "Plus, it's extra crunchy, don't you just LOVE extra crunchy bacon?  I know that I do and that you would too.  I asked Mom if I could take a piece and give it to you today so that we could share it at lunch."  How could I possibly say no??  (as a disclaimer, I did NOT eat the bacon at is still sitting here in a little baggie on my desk)

This is the time of year, probably more so than any other time, that I am truly humbled by my job.  My kiddos have worked really hard all year long...really hard.  They've learned so much, not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.  They are so different from when they first walked in the door.  They have grown physically as well...their toothless grins just one representative of those changes.  Their parents and guardians have entrusted me with their development...and I reflect each year on how well I did as their teacher.  Did I do enough?  Did I teach them everything I could, regardless of state or national standard?  Did I do everything I could to give them every available learning opportunity?  Are they leaving my classroom better "people" than when they entered?  My goal each year is to answer "yes" to all of those questions; to ensure that I went above and beyond as much as I could to guarantee they received the best education possible.  Oh how I deeply love my job and my firsties...I am going to miss their little faces next year.

I guess what I'm feeling can be summed up by what "J" said to me this morning, "Ms. Eklund, I know you're not a mommy, but you are kind of our mommy, right?  You love us just like our mommies do."

Yep, honey - you're right. :)  You are all my little wee ones and I certainly do love you...more than you know.


Sunday, May 6, 2012


I know it's not a real word, but I think it should be one.  I think it pretty accurately reflects my life right now.  When you start teaching, no one really tells you what all the teaching profession entails.  You think, naively, that you will get your degree, interview for a job, get the job and then one day get your first classroom.  You will stand in front of that class and teach from these amazingly interactive and fun lesson plans you've prepared.  Your students will hopefully "get" it...they will learn and grow and you will send them on their merry way to the next grade level.  What no one tells you, is that along with teaching you will develop a desire to ensure that each student has the most amazing school experience they can have...which means you will spend long hours organizing family movie nights, creating the yearbook, being a Bingo caller, organizing the talent show and so much more.  All of this to ensure your school and these students you love and care for are given the best possible school experience.  What no one ever tells you, is that for the last few weeks of 4th quarter you will be so busy during the school week that you can't even see straight!  So - hecticity is my new word and it means, "the state, quality or an instance of being hectic."

It also means I have been too busy to keep up on this expect postings to increase as I get you caught up on the first grade follies of the past couple of months.  From my daily morning hugs and I love you's from one particular student, to the deep seated anger of another.  It has been a busy couple of months in my classroom both academically and emotionally.  The tender hearts of my firsties have been in full view.  

Firefighters and chickens....from the week of March 2nd

Today was, in a word, HILARIOUS!  First off, let me say that I love Read Across America Week - it's done in conjunction with Dr. Seuss' birthday and it is truly one of my favorite times of the year as a teacher.  Students love to read and they get absolutely immersed in reading.  As a first grade teacher, I get to watch their love of reading blossom and grow as by this time every year, first graders are beginning to read more fluently and voraciously.  Picking up a Dr. Seuss book is pure heaven to them, due to his wildly vivid imagination and use of rhyming techniques.  Anyway - each year we end up having the firefighters from the local station, Fire Engine 12, come to be "celebrity" readers.  It's always so much fun and this year was no different.  Today Captain Phillips came - imagine a 5'9-10", stocky, muscle-bound, slightly grey-haired man walking through the door.  The kids turn around and see him in his uniform, carrying his radio and they're thrilled.  Let the squealing begin!

I introduce him and he begins to talk about what he does for a living - that firefighters do more than just put out fires, they are paramedics (big first grade word there - had to describe that one) too and etc.  He ended up reading a book he admitted he'd never read before, Dr. Seuss' "And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street".  The kids were transfixed and although Captain Phillips didn't realize he was doing it, he was using his "tracking finger" to keep track of his place in the book as he read.  If you're a primary grade teacher - you know exactly what I'm talking about...using your index finger to follow along under the words as you read them.  Anyway - he read the book - did a fabulous job - and did his obligatory "stay in school, work hard, learn to read, listen to your teacher and your parents" talk and then the "fun" happened.  The students started to ask him about his job.  One of the first questions was, "Sir, do you have any emergencies to solve??"  His response?  A quizzical look to me and a quick, "Police solve crimes, we help people get out of their houses when it's on fire, or when someone needs medical help."  Then he asked students about their plan to escape their house in the event of a fire, one girl replies, "Yea - GET OUT!!"  To which my student teacher and I looked quickly away from each other so we wouldn't burst into fits of laughter.  Each comment was perfectly timed and the adult reaction to their sweet, innocent comments was priceless.  It was truly a wonderful, wonderful day in first grade.  

After the firefighter's visit...we went to take a look at their fire truck.  It was a true treat when they opened up the doors and let us peer into their equipment and ask more and more questions.  Another huge hit?  When they got out the heat seeking scope and let my students look through it at each other.  "Ms. Eklund - you're GLOWING!"  It was awesome and my firsties were truly captivated.  I knew I had a class of budding firefighters after this visit.  A huge thanks to Fire Engine 12 for coming and thrilling my students.

Now - you're probably wondering about the "chickens"...and if you're a friend of mine on Facebook, then you'll have already read this story...but let me tell's a gem.  

From March 1st...Keep in mind while reading this the idea is not to totally traumatize the kidod as he makes the connection about where our food comes from. ;)  

The school served baked chicken today for lunch which spurred the following conversation. "So, Ms. mean that chickens come from, well...chickens?? Like real chickens?" (Yes, "A", chickens come from real chickens.) "No, I mean really - Ms. Eklund, they come from actual live chickens?" (Yes, honey, actual live chickens.) "They kill them first, right?" (Yes, they kill them first.) "How do they kill them? (Honey, it depends.) "Does it hurt them?" (No, I don't think so, but maybe.) "Do they step on their necks? Is that what they do?" [he makes a squishing sound as he grinds his foot into the ground] " Oh yea - they wouldn't step on their necks - that would get the chickens all dirty." lol You HAVE to love my firsties!!  The thought process that went into this line of questioning was amazing.  I don't think he'll be eating chicken any time soon.