Posts from the ‘children’ Category

The hardest things

So there’s this boy in one of my middle school classes. Pretty decent musician. Which means he’s somewhat of a behavior problem. Because that’s the way it always is. Anyway, he was complaining because his part in the piece we’re playing is “boring”. I said, that’s funny since you chose that part. And he said, yeah, because it was easy.

And so I said, yeah, well the most significant things I’ve done in my life, the stuff I remember and am proud of, have always been the hardest things.

Teaching where I teach is truly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every day I learn something new about myself and about my students, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It’s like my job is bi polar.

Yesterday, a particularly difficult second grader had a wonderful day in music. Usually we give them school PBIS bucks to save towards a reward, but when I offered him one, he asked if I could have lunch with him instead. He didn’t want a thing, he wanted time. With me. How could I not go? So I didn’t do the photocopies, or my lesson plans. I just spent some time with him at his cafeteria table. And talked about how we both like jalapeños. He asked how his sister was doing in music. Fine, I told him. When I saw his mother later at conferences, she said it was all he could talk about that day.

And then I have a day like I had today. Not the worst day. But not awesome either. Mostly management. Not enough music. Pretty sure one of my students was making fun of me for half of the class, trying to derail my teaching. Luckily drumming is too cool and won out. I hear myself teaching and I don’t recognize my voice. I sound frustrated. I sound tired. In the teacher’s lounge, we all say the same things. Don’t take it personally, while we do the exact opposite, trying to figure out what we could have done differently.

And so I’ll go to school tomorrow, and it will probably be better. I need to listen to my own words.

The hardest things we do are the most significant.

Babybels wear pajamas

So yesterday the boy and I went to Costco and bought some of those babybel cheeses. As he is taking off the waxy part he says, “Mama, it’s like the cheese is wearing red pajamas!”

There are so many blog posts that I’ve had in my head, unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to writing them down. So I’m kind of going backwards.

Earlier this week, the girl decided to attach her homework together with spray cheese. Yep. Needless to say that was a redo.

On Thursday, I had a complete freak out before class. The poor librarian must have thought I was insane. I’m doing an Orff unit with the middle schoolers (that i plan to write about later) and there were no mallets in my class room. Couldn’t find them anywhere. And since I had just read what happened to Sophanne, I feared the worst. The class coming to music that day was the group I was a little worried about in terms of buy in and to not be prepared is asking for trouble. As it turned out, one of those students saved the day. The day before, if you’ve been following Colorado weather, it dumped snow and many of our teachers were stuck, including one of my teammates. When this happens, we often double up the classes in my room and have a movie fest. 60 kindergartners at once. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Anyway, I had asked one of my choir students to help clean up the room before they came and put away anything that she thought would be distracting. Thankfully, she was in that class coming down the hall, saw my distress and quickly showed me where she had hidden the mallets. I ❤ my students. Heh.

Over break, I actually knit! Ear flap hat and mittens for my friend and soon to be sister in law, 1940s watch cap for my brother and mittens for my nephew, the most happiest toddler.

Can't find any pictures so I'll leave you with a cool sunrise shot I got the other morning in the way to school.

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Christmas 2011

Dear family and friends,

Once again, I did not come even close to getting cards out this year.

Struggling to find that balance between work, school, extra curriculars and family, I count myself lucky to have such problems. 🙂

I have a job that I love, as hard as it is somedays. This year, in addition to teaching general music, I am the district middle school choir director. As weird as it sounds, I had forgotten that I like choral music and this has been a wonderful opportunity to rekindle that. John’s been an amazing help with the new schedule. Did I mention that the choir is at 7 am? He juggled his work schedule so he can take the kids to daycare in the morning. Love that guy.

Both kids are in school! The boy is loving kindergarten. If you ask him what he’s learned this year he will tell you, I am very good at being quiet. Heh. It amazes me how fast they grow once they start school. He’s reading now. He doesn’t love that as much as his sister, but I bet that will come with time. The girl is a third grader, 9 going on 35 somedays. She reads all the time now, even holing up in the bathroom sometimes. (Mom, Dad, sound like anybody you know?). She is such a hybrid between John and I. It’s so strange seeing yourself in your children. It’s like they are a fun house mirror of who they are and what we’d like them to be.

