A Perfect Match

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I have been teaching for 10 years. Two of them in first grade, one year in second grade and the rest have been spent in kindergarten. While each of the grades have their pro’s and con’s, kindergarten is the perfect match for me.

At the beginning of every year though, I ask myself “Why do I teach kindergarten?!” I feel like pulling out my hair! My kids leave at the end of the year leaving as independent learners and I always forget what it is like when they come in the Fall.

I really don’t wonder why I teach kindergarten. The reasons are so obvious and rewarding.

  1. For some it is their first school experience and there is so much growth to be made
  2. They are excited about learning.
  3. They forgive and forget easily.
  4. They love you even if you have to be firm at times to get the point across.
  5. Using markers is a BIG DEAL!
  6. Smelly markers are even BETTER!
  7. They have the cutest and most innocent misconceptions at times.
  8. They say the darnedest things- example: When talking about things that come in pairs during a math lesson when I first started teaching kindergarten, “Mrs. Mattice, you have two “chestesis” – It took all I had to hold it together and I quickly responded with, “Yes, you are right. I have two shoulders!” 🙂
  9. You are the “best teacher” until they move on to the next grade.
  10. It isn’t uncommon for them to pass gas on the carpet and turn and laugh to a friend. (Let me clarify that I don’t enjoy this part, but it is one of those things that don’t happen in the older grades and students just ignore)
  11. They like to give hugs.
  12. I like to give them hugs.
  13. They call me mom at times and the look of “Oh no!” is just so cute when they realize what they have done.
  14. Some forget that you have to close the door when you go potty and as I turn the corner I see little cheeks that I have to quickly respond with, “uh oh, please close the door!”
  15. They have the ability to make my days seem short or long.
  16. Most importantly, most of them love school and I love being their teacher.

Anything but that…

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Puke. I. HATE. puke. I don’t know anyone who likes or enjoys it. I hate saying the word or even thinking it could be a possibility of not feeling well…

Surprisingly, when I am at school I handle it “ok”. My students tell me their belly hurts and I just ask them to try the bathroom or get a drink if they think they may need one. That it’s. Done. Fini. Usually, they don’t complain about it again or eating lunch helps them feel better.

My own kids is a different story. The minute they say “my tummy hurts”, I start to panic. Oh no! They are going to throw up. I go into instant sick mode myself. I make myself worry over something that could be as simple as just needing to go to the bathroom. Why do I work myself up to the point where I feel sick!?

I have tried to figure out why I react so differently with my kids. It isn’t because I don’t care about my students and if they are sick or not. But the only explanation I can come up with is that I don’t have to clean it up and therefore, my chances are not high of catching it?

Bless my husband. He knows I can’t handle it and will step in immediately. If one of my kids talks about a tummy ache I sleep in my son’s room. HAHA. The only stipulation is that I have to get Kenzie to sleep because if I am home she won’t sleep without me next to her, which I really don’t mind.

I hope to one day overcome my “fear” of throw-up, puke, up-chucking. Whatever it is called. Until then, I will work on my breathing to calm my fears when I hear, “uh oh, Mom. I don’t feel well…”

Things I love

I love the dark. I love watching a movie at night without lights on and snuggling up on the couch with a soft blanket wrapped around me so that just my face is visible. My favorite movies are suspense/horror movies. Although I do have to cover my face during gruesome scenes or when I think I may get jumped by something in the movie.

I love ice cream. Anytime. Anywhere. Breakfast, lunch and dinner! I would love to eat it everyday but try to be cautious about not doing that. I already “pay” for eating so much ice cream while I was pregnant with my two kids. My favorite is peanut butter from a local ice cream shoppe that just opened up for the season. I have already been there twice. Or is it three times?! 🙂

I love my family. I love the vacations that I get with my children by being a teacher. I love the summer months when we can plan a trip to the zoo or water park. I love taking them new places with my husband and watching their excitement. There is really nothing like the joy of watching your children enjoy something so much.

I love fountain Pepsi. Another “no-no” like my ice cream addiction. During a stressful day I find myself saying, “I can’t wait for a big Pepsi!” Although I try to talk myself out of it as I’m driving to the store. Like telling myself “I don’t need it. I should just go home and have water.” But really, there are many things that we don’t “need”.

I love working out. Wait- my mistake. It isn’t the working out that I love. I love how I feel after working out!

Most importantly, I LOVE being a mom and a wife. It is a crazy, busy life; but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

The Friday Night Feeling

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The weeks can be so long. Especially when it is also conference week. I typically look forward to Thursday nights because it means one more wake up before the weekend and family time. I don’t mind if I stay up a little longer or hit snooze on my alarm a couple of times.

There is also something about a Friday night. The feeling of relaxation and the hopes of sleeping in. Although, the 2nd of the two rarely happens with two kids who would rather sleep in during the week and be up early on the weekends. Nevertheless, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have to get out of my pajamas right away!

