Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Break 2011 Part Two

Well I thought I would share a bit more about my break. I have two top 5's to share.

Top Five Gifts
5. LL Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket (have worn it twice, Love it!!!)

4. Rachael Ray's Look and Cook cookbook (I have already cooked out of it)

3. Iphone 4s (I finally feel up to date!!!)

2. Toms Houndstooth black and silver shoes (perfect for school)

1. Rachael Ray Pots and Pans
I know that gifts are not what the holidays are about, but they are an added bonus. I love, love, love to give gifts to the people I love. It is fun to shop and figure out the right gift that they will enjoy. I did enjoy my break and spent A LOT of time doing things that I wanted to do.

Here are my top 5 things I did on break.
5. Cleaned (I know not fun, but it was necessary and nice to get it done on my schedule)
4. Worked out (and lost 3 pounds)
3. Slept (ahhhhhhhh)
2. Spent time with Friends (saw Desiree, Taylor, Kristy, and Whitney)
1. Spent time with family (see pictures)
Me, Patrick(cousin), and Kelly (sister) at Fort Caroline
Me and Kelly (sister) At Fort Caroline

I hope that your holiday was equally as amazing and blessed. May your 2012 bring you joy and blessings!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Break 2011 Part one

My break this year started off with a blessing. On November 15th my best friend gave birth to the most perfect baby boy in the entire world, Quin Reiter Scales. It was a very short trip, but perfect all the same.

To see pictures and what Desiree had to say here is her blog post on the trip.

When Desiree was pregnant I stumbled onto the book Savy Auntie by Melanie Notkin.
I am now regestered member of this group and website ( I am an Auntie by choice and not one by relation to Quin. After reading the book, I realized that I will have a big roll to play in his life. I know how to care for him, purchase gifts for him and most importantly what mom is going through. I truly hope that this bundle of joy helps to mold me into a wonderful Auntie and prepare me to be a mother.

Auntie Shannon

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Morning Meeting

Upon the return of my students from their Thanksgiving break, I decided to have a morning meeting where the students could share about their holiday.

They were asked to share 2 things:

1. The best thing or memory from the week

2. Their favorite food from the week.

Several shared stories of being with family. 2 students decided it was appropriate to share that their family members had a bit too much to drink and made for an entertaining holiday in their eyes. The kids slept and played video games. I had one who came back on crutches after having to have stitches in is leg. But my most favorite comment of all was this, "My mom is too Asian to cook Thanksgiving food, so we went to Golden Corral."

I also learned that my students love turkey, Macaroni and Cheese, and pumpkin pie.

It is moments like these that make me love my children and spending time with them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oldie but a Goodie

This was an conversation I had with one of my all time favorite students from two yeas ago..

Student quote of the week: I have a boy in my class who has a huge crush on a girl in another class. He writes her name all over everything. Today he was disturbed because her name had been written on his ruler by someone other then himself. I asked him if he wanted me to find out who did it and he said, " Nah Ms. Finnegan, I probably would have done it myself eventually." This made me laugh out loud.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heart of a Teacher

One of the assistant principals shared this the first week of school.
I hope you enjoy it and I hope it makes you grateful for a teacher in your life.

Tell me one positive thing about your favorite teacher. Be thankful they were a part of your life (or still there).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Words of Inspriation

This message was sent to me by one of the young ladies who was in the youth group at my church. Her words were some meaningful and heartfelt. I thought I would share them with you.
"I just wanted to say that I look up to you a lot because of how you are one of those teachers who cares for her students and even though some may be a little like grr you still help them with everything that's in you and I can only hope that I could be just like you when I become a teacher. You have amazing enthusiasm even sometimes you have your off days. you make sure that everyone gets what your teaching them and that its not about how much you get paid or how many things you grade that they get wrong or right you help them in a way they get it because you use energy to do it. You help them out in every way you can and you relate to them even though they're like 10 or even a teenager and I look up to you for that 'cause that's how I want to teach and show the kids in my classroom one day how much I care for them as you do for yours you're awesome!"

I want to challenge you to share your thoughts and feelings about a teacher who you respect and admire. Either share your thoughts directly with them or share them here with us to see.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Found this in My facebook archives

I posted this on Facebook 2 years ago. I thought it was cleaver and worth sharing.
Clever student comment of the week: "Ms. Finnegan, do I start tomorrow with a new sheet of ice?" This question came after I told him we was skating on thin ice.
I told him that he would get a new sheet of ice and it would be thicker.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heart Map

In writing every year, I have the students create a heart map. This is a pre-writing activity that we use to help generate ideas for writing pieces. This year was no exception. I have included my heart map in this post...take a look see.