The girl is still in Children’s Chorale. It is very weird being the mom waiting in line at drop off. I think I’ve been in all the roles now. Singer, grad, assisstant, and now mom. It’s so cool to see her up on stage at Boettcher Hall. The boy spends most of his afternoons playing with the cousins and the neighbors. Again, we are fortunate for the kids to have such wonderful playmates!

And if 2011 has been anything, it’s been a year for family. I often tell my children how wonderful it is that they have gotten to spend so much time with their cousins, but truthfully, its been wonderful for me too. I love having my sister and her family nearby. We are a weirdly wacky bunch and I will miss them when they move back south.

We’ve been preparing for Christmas round our house. We’ve got Christmas lights up, half of which quit working after the first freeze, but amusingly enough, the light tree dad built twenty years ago is still going strong. The kids have been to their grandparents to make cookies with them and their cousin. My sister has made probably two batches fudge and I don’t know how many cookies. With everyone else making cookies I made a lot of Sprucehill’s pumpkin gingerbread and some homemade limoncello. We may or may not have tasted it this morning. At 9 am. After making apple fritters. Heh.

Anyway, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Love, Nicole

PS. Did you know you can follow Santa on google maps? Crazy world we live in!

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Cards

Me and the kids are hanging out and making cards for their teachers. They are reminding me that my handwriting does not pass kindergarten muster. The boy is objecting to the Christmas wish story on the John Denver and the muppets album. It’s just talking, Mom. Where’s the singing? Oh. There. Most happiest nephew is cracking me up, because he wants to color with the big kids but can’t get around the table. So each time he needs a new color, he ducks under the table, and grabs another crayon from the box, emerging victorious on the other side. From a teacher’s perspective, handmade cards are my favorite gift from students. And hugs. And the occasional Starbucks card. Heh. But mostly the other kind of cards. I have a notebook filled with letters students have written me over the years. If they only knew how much those mean to me. Especially on days where I don’t feel like the most awesome teacher on the planet. So the kids are writing their teachers. In between marker wars.

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Picture day 2011

Miss? Why are your lips blue? Are you ok?

Um. That would be makeup. But thanks for asking.

So I’ve started to have the kids sign out when they use the restroom. Don’t judge. I need to know where they are. 🙂

I checked the log today and saw (names changed)

Jim. 9/27/11
Bob. Poop

I love teaching! Where else would this stuff happen?!

Snapshots

Well let’s see.  There was swimming.

Check out those goggles!

 

Diving.

 

She may never forgive me for posting this one. Heh.

Skateboarding.

Skateboarding girl spent the week at the cabin with her grandparents.  Supercute niece says, “Aunt Nicole?  When is she coming back from the cabinet?”  Love.

Dancing.

So Most Cheerful Toddler wakes me up every morning.  In a myriad of ways.  Today, I hear him toddle in the room, exclaim “Cole!” and handed me a Diet Coke.  Another morning he brought me the TV remote.  Both days were much more pleasant than the day he woke me up with the fly swatter.

They all start school next week.  (Except Most Cheerful Toddler.)  And so do I.  Must.  Go.  Plan.  Now.

Minnows, Trout and Stingrays

So the kids started swimming lessons this week.  Every summer we sign them up for a session and they get a couple kicks closer to actually being able to swim.  The girl has really hit her stride this year, overcoming her fear of the diving board and become a swimmer.  This is the same kid that spent 3 years in the Minnow class (level 2).  (I probably jumped off the diving board only as many times as necessary in order to pass my swimming class.)

And speaking of proud.  And Minnows.  The boy was supposed to be in the Minnow class this summer and I someone mistakenly signed him up for the Trouts.  He was so scared.  It is with a strange mixture of pride and remorse that I watched my youngest in the Trout class these last two days.  Between momentary sobs and shaking with fear, he did everything the instructor asked him to do.  And lest you think me the meanest mother ever, I did pull him from the class and enroll him in the correct level.  I talked to his instructor and we agreed he could probably push through and stay in the Trout class but he might benefit more from gaining some confidence back with the Minnows.  Don’t want him hating to swim.  I did tell him though, through towel wrapped hugs, how proud I was of him.  It is an amazingly brave thing to be that afraid of something and do it anyway.

To look into the deep, close your eyes, hold your breath, and let the water close over your head.

So, so proud of my kids today.  🙂