Last night we made it a “family night”. I had bought my kids new pajamas last weekend and was waiting for them to arrive in the mail. Friday must really be the best day of the week because when we got home from school, the package was waiting for me!

We opened the package together and the shrieks that came from my children was evidence that they loved their new nighttime attire. My daughter kept twirling around saying, “Me wove it Mommy. Tank you!”17492968_10103826541427159_8916935454021150255_o.jpg Only followed by my son who initially kept telling me how much he loved his Yo-Kai jammies and that he was “so excited he could just scream”!

That was only one of the surprises we had planned for him. The other was dinner ordered in from a restaurant of his choice (Texas Roadhouse), and his Dad picking up the new movie “Sing”, which he had wanted to see since it came out on Christmas.

The night was filled with giggles and snuggles- the best way to end a long week and to start a weekend with my wonderful family!

We all know that Monday sneaks up on us way too fast. With that said, I sign off to you, with plans of making memories with my children today. ❤

Heavy Heart

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One of the great things about being a teacher is you get to know your students really well. One of the hardest things about being a teacher is you get to know your students really well…

Every year I have a student (or two), that I wish I could just take home with me. She is like the other students, yet she is different. She comes to school and she works hard. She is polite to her peers and respectful to the adults around her. She shows excitement about being at school and always comes in with a smile on her face, which could put a smile on anyone’s face.

Sometimes she will come in with a breakfast tray and eat at her group table while her peers are unpacking and getting ready for the day. She picks at her food and tells me when she is all done. Some days she will eat what is on her tray and other days she is much more picky. However, it is better than the alternative, which is having no breakfast at all.

At the beginning of the year she was living in the homeless shelter. Coming to school with the bare minimum. I set her up with a food bag program at our school where she gets to take a bag of non-perishable items home once a week. October came around and I sent home forms to chat with her dad and step-mom about how she is doing. My understanding is that she doesn’t have connections with her real mom who lives in the next town over. Ouch.

Dad was a no-show for conferences. In fact, the step-mom called to talk to me instead. Fast forward to this week, conference week, and her dad was another no-show. He was the only one in my class of 20 who did not sign up for a conference time. I was heart-broken. How could someone not pay more attention to the success this child is having in school and how far she has come since the beginning of the year. I wanted to share this news with someone. Mostly her father.

When we have pajama day she will come to school in her jeans and a t-shirt and say, “Mrs. Mattice, I have my pajama’s on”.

“You do, hunny?”

“Yea, I slept in these last night.”

While I pick the pieces of my heart off the floor I say, “those are the best pajamas I have seen! I wish I had some like that.” And at the end of the day I have to send her on the bus to go “home”, wherever that may be now. Really, all I want to do is bring her home and love her like one of my own. ❤

Experiencing Jury Duty

A couple of months ago I got a letter in the mail saying that I had been summoned for Grand Jury duty. Seriously?! I thought.  I have never done this before but have heard from others that it isn’t a pleasant experience. I would much rather spend the day with my 5 and 6 year olds. Somehow the constant phrases of “please get a tissue”, “please don’t poke me”, “please go wash your hands”, “do you have to go potty?” don’t seem so bad right now.

Right now I sit in a quiet court room with about 40 others who are merely strangers to each other. No one says anything. We sit down and wait patiently  (haha, suuuure), for the judge. Slowly, conversation starts to strike among the people sitting around me. Subtle laughs prove to lighten the “mood” that we have about being in this room, not by choice. So we make the best of it.

It was an interesting process. I was not chosen as one of the 23 who need to be present every month and for that I am thankful. I am, however, an alternate, who may be called upon in the absence of another juror. My curiosity has risen about how this process looks and I honestly wouldn’t mind spending a day doing this.

I am thankful for those who work diligently looking over cases and trying to find justice to those who deserve it and by making our world a little safer by providing consequences to those who do not follow the rules. What a privilege we have to be trusted by our country to be part of the judicial process. It wasn’t a long experience for me today, but an experience I won’t forget nonetheless.

Perfect Imperfections

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Too skinny. Too thick. Too old. Too young. Too many wrinkles. Too “white”. Why do women put themselves down so much? Why do we  put each other down? It happens enough with the opposite sex that coming from our own gender is just another put down. Don’t get me wrong, not all men and/or women think this way. But what I do know is that I am one of those women who think, “who is looking at me?”, “what are they thinking?”

I tend to wear clothing that is too big for me because I don’t want to show my imperfections. I have had 2 kids. Not all women who have kids keep their belly. They can go right back to the size they were before pregnancy. (I am jealous of you!) I have stretch marks, and “rolls” that I would love to not have.