The directions are to write the things that you love inside your heart and things you do not like outside your heart. I did tell them that they were not allowed to place people's names on the outside of their heart. After all, we need to be kind even if we do not like someone.

I discovered that many of my students dislike clowns and they love their families. Some even wrote that they love me, but I think my favorite was that one girl wrote bacon on the inside of her heart... After all, isn't everything better with bacon?

So here is my question for you... I want you to share one item that would be inside your heart and one that would be on the outside. I can not wait to read your comments!!!

HOOOOORay for Cupcakes

The first week of school brought so much joy and excitement into my life. I am elated to see what this year will bring me. My class last year was a challenge, but in the end I knew that each one of those children was placed in my class for a reason. This year however, I have a very different class and I can not wait to see what the year will hold. I believe this class was given to me as an answer to my summer prayers

One of my goals this year is to spend more time and effort doing things for my students. I want to plan lessons that will challenge my gifted students and also have the opportunities to help my struggling students. I want to provide opportunities for my students to love learning and being at school.

With that being said, I also want to do "little" things for my students. I sent them all postcards in the mail the first day of school. We celebrate birthdays with singing, gifts, and cards. For the first Friday, I made sweet treats for them. Our classroom theme is to be wise like an owl. I found this cute design for owl cupcakes and made them for the class. They were delicious, moist and fun. The best part was that the kids LOVED them and that made me happy.

It looks like I will be making macaroni and cheese for them in the coming weeks. I have several students who have told me that they have never had home made. I, of course, will fix this and make a pan for them to try at lunch. To me, it is really all about the "little" things.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Classroom

This year I was moved into a new room at the last minute. I was in my old room for 4 years and I had acquired a ton of junk while housed in one place. I ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff. I wished I had taken a picture of the mess that was my room before I put it together, but I do have pictures of what it looks like now. Let me know what you think.

My happy place in the back corner of the room.

The reading nook (note the huge container of pencils and dry erase markers).

The bulitin board and carpet area. This year we are Ms. Finnegan's Wise Owls.

View from my happy area.

View in from the door.

I hope this room holds a lot of love and learning this year.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Long Time, No See

Well the summer has officially come and gone. It was a much needed one for me.

The past year and a half has been very trying and challenging for me in my personal life. I also had an interesting school year last year. With this being said, I needed the break. Even though summer is supposed to be all rest and play for teachers, I worked in addition to resting and playing. I spent the summer coaching a summer league swim team. It was a great little job. It gave me something to do during my time off but also allowed me to enjoy my time off. I also spent a lot of time alone enjoy the peace and quiet. I have come to love my apartment and the quietness of being in it.

In addition to working and relaxing, I played... a lot. In June, I went to Las Vegas with my dad and had an amazing time. I had never been there and I loved every minute of it. The sites, food, and shows were fabulous. I cannot wait to go back. Las Vegas defiantly romanced its way into my heart.
The end of the summer came with two trips to the beach. These trips were much needed since I had acquired a tennis shoe and watch tan from coaching and heaven forbid I go back to school with it. I spent a few days in Florida with my family and then a week on Isle of Palms in Charleston, South Carolina with friends. Both trips were restful and full of sun and laughing.

Overall, my break was fabulous. I took a lot of much needed Ms. Finnegan time and I am ready to be back in the swing of things. As my principle stated, "Teaching is one of the only professions where you get a fresh start every year." Here's to a fresh start both professionally and personally.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Boys, Boys, Boys

Boy 1: "Ms Finnegan, isn't Jamie Fox a guy?"

Me: "Yes, he is."

Boy 2: " I thought Jamie Fox was a girl."

Me: "You're thinking about Megan fox."

Boy 3: "Whoo!!! Megan Fox!!!"

Class: "Hehehehehehe!!!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today one of my children went up to one of my co-workers and the following occurred...

Points to his head with both index fingers, then moves them in an arch toward the floor and says:
"I'm ready to FOCUS!!!"
"Seems like it." All while wide eyed and thinking, there is no way you can focus.

The joys of testing week!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Murphy Strikes Again

This was an un-posted post that was sitting in my blog... I hope you enjoy it. This event occurred after the spring break debacle.


SOOOOOOO, I am apparently blessed with bad luck when it comes to my car.

