Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I realize I am not considered a "working professional" but I feel like one. The biggest difference is that I am PAYING to do this rather than getting payed. But I still wake up at 6am, leave the house by 7am, and don't get home until 4:30, and am exhausted when I get home.
It is becoming apparent to me that I need to work at balancing my life. This includes times of rest, times of work and times of play. Though I really don't feel like doing laundry when I get home, I should. If I do a little bit of work around the house each day, it wont pile up all week long. Otherwise I have 5 or 6 hours of work left for me saturday. This takes away from my weekend time to relax and enjoy time with friends and family.
I am living alone right now, and with this comes good and bad things. It is nice to be able to take a nap or do whatever I would like, not having to worry about anyone else's schedule. But at the same time I do get lonely. I am much less likely to fix myself a good meal, and much more likely to put off housework, as I don't mind seeing the mess. I look forward to the day when I have a family to take care of and to help take care of me. But for now I think I will work on taking care of myself and my house.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The more I am getting to know these students, the more I love them. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I get so frustrated with some i almost rip my hair out. But all in all, I care for them.
I am starting to see strengths and weaknesses in each one of them, and find my self contemplating ways to teach them even during my down time. I have various activities or items that remind me of my students even when I am away from them. And of course, I have nightmares about all the things that could go wrong while I am teaching.

They are a part of my life. I think this is an aspect of teaching I have never really thought about before. I have always looked forward to impacting them, and my students impacting me- But they are a part of me, a part of who I am, a part of my daily life. This means we share something- whether we want to or not. :-) I hope that what I share with them is a positive experience for them- not just something to get through.

Through the business of the school day I often forget about feelings and relationships. I have been trying to just breathe a few times a day- and take a look at each student and think about how wonderfully God has made them, and the gift that they are in my life.
I love these kids.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Decisions decisions!

I have always been told that the best tool for a teacher to have, is to be prepared. But I am quickly learning that no matter how long I spend planning, or predicting or preparing, I can never be 100% ready for what will happen.
I am astounded at the number of decisions I have to make throughout the day- it is almost constant. Where should I set these papers? What should I do with this extra 2 minutes before library? Should I let Jason go to the bathroom now? Or should I make him finish his math first? Should I get upset over that remark I just heard Jane say about Amanda? Or should I let it go? Can I let them work on this in partners? Should I use the whiteboard to explain this or is verbal instruction enough? Josh has been in the bathroom for a long time, should I send someone to go check on him?

Being a teacher is exhausting. Some studies even put teaching in the top ten most stressful professions. I understand why!

Though I want to fall over on the couch each day when I get home, and I take a two hour nap 4 out of 5 days, I love it.
I am learning so much, and the more i encounter these decisions, the easier they are becoming to make.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Today I lost my first student.

Okay, thats sounds bad... A student in our class is going to go to a different school starting monday. It is very weird to think that this group of learners, that is just starting to feel like a family, will be loosing one of its members.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


There is one student in my class who really threw me for a loop today. I felt astounded.
The past week and a half this student has not been able to accomplish ANYTHING. Reading, writing, math, spelling, social studies. Every task was most difficult. This student moped through their day, including recess and free time. While reading this student could not even read the word, "the." Spelling, this student could not spell, "we." In math, this student could not even follow along on the board with me next to them.
Today we had a 20 min long workshop time. This student had the task of writing down the spelling list, just copying it down from the board. They got one letter down in 20 min. My cooperating teacher was very frustrated and pulled this student to the hallway to speak with them.
"This has got to stop." My teacher said. "You need to be able keep up with the class. If you don't start completing your work, you will stay inside for lunch recess with Miss. Roer and I,"
"Ok Mrs. K." the student replied.
After this, the student went into the room and completed all 10 spelling words in two minutes. Their whole demeanor reversed. They became engaged and energetic, and even read a book for free time.

This student had been faking it since the first day of school.

I was so frustrated. All of the worry of how to differential tests and lesson, all the extra work of keeping on eye on them. Every part of me felt useless. I was so unaware.
How did Mrs. K know!? What will I do when I am a teacher? How will I know?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working Together

Today made me think a lot about the adult side of teaching. The joys and hardships of having co-workers and fellow staff members who are stuck in the same building that you are.
Hopefully these people are a support network one can turn to for encouragement and ideas, as well as fellow workers with the same goals. It amazes me the huge community that is within the walls of this school building. The teachers and staff are very supportive of one another, and good at working together. I always wondered, as a student, what the teachers talked about in the teachers' lounge during lunch. I always hoped it wasn't about us students! Well now i know... it is! Teachers talk about students in the lounge all the time. Sometimes it is to vent frustrations, sometimes to praise accomplishments, other times to seek out helpful strategies. I feel that every healthy teaching community should have a place to do these things. The teachers' lounge not only keeps sanity, it also provides a place where each staff member can feel loved and a part of something bigger than themselves.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting Started