Magazines portray women as being these thin things with no blemishes or marks on their body of giving life to another human being.

You will see sometimes, that I have negative feelings towards my image and that they are feelings I can’t avoid or “get over”. One of my slice’s this month was about my daughter and always wanting her to know how beautiful she is. I struggle with image myself and those “hard” days that I have make it difficult to be positive. Not towards her, towards myself.

I should be relishing in the fact that my body was healthy enough to give birth. To provide a safe “womb” for our children. I shouldn’t feel guilty about having that extra cookie or enjoying a fountain Pepsi (which is my favorite by the way)!

So what if I have stretch marks? Who cares that I don’t have a nice tan? Or that I have a little extra around the edges. My body isn’t perfect. But it’s my perfect imperfection. ❤

Back into the Swing of It

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On April 1st of last year I decided to make time for myself to work out. I hadn’t worked out, really worked out since my son was born. Prior to being pregnant I was at the gym every day during the summer. What a great feeling it was to finish the workout and be dripping with sweat. I walked frequently on the treadmill when I was pregnant with Carson, but that was the extent of it.

Last year on April 1st, I decided to start back up again. This time I would be trying a Beachbody program with Shaun T. I chose to do the T25 program. 25 minutes a day seemed like a realistic goal. And what a workout it was. I completed the 3 phase program and was feeling wonderful. School started back up and I slacked off. Back to finding every excuse not to workout.

Here we are, approaching the month of April again and I am kicking myself in the butt. I have started a program on the treadmill for 2 days and even though it isn’t much, it is amazing how good it feels to be back into the swing of it.

Here is to a healthier me!

 

Saying Goodbye

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I have been teaching at the same school for 8 years.  I have made some wonderful friendships.  One of those being a special woman who is retiring this year.

To say that I will miss her is an understatement.  I can’t seem to put my feelings into words.  Tonight,  as I started to think about making the invitations to her retirement party,  I started to cry.  And then the cry became loud,  uncontrollable sobs that I couldn’t wipe away fast enough.

She has been my mom away from home, the peanut to my butter,  the salt to my pepper, you get the point.  🙂

Her and I are the same kind of crazy. Crazy in that we will redo a whole bulletin board if one thing is off center. We critique crafts before we do them and think of what could be hard for the kids and if we could make it easier for them.  And at times, I just look at her and say , “it’s their work.. it’s ok if they didn’t cut right on the lines”. Lol

There aren’t many people I trust to cut things for me because I like them cut a certain way.  So doesn’t she.  And our ways are the same.  I don’t hesitate or cringe when she does cutting for me because I know of I would have a problem with it,  she will to.

In 2 months I have to say goodbye to her. I have to congratulate her on her wonderful career and all of the lives she has touched while being a teacher.  I know she has touched my life and I don’t know what I will do when she is gone.  I wish it was easier to say goodbye.  I wish she would stay.

I am thankful for the chance I had to meet and work with her. For now,  I will work on my speech,  let the tears flow and the memories last a lifetime…

Finding the Right Teammate

slice-of-life_individualI have always wanted to be able to work with someone who would be interested in planning together, sharing ideas and materials, etc. And for the first part of my teaching (I have been teaching for 10 years), I worked with wonderful people. It never seemed to be a “thing” though. To plan together, anyway. They were great at sharing things with me since I was a new teacher. We even had a room that was joined with a door. I loved that!

I relocated two years after I started teaching and was part of a K team with 3 classes. It didn’t seem to be a “thing” to plan together. One was older and retiring soon and she just didn’t seem to be on the same level of interest as I was with what and how we taught. The other was super sweet but also super anxious about a lot of things and liked the known rather than trying new things. She absolutely hated field trips.

After she left, there was another hire and we were down to 2 kindergarten classes. She was really nice and approachable but her class was a terror. It was a daily occurrence that I would hear children screaming in her room and other adults going in to help. It was more than one child and I think the population was a lot different than the school she came from. Reflecting on it, I should have offered her more help academically and with planning but I got the feeling she was more concerned with the behaviors and getting them under control which I couldn’t help much with.

She resigned after one year. I don’t blame her. With that resignation would come ANOTHER hire. I was keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps this could be one that I could work with like I had envisioned always doing. I was 6 months pregnant with Kenzie when I met her. We chatted and I shared my hopes of planning together and being “on the same page”. She seemed excited about the opportunity. Unfortunately, I was leaving for maternity leave in November and would be out for a couple of months. Not my ideal start to collaborating with a partner teacher.

She is still my partner teacher and each year we get better about bouncing ideas off of one another, sharing materials, planning, etc. It’s great to be able to work with someone like that. Someone who has the same passion for teaching and for our kids. She is also the one who talked me into doing this Slice of Life Challenge.

I know she will be reading this, so Jenna, thank you! 🙂