For the Love of Teaching

This week was one of those weeks. I commuted my usual ten hours. And then I worked 58 more. Whoever said teachers work from 8 to 4 was seriously mistaken. My 68 hour work week was exhausting. Tacking on three intense gym workouts added to my delusional state of exhaustion by Friday. But I also felt strangely energized after spending so much time at school and in my classroom. For me, there is no better feeling than being passionate about my job and knowing that I work in a place that supports all that I want to do as an educator. Here are a few of the many reasons why I would gladly put in another marathon work week and why I love what I do and where I work...

This week, I taught my second graders all about how readers ask questions as they read. We discussed how readers ask questions before, during, and after their reading. Then, we practiced asking questions as we read The Stranger, by Chris Van Allsburg. Planning these four days of lessons was exciting for me because The Stranger is one of my favorite books. But I never expected my 24 second grade friends to be so into it as well. They excitedly raced to their rug spots at the beginning of Reader's Workshop each day to return to the story and hear a couple more pages. They groaned as I picked up my bookmark, marking the end of our reading time together. And, they asked the most amazing, deep, thought-provoking questions. It was amazing to watch their thinking unfold as we got deeper and deeper into the story. I was in awe of their understanding and got goosebumps as my co-teacher wrote down the questions they shared with one another. It was a meaningful week in reading and it was wonderful to see an entire class so excited about a story. 

We had our first session of C.O.W.- Community Open Work. Teachers and parents offer to lead and assist classes, such as woodworking, yoga, cooking, embroidery, and pinata-making, for children from all six grades. Kids are grouped together based on interest, rather than grade, and meet once a week to learn the skills offered in their classes. Every Wednesday, we have C.O.W. for an hour at the end of the day, and it is the highlight of many of our friends' weeks. I am teaching Beads and Braids, a friendship bracelet making class. It was really fun to teach my group how to make one of the bracelets I used to make and sell on the recess yard back when I was in fourth grade. The kids did a great job and had a good time exploring the beads and string. But my highlight from C.O.W. came two days later... I was walking to the office to make copies and passed one of our kindergarten classes as they walked back from music. The cutest little girl looked up, smiled, and waved as she exclaimed, "Hi Daina! See you in Beads and Braids next week!" It made my day! 

Our principals ask the staff to sit in on interviews. It is really nice to know that they include us in this process and value what we have to say. This week, I sat on a few interviews, along with some of the other second grade teachers. Towards the end of the interview, my principals leave the room and give the interviewee a chance to ask us questions about the school. Many of the teachers interviewing are searching for a school that they can stand behind and that they truly believe in, and I feel so grateful that I feel that way about mine. I can't say enough about how much I love my school and how much the children love being there too. I feel very proud to be a part of Community Roots. 

One of the best parts of the long week? The fact that after spending so much time with the people I work with, I still was over the moon excited for our game night at Rebecca's house. We had our first game night last fall (which I wrote about here), and were eager to schedule and plan our next night of pizza, Taboo, and endless laughter. We managed to leave work before six and took the G train deeper into Brooklyn. Rebecca lives in the cutest neighborhood where the streets are lined with beautiful houses and large trees. We had forgotten to pick up some bottles of wine before leaving Fort Greene, and thought it was a hopeless mission to find a liquor store near Rebecca's place. We decided to walk in the opposite direction for a little while just in case there was anything. We burst out laughing when thirty seconds after we finished saying there was no way we would find somewhere to buy wine, we walked straight into Juice Box, the cutest neighborhood wine shop. I guess it was meant to be...
So, we stocked up on red wine and made our way to Rebecca's. We relaxed, kicked our feet up, and caught up as we waited for the pizzas to arrive. 
After the pizzas were devoured and dinner was settled, it was time for the most excited event of the evening- ice cream time. Rebecca had the perfect selection of Ben and Jerry's, cookies, and Magic Shell. If you have never treated yourself to Magic Shell, do so immediately. It reminds me of the dip cones I used to love from Dairy Queen, except only better because you can reload whenever necessary and enjoy that magic chocolate crunch with every bite. Yum. Did I mention that my Magic Shell was drizzled over Chubby Hubby? Double yum. 
Mike and I screamed in joy as our names were drawn for the same team. Brian was picked for our team as well, but he just shook his head and smiled when I fist pumped after his name was called. He doesn't get quite as intense for game night. Again, Mike and I brought our game faces and were ready to win. Unfortunately, after Mike's disappointing first round in Taboo with negative points, our game faces turned to sad faces. We may have lost, but we still had fun. But, can I just say, we kicked ass in Celebrity...
Game night #2 was a success, finished off with Ozzy's amazing popcorn. There is nothing better than spending a night relaxing with friends after a long week at work. 
Brian, Mike, and I started to make our way home around 11:30, and we finally got back to Queens around 1. So... late-night commuting was not the best, but I am willing to trek for any game night with great company! 

1 comment :

  1. We also do the group interview at my work. When I was hired there were like 10-12 other people in the room asking me questions... talk about intimidating...


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