This past Sunday, after church, two of my friends and I went to lunch. I pulled the car into the spot and pulled up too far. Oh goodie!!! My car ended up sitting on top of one of the cement guards in the parking space.

We come out from eating lunch and when I pulled back the car out I hear this terrible screeching/ scraping sound. YAY!!! I later find out that I have pulled the protector of the bottom of my car. It is now 4:30 pm and I am on my way back to church for my second Easter cantata performance. I crawl on the ground, in my church clothes, and grab hold of the dirty plastic. I yank and pull...twist and give all that I have and it just won't come off. So what do I do? I cut if off with a pair of scissors. Now the piece is being housed in the trunk of my car and will hopefully be fixed soon. When I have the time to take my car in...again.

Since this has occurred... I have thrown away the piece of plastic and waiting for a financial windfall so I can get it fixed.

Oh the joys of being a car owner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Saga Continues

"Megan, it has to be all down hill from here. The car is fixed and we will pick it up on the way home Saturday. No worries." Well apparently Murphy was hiding in the trunk of my car during spring break, because crisis stuck again.

On Saturday, April 9th, Megan and I departed Ponte Verdra Beach, FL. We began our trip home with a planned stop in Savannah, Ga to pick up my car from Grainger Honda. I was contacted earlier in the week and was told that my car was fixed and that it was good to go.

Our first stop was at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where we returned our second rental car. This task was a breeze. They even gave us a ride to Grainger Honda in the car we returned, since it contained a week's worth of stuff that we loaded into the car. We had no desire to move it more times then was necessary.

Upon arrival at the dealership, I went inside to take care of paying (I had to have a baring replaced) and got my keys. Megan located my car and loaded it up with all of our belongings from the rental. While I am standing there, I see our buddy Patrick round the corner. He looks right at me and makes no acknowledgement of my existence. Ok, he may be busy or does not recognize the crazy woman that he met earlier in the week. So, I continue waiting. No use in yelling out at him and looking more crazy then I already am.

When my service manager, Robert, got to me, he told me that I would not be able to take my car that day. He explained to me that several of my valves were bent and that they would give me a loaner car and that I would have to come back the following weekend and swap the cars. FANTASTIC!!! I was super excited to hear this piece of news. I call Megan and explain the situation.

"You are kidding, right?"

"Ummm, no. Robert and I are on our way to see you."

I get outside and see that Megan has moved all of our belongings into my car. Robert promptly pulls the loaner car around and we empty my car and load the new car with all our goodies. We then proceed inside to fill out paperwork in order for me to take their car. Everything is filled out and we are ready to go, when Robert looks at me and says, "I think I made a mistake."

He had...he got me mixed up with another woman with the last name of Finway...Finnegan, Finway. All the same in the grand scheme of things. So we head back to the lot and move our stuff again.

1: Loaded Car at Aunt Mac's House

2: Rental 2 to my car

3: My car to Rental 3

4: Rental 3 back to my car

Mind you it is 86 degrees (we are sweating like pigs doing all this).

Robert gets behind the wheel of my car and turns her over. My car makes a sound as if a dying bird is flying around inside of it.

"What is that!?!" I know, I know...Ms. Calm, cool and collected.

"It's your AC belt. I will tighten it up and you will be on your way."

Oh goodie!!1 Megan and I set up camp in the dealership and begin to entertain ourselves. I read a book and Megan plays angry birds on her phone. We can consistently getting approached by people who work there...We are now local celebrities in this place. I decide that we just need to pitch a tent in the center of the showroom and move in. I mean hey...we have spent enough time there already, might as well.

30 minutes later, I am handed my keys and we depart the dealership. I say goodbye and we drive off. As we are pulling out of the parking lot, we drive past Patrick who waves at us confusingly. Then proceeds to text Megan.

"When did you get here?"

"Around 11:45." (it is now 1)

"Why didn't you tell me you were here?"

"Shannon said she saw you and you saw her and you didn't acknowledge her. Plus, you are at work and we did not want to bother you."

"If I saw her I did not realize it was her."

We are hungry at this point and hit up the Cracker Barrel in good ole Pooler, Georgia (remember this is where the car dies the first time). We also decide that my car needs a name. So, we name her Grainger after the Honda dealership. We eat lunch and I offer the keys to Megan so she can drive.

"Are you sure? The last time I drove your car it broke."

"Megan, it's fine. We got here no problem. They fixed it, you should be fine."


We fill the car with gas and begin our trek home, when all of a sudden the radio goes dead. I mean turns off. Not like we lost the turns off. All the gauges go to 0 and we lose power steering and brakes.


We manage to get the car into a Taco Bell parking lot and I call Robert while Megan begins pacing the parking lot more out of boredom then worry.

"The car died." I explained to him what happened.

"Can you start the car?"

I don't I turn her over. IT STARTS!!! HOORAY!!!

"Can you get the car here?"

"I don't know, but I'll try."

I yell to Megan, "Get in!!!"

I drive the car around the parking lot, thinking this will be a good test to see if the car is ok. We are good. So, I take her out on the road. We pull into the turn lane to get onto I-95 south and tragedy strikes... SHE DIES AGAIN!!!

Well ,I call the dealership and tell them the situation. This time I know exactly where I am and Grainger Honda is sending service men to come save us. As we are waiting, we are upsetting many motorists as they have to go around us to get on to the interstate. Megan made up a song that we sang, "Go around us, we are stuck." All while we are hanging our arms out the windows waving people to go around.

Megan also asks me, "Why did you have to be a hero, Shannon?"

We had several offers for help and were also informed that we should turn on the hazard lights...ummmm they were totally on, but what ever was wrong with my car would not allow them to flash. Are you kidding? We are most certainly going to die in Pooler, Ga. I decide to call 911 and attempt to get police help so that someone did not smack into the back of my ca while we wait to be rescued.

After about 30 minutes, I look into my rear view mirror and I see a Blue Honda Civic pull up behind me with a Grainger Honda plate on the front. OUR RESCUERS!!! 2 service men get out of the car and Megan and I go into the wonderful air conditioned rescue vehicle. We watch as they try to jump the battery and then they throw the car into neutral and push it across 2 lanes of traffic. HOORAY!!! the car is now on the side of the road.

We now move all of our stuff from my car into the new civic and the cop arrives. This is now the 5th time we have moved our stuff. Now think about it...2 woman have packed one car for a week. This has been no easy task to move. We leave my car on the side of the road and head back to the dealership.

I call my mother and I am hysterically laughing because the delirium has hit me. She thinks I am kidding when I first tell her what happened. Then she realizes that this is not the case. OMG!!!

We arrive at our home away from home, Grainger Honda, and Robert looks at me and says the following:

"Ms. Finnegan it is your alternator. Take the came you came in (the blue civic) and go home. I will have your car fixed and I will have it brought to you in Atlanta."

We leave. We dance to music in traffic. We entertain fellow drivers and we arrive home.

I now have my car back. It was brought to me on Thursday morning while I was at work. It is fine and driving well, even though I 'm convinced that Murphy is living in my trunk, because there have been 2 more mishaps that I will write about in the coming days.

Megan and I have also come to the conclusion that we should never drive again on any of our trips... I am willing to risk it as long as we take her car. HAHAHA!!!

Until then, drive safe.

Monday, April 11, 2011


"Milk is just cheese in a glass."
Student today

Monday, April 4, 2011

And the Diagnosis is...

I had my oil change last Monday...they did not put the oil filter on properly so oil has been leaking ever since.

Now, I need a new Engine. Yes a new engine.

Now, the place that I had my oil changed at is taking care of all the details and will be covering all expenses including the rental car. I should have my car back for the trip home on Saturday. Megan and will have to pick the car up on our way home.

Tomorrow we will be returning the current rental to Savannah. We will get a different one from Enterprise. Megan has already tried to contact our friend Patrick, but he is not responding. Oh well!!!

I will keep you all posted as things occur.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Break 2011 (part 2)

2 hours later...

Looking in the rear view we began to see lights. Was death approaching? Was this the proverbial light we hear about when death approaches?

No it was even better... It was the TOW TRUCK!!!

When the tow truck arrived, we met Raymond. Megan and I piled out of the car and gathered all the essential belongings. Purses and the computer...can't leave home with out the laptop. Megan and I made the long trek to the tow tuck and proceeded to climb on in to the cab of the truck, which smelled like a saloon. As the car was being loaded onto the bed of the truck, we were literally rocking and rolling in the truck. It was similar to begin on a ride at Disney where you are strapped into a seat and the platform moves and you watch a video. Super fun!!! Megan decided that she need to put on her seatbelt because we have now decided that we would now die in the tow truck.

Then we were off. Bouncing down the road. And I mean bouncing. Now those of you who know Megan and I, know that during this trek to the Honda Dealership we tried to entertain our new friend. We told him all about our adventure and our future plans. We also told him that we were planning on building ourselves a town next to the car when we thought that we may be stuck there. Well, we eventually got off the highway and Raymond took a wrong turn. So, instead of doing a safe three point turn, he decided to hook a U'ey in the middle of a road. In the process, he drove over a storm drain and landed the truck on the road with a thud. Megan (being addicted to caffeine) had a coke on her hand as we took this turn of death. The coke was in the can one moment and then all over Megan's shirt the next. For the love a Pete!!! Really?!?

We see the Dealership... I do believe the heavens opened up and angels began to sing the Hallelujah chorus as we pulled in. And of course sitting, waiting for us, were the car salesman voltures. Three of them to be exact. They were sitting in a golf cart and you know they were thinking, "Now they NEED a new car."

Megan climbed out of the truck followed by me and we made our way into the building. Raymond was instructed as to where to take my poor car. Megan made a B-line to the restroom, remember the coke and the storm drain.

In the mean time, our newest friend David is hunting for the number for Enterprise rent-a-car. Called the number...closed!!! Are you serious?!?
David got another number for another Enterprise.... OUT OF CARS!!! Now, how does a car rental place run out of cars.
David got another number...closed!!!
Now he hands me the phone book and says, "Good luck!"

We called Avis...they are first in Alphabetical order. They are open and HAVE A CAR!!! We book it and now we have to get to the Savannah International Airport. Call a cab!!! The first cab company I pick, by the picture of course, the number was no longer in service. Are you starting to see a trend here? The next one I pick, again by the picture, knows where we are and is on the way...

30 minutes late NO CAB!!! Now, Megan has made friends with on of the sales guys, Patrick. He has now offered to take us to the airport to get the rental...We call the cab company and they assure us they are in the way...

20 minutes later NO CAB!!! We call again. The cab stopped for gas an turned the wrong way on the street where the dealership is. Apparently, the cab driver and Raymond, the tow truck driver, got their directions from the same place.

Finally, the cab shows up and we get to the airport and get the car.

We bring the rental car back to the dealership so we can put of luggage and other various junk into the rental. As we are unloading the car, I spot a business card stuck to the driver side window. It's from Patrick and it says, "If you are ever in Savannah and need a ride give me a call." I burst into laughter and hand the card to Megan who also bursts into laughter. We decide that we will text him and harass him. Hey he gave us his number.

Also in the process, I forgot that we had opened the case of coke Megan had brought for the trip. Remember I told you she loves her some caffeine. So when I picked it up coke cans went leaping into the parking lot. We had two fatalities and Megan ran them to the dumpster as they are spewing soda all over her. She was determined to be wet and sticky by the end of the trip.

The trip to Florida took 13 hours and it should have been 6. We arrived at my aunt's house at 10:30pm and we left at 9:15 am. Weew. Glad that is over and now we are tan. We are also taking part in all types of vacation type activities ;-0

Spring Break 2011

"I've never ridden in a tow truck before!" The was just one of the many sentences that were shared between a coworker (Megan) and myself yesterday as our 6 hour drive to Florida turned into a 13 hour trip.

Cruising down the road and jammin' out to a favorite hits was on the menu for the day. We were 2 and a half hours away from our finial destination when it happened...
"Shannon, your car just died."
"Your car just died!" Megan calmly tells me as she is pulling off to the shoulder of I-16 in Pooler, Georgia.
Now, Megan and I are pretty laid back and calm in most situations... on the outside, but the inner monologues were running rampant. I called my mother who was headed to the same finial destination, but was an hour and a half ahead of us. The calling of the parent is always a good choice. They for sure FREAK out when their children are in crisis. She pondered for a while as to whether or not she should come back to where we were located, but in the end decided there was nothing she could do and continued on.

At this point in out epic tale, I have now called the motor club and told them that we are NOT in a safe place. They told me that they would send a police officer to help us. Sweet... "I hope they send a cute one." This never happened. NO police officer ever showed up. Remember, we were not safe.

Now the next question for the motor club was, "Where are you?" My answer, "I am not sure." I told them we were on I-16, going east and we were west of I-95. If we could have seen into the future, we would have payed closer attention to the signs and mile markers. But since we happened to leave our crystal balls at home, we did not pay that close attention to the signs. I gave them some other information from the GPS in an attempt to be located. Well Raymond, the tow truck driver, could not find us. So, what was supposed to take a half an hour took 2 hours!!! We sat in the hot car for two what did we do, read. We each pulled out books and read. This was all while Megan was stress eating cereal. