Wednesday, May 9, 2007

What a great day!

I love days like today. I woke up eager to start my day. I didn't drag because I was feeling overwhemed. I just wanted to go to school. I have 8th graders that started their final project for my class - a culminating activity that involves 25 projects that ties all they have learned from me this semester into a pretty little package. I can't believe we are down to 12 instructional days left! It feels like the year has flown by. I taught my 7th graders how to do some cool Word Art and my 6th graders are learning where the symbols are on the keyboard and it was a good day. I got to talk to some students. I asked my 2nd period 7th graders what they like and don't like about English and Social Studies. They had tons to say and nothing that was a surprise. They asked why I wanted to know and I told them I was thinking about teaching those things next year. I almost cried at the response I got! If there were kids against it, they were wonderfully quiet. The ones that were vocal were most encouraging. The best compliment of all was, "You HAVE to do it, Mrs. Crofut. You could make it so English isn't BORING!" I hate that they think English is boring. I didn't have it in me to ask the 6th period class of 7th graders. I liked getting the positive strokes and those kids are not always so positive.

Driving home tonight, I took stock in my life. First and foremost, I am coming up on my fourth wedding anniversary. I was blessed to have the opportunity to marry my high school sweetheart many years later. He is the love of my life and the best supporter I could ever have. I have three wonderful sons and all are doing well. Tony is struggling a bit with what he wants to do and that causes me some concern, but all in all they are great kids. My divorce from their dad was terrible for all of us and I never thought I would again see the day that all of them would be living under my roof and all was well with the world. I have the best job in the world. I get to go and interact with incredible young minds every day. Are my students the smartest in the world? I guess that depends on how you describe smart. Many of them struggle with grades and acedemia in general, but they know things I don't know. Some of these kids have challenges I have barely imagined and they manage to show up every day. I admire them and just want to be there for them in any way I can. I love what I teach and would love the new job, if I get the opportunity. Either way, my career is wonderful.

What more could a girl want? Don't you love the days that the good so far outweighs any bad? Maybe I am feeling good enough to try my hand at poetry. It is not a strong skill of mine, but one I need to practice! Maybe a short, fiction story? I have spent so much time with technical writing, I will love spreading my wings a bit!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Need to Relax!

I have everything turned in for my Master's and I walk the stage on Saturday. I now have to finish prepping lessons for the last couple of weeks of school, get everything ready for May Madness, study for my National Board Certification test, and study for the history Praxis exam. I always feel like I have so much going on. And I do that to myself. I would like to slow the pace a bit, but I think I probably do my best when my hair is on fire!

I have been reading the 8th grade history book, studying for the Praxis and I keep getting excited and thinking of how I want to teach it. The first chapter is about maps and geography and my brain is all over Google Earth. I put in my application for this job today. It closes on the 18th. I don't even have an interview yet, much less the job, and yet I sit here planning lessons. So how crushed will I be if I don't get the job? That worries me a bit. Worst case scenario, I keep the job I have now, which I also love. But I love the idea of a new challenge. I can see history being done in groups with a wiki in use. I would HAVE to use blogs in my English class. (Wonder how much I can steal from Geoff?) I want to find ways to incorporate technology as fully as possible in English and History.

Then there is my National Boards. I still have the written exam to take. I need to study some standards and write the practice questions. I feel pretty good about my technical writing skills, but this counts for 40% of the score. If I don't pass this year, I will have to do parts of it again next year. I am sure I can pull that off in an English class. If I pass, I will be Nationally Board Certified in Career and Technical Education. Possibly teaching English and history. Does that make sense? I can still justify that with the fact that I will still be using technology, but is that good enough?

Confusion...I seem to be fully immersed! Oh, and to top it off I made the decision to change from doing my doctorate in Adult and Higher Education and instead go for my Ed. D. in Educational Adminstration. I think this is more applicable with what I want to do, but there is one catch. I do NOT want to be a principal. I don't think I have what it takes! What if I lose my mind and decide to try THAT in a couple of years. It makes my brain spin!

Okay....I need to relax. I need to focus on graduation and enjoy the moment! This has been a long and difficult road. I am feeling pretty proud of myself. Oh, there are things I wish I would have done better, but I managed to get through my Master's while teaching six classes a day - three different preps - teaching adults one night a week, being a small group leader for Confirmation at church, having a husband and three sons at home requiring my attention, not to mention at school I am on BLT, am the building technology leader, on BIC, in charge of the Junior Achievement program and May Madness, etc. Yes, I am proud of all of that, too. Do I have too much on my plate? Yes. Do I sometimes not do everything 100% because of that? Again, yes. But very little really suffered. I did okay. And I think it is okay that I am so pleased with being on this side of the year!

Okay, now I am justifying being proud of myself. I really do need to relax! And study history and study standards and do May Madness and.... You wouldn't think I have time to over-analyze my life! Chapter Two ~ The First Americans.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Lost my mind???

Oh my! It seems we are going to have an opening in 8th grade for someone to teach four periods of English and one of US History. And I am applying! Ten years I have been a computer teacher - eight of them in my middle school and I am going to jump off the cliff and switch subjects. Why, you may ask? Well, if the truth were to be told - besides, the fact that I love both English and history - I have been banging my head against a wall trying to get more teachers to integrate technology in thier classrooms. What better way than to lead by example? The classroom I would move into IF I get the job, has 25 computers and a Promethian board. The technology is readily available and I could still teach that. I am completely excited about teaching my students about blogging and Geoff S. has shown me just how awesome that is for an English class. And I can already see my students working on a class wiki about history. I get all bubbly inside just thinking about it. But then there are the fears. Can I really teach writing to 8th graders? I have become a better writer in the last few years, but am I good enough to teach them. I never want to shortchange my students. I believe I am a good teacher. I know I care about my students and want to make them lifelong learners. I believe English and writing are important, lifelong skills. I know the mechanics. But is all of that enough? And history? I have never taught history before. I am not certified for it and will be taking the Praxis for it in June. Somehow I have less fear about this one. I have seen too many bad and boring history teachers. I love history! And I think it is critical for students to know how government works! And I think there are so many ways to teach it and make it exciting.

Then there is the fear that I am going to get all excited and not get the job. There are obviously going to be more qualified teachers of these subject matters than I am. But there is no one more qualified to integrate technology into this curriculum. And no one more excited for this change. Worst case scenario...I don't get the job and I stay in my class that I still love. I guess it isn't a complete risk to put myself out there. Sure, I could lose a month studying history for the exam and then not get the job, but I love history, so that really isn't much of an inconvenience.

The posting will go up next week and I will put my name in. I am pretty sure I will be granted an interview, so I have a good week or two to get myself ready for that. Guess I will have to do some talking to bring myself up to speed. Hey, I am always up to a challenge!

One last thought....I will have my Master's degree in a week in Technology for Education and Training. I have worked all year towards National Certification in Career and Technology. Do I really want to leave the department I am in or will all of these things just make me better in another curriculum?