Monday, September 1, 2014

True Calling

   I have been a full fledged, certified, special education teacher since 1983! Please don't do the math, lets just say I was five when I graduated from college! So, explain to me, why after all these years and after only finishing summer school a couple of weeks ago, I am nervous to go back to school tomorrow! This is ridiculous! I am fortunate enough to have the exact same students that I had last year. They are awesome! They know what to do, and when to do it! They amaze me each and every day! It's the kids who keep me on track, not the other way around! If I slip up, my kids let me know it! So, tell me why then am I nervous for the first day of school? My students got my back!
   I think as teachers, we are very harsh critics of ourselves. I can tell you that over the past year the kids in my classroom have become a family. My kids look out for each other. They help each other. They make me proud and humbled every day. I'd be lying if I said we never had our ups and downs but from each experience good or not so good we grew, and learned from it. So, I guess I am nervous just like I am when my own children start school. I want the very best for them. I also want to do my very best for them.  It is my job to guide them into bringing  out their very best. If my students can't do the task one way, then it's my job to reflect, think of each student's learning style, think about each student's strength and weaknesses and come up with a new strategy. Every student is different, but every student can learn. Like all of my colleagues, I want to meet the needs of each and every one of my students. I have met my true calling and I want to help shape our future one student at a time.So, in honor of all my colleagues who will be losing sleep tonight, this video is for you from We have taken the challenge to follow our true calling and tomorrow will be the first day of an amazing school year! 

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Children's Book Review:

     Tonight's book review is a classic, Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.  This is a fun first novel. Mr. Popper has the daunting task of feeding and taking care of his family plus twelve additional penguins! What's a man to do? Keep in mind the book was originally written in 1938 which only adds to it's character. My daughter first introduced me to this book when she was in third grade. She loved it so much that she wanted me to share in her joy. That Christmas I received my very own copy of Mr. Popper's Penguins, from my daughter Rachel. It is on my list of all time favorite gifts. Your kids and you will love this story too!
     To update, I am currently reading Mr. Popper's Penguins with my enthusiastic 7th and 8th grade special education class. The vocabulary is great because it is seriously challenging. We've also learned that Mr. Atwater died in the process of writing this novel which is why his wife, Florence Atwater is also listed as an author. She posthumously finished writing the novel for him. 
   My only disappointment is that the new movie,Mr. Popper's Penguins with Jim Carrey, is very different from the original book. I have promised my students that we will watch it after we finish the novel. Though the new movie is adorable, I wish it resembled the Atwater's novel a little bit more! I guess since the book and the movie contrast so much, this will give me an excuse to have my students use a Venn Diagram to compare the novel to the movie!  

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