Today finally felt like a "normal" day in 2nd grade. Students were more engaged with their work, and things ran a little smother than they have in the past few days.
Everyday I get the chance to observe my cooperating teacher's strategies, lessons, transitions, and constant time with the children. I get to see every interaction, every activity, every transition. I get to hear every command, every complaint, and every joy. It is both enjoyable and intimidating to watch this. I am learning new things every day. Little phrases to say, easy ways to avoid trouble, shortcuts and ways to improve learning. But at the same time the joy of all this learning is making me realize how much I still don't know!
The community of my school is amazing. I believe that if I got a job working in a community like this one, even the things I didn't know how to do, I would be able to ask for help from others at the school.
I am so excited to keep learning more about teaching, about my students, and about myself.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have found it very hard to discipline the students in my classroom. There are always times when a class becomes very noisy and everyone begins to talk, but this class seems to be very bad. Students need constant reminders to be quiet, and even then, they continue to talk. I do not get extremely frustrated with this, but rather, feel fairly defeated. I don't automatically fight for their attention, I usually let them continue to talk over me.
My cooperating teacher has to keep reminding me that I have the power to reprimand my students. I do not know why I constantly forget this. I am working on my "teacher glances" at certain students, and this does gain the attention of some. I have called the name of disruptive students, as well as repositioned them. These tactics are beneficial but not completely effective.
I suppose I need to continue to work on this aspect of teaching. Perhaps my cooperating teacher can help me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Morning Reading Time

My favorite part of the day, is morning reading time. Every day after snack recess, the children come in and i invite them to gather on the rug. I proceed to read to them a selection of picture books.
The reason this is my favorite time, is twofold. First, it is SO FUN! Second, it is so beneficial!
The students and I enjoy the books we read together. Reading time provides the students daily exposure to print, as well as modeling of reading strategies. The camaraderie between the students and I helps deepen our relationships with one another.

Today we read the book, "Diary of a Worm."
This book was so great! The students loved the jokes and funny instances. Also, we had the chance to talk about diaries and what they are. All eyes and ears were on me while reading, the fun facts included in this book interested students, and the layout made it easy for me to read with much expression.
I would highly recommend this book for any lower elementary classroom!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are You a Lion?

Today was our first full day, and we definitely heard about it. The students were always asking, "How much longer till we get to go home?" But we made it through. I got a chance to connect to some more of the students on a personal level during recess. The girls kept asking me what my name was;

"What's your name again?"
"Miss Roer."
"Oh yeah! Raaaaaawrr!"
"Like a lion!"
"Yes, Roer, like a lion."
"Yeah, but what's your real name?"
"My real name? You mean my first name?"
"Yeah your first name."
"Carissa. Carissa Roer."
"No! Whats your real name?"
"That is my real name; Carissa Roer, Miss Roer."
"Are you a Lion?"

You have to love second graders. It seems slow moving right now, but I think I know about 6 of the 21 new names. The students seem stuck in the middle of first grade when it comes to reading and writing. Though, each of them excelled in math today compared to yesterday. We started a unit on whales today. I read to the children after morning recess, and I lead two of the reading comprehension groups in the hallway in the afternoon. All went well. I think I look forward to having this schedule for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day Jitters

Today was my first day of Student Teaching. Thank goodness it was only a half day. My feet and body are already tired, I hope I get used to this routine relatively fast.

I am Student Teaching in a second grade classroom at a Christian elementary school. We have 21 students in our room, 11 girls and 10 boys. I have so many names to learn!

Today we read the book, "First Day Jitters" by Julie Dannenberg. This book sums up my experience perfectly. I was very nervous for my first day, not knowing what to expect. I think the majority of the students felt the same way, as they were very quiet and slow moving. But by the end of the day we all were starting to feel more comfortable with each other, and with our classroom.

I look forward to learning more of the routines of the classroom, and the names of all my students, so we can all feel comfortable, have fun, and learn together.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Grade at Congress Elementary [Session 2]

Again i traveled to where the houses are only five feet apart, and everyone looks different than i did, to try and "teach" some children...
We did a lesson on heredity again, this time focusing on traits we inherit from our parents.
We talked about hair color, eye color, attached/not attached ear lobes, ability to roll your tongue, hairline... ect ect.

after we played four corners with the traits.

"Everyone who has black or brown hair stand in the front of the room, everyone who has red hair stand by the door, and everyone who has blond hair stand by the teachers desk."

The shuffling of feet and the sound of mumbling voices starts.

I am the only one standing at the teachers desk. My co-teacher Lyndsey is the only one standing at the door. Every single one of the students is standing at the front of the room.

How stupid could i be- lets just point out the fact that i don't fit in with you all. I felt so awkward. How did i not think about this when i was writing this lesson plan?

We awkwardly finished the game. And i said my goodbyes, feeling very disappointed about not doing a good job teaching.


as i walked towards the door,
the trampling sound of feet rushed towards me, then the feeling of little arms wrapping around my legs. And little voices, all calling to me,
"Thank you miss Carissa!"
"We'll miss you!"

Children have a way of reminding you what unconditional love is.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First Grade at Congress Elementary

Today I taught a science lesson to a first grade class. I taught about various types of animal coverings. I started out with a bunch of types of coverings we wear, like a coat, rain boots, a helmet, a pretty dress. And i asked them why we wear each one. Then they looked at various animal coverings, and tried to guess what animal they were from and why that animal needed that covering.

I love first graders. I love talking with them. It is like speaking another language. you have to think about the words you use, and the way you describe things. I love thinking and speaking in that language. I also love asking them questions. They come up with answers so quickly, because they are so excited you are talking with them, and they think they are so smart.

Sometimes they start talking before they even know what they are going to say- thats the best. You have them so excited about the material, and participating in the class discussion, before you finish asking a question, they are sitting at the edge of their seats, raising their hand as high as possible, waving it back and fourth. Then when you proceed to call on them, they start a sentence, then stop to think of answer.

One of them ran up to me as i was walking out the door,
"Thank you Miss Carissa"