Again, I've been slacking on writing!
Maybe I'll be able to do a better job next year, when I'm back to teaching Kindergarten! I guess I didn't do too badly in my first year, as I've been offered a full time continuing contract (permanent job!). I'm feeling pretty fortunate, as the past few months weren't the smoothest, and I know I've learned some diplomacy this year and that honesty is truly valued, even when you don't have much negotiating power.
I found out last week that I will be teaching Kindergarten half-time in my current school, and half-time at another school, about 10 km from here. I have found a lovely house to rent, instead of living in the teacherage where windows fall out, smoke detectors go off randomly at night, and it sounds like people are walking around in your apartment. I'm really looking forward to having some space, gardens and a beautiful kitchen to work in. This year I haven't really felt like I had a home, so I'm hoping next year I will feel more settled and enjoy coming home at night.
On to the past few months:
Mother's Day tea was fun- we baked muffins and biscuits with the kids, which they served to their Moms, then had some time to read stories together.
Our Elementary assembly went really well- the kids recited three poems with actions that we had used throughout the year, so it was minimal preparation on our part!
I was able to get IPP meetings, report cards and awards done and approved in good time, and all I have left is a 'Professional Growth Plan' meeting with the Vice Principal to talk about whether I reached my goals this year or not.
Kindergrad was awesome! I had no idea how many people to expect, so set up food and powerpoint in the classroom (it was supposed to be an outdoor picnic, but of course, poured all afternoon!). Within 20 minutes our get together had stretched out into the hallway, filled the elementary end, and had to move everyone to the gym for awards. There were about 100 people that came, and we were missing about four kids! We were able to get a small gift for each child, and had a chance to tell a story about each one. Some of the Moms bought flowers for each kid to present to me as they received their own gift- it was very sweet. Felt like my own version of the Bachelor! The bouquet was massive and absolutely beautiful. It means so much to feel appreciated and a part of a community in that way.
My little guy who doesn't talk much promised me a hug that night- unfortunately he didn't come, and by the last day of school the moment had passed, but I did hear him yelling at the other kids while playing a game in the hallway on the last day! It's been so neat to see how comfortable he has gotten throughout the year.
The 15th was the last day for my Kindergarten kids, and as we wouldn't have a chance to celebrate Father's Day together, we took our last day to bake Maple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, make cards and invite Dads in for free play and a soccer game (wouldn't you know it- pouring again!) It was a really nice way to end the year. Plus, we did get some pretty amazing hugs, and huge laughs on our last day. The kids just weren't responding to getting settled in the last days and I didn't know what else to try one day, so began to read 'Jillian Jiggs' in a really terrible Russian-Italian accent. The kids were pretty rattled and kept calling out, "speak english!" until they figured out that I was in fact, still speaking english. This ended up turning into a full day of talking like Mario and Luigi with one little guy in my class, mostly about the length of our moustaches...very productive I know...the accent did get their attention for a little bit though!
I was missing the kids by the following Monday. Yeesh.
The rest of the school has class until the 28th, so it has been a week and a bit of cleaning, setting up plans for next year, finalizing paperwork and spending some time with staff in the staffroom during breaks finally! Last week I was thankfully busy with baking for some good friends' wedding, and was able to spend a day in the school kitchen (my oven in the teacherage was awful) happily crafting cupcakes and meringues! I may have snuck in a load or two of laundry too...I think this year I've lived more like a first year University student than I ever have, down to eating itchiban at least once a week. Just gross.
While cleaning yesterday, the ladies in my room decided to tackle the science/water table, where we had created our 'Clean Mud.' I had taken out as much as possible, but there was a lot still stuck and dried to the sides, which apparently turns a little toxic. Pretty soon there were three of us scraping down the sides of this thing, sneezing out clouds of white dust and laughing so hard we were on the floor. I've been threatened with a beating if I ever decide to use that particular lesson plan again.
One of the ladies was driving to school the other day, and stopped to let one of the kids cross the road. It was our little german boy who has an incredible talent for asking questions, and not stopping until he's satisfied. He recognized who it was, and came to the window to talk to her. He greeted her with,
"What happens to the Miss Clark show if there's no kids?"
(The Miss Clark show is a Monday-morning tradition started with the purpose of getting the kids to know all of the adults in the room, and has evolved into a full talk-show with special guests and events. We had family members show up at our doors on Monday morning just to see the show- it was fantastic!)
Well this little guy didn't give a chance for Shannon to answer and said, "I know! She'll drive in on the Kindergarten car, say 'th-th-that's ALL folks! You can go home now!' "
He's got it all figured out, and we got a good laugh out of it too.
Two last (favorite) memories before I sign off!
- One day my little Luigi friend (who hates cutting and coloring) was having a hard time settling in to his activity and was waving his scissors around. I asked him if he would like to come help me with a job in the photocopy room. As we walked down the hallway he looked up at me and said,
"Miss Kotlarz, can I ask you a question?"
Of course I said yes, and he replied with, "Can I hold your hand?"
"Sure!" So down the hall we went, holding hands.
Then he looked up one more time and said, "WHAT? It's not like we're DATING!"
- On the last day of school he held onto Kathy giving her a hug and said, "I'm never going to let you go, not EVER!"
We're sure going to miss these kiddos! We had a chance to meet the new little guys for next year, and boy do they look tiny in comparison! At this point there's only one girl, who has already proven that she will keep the boys in line...it's going to be a great year.
Thanks for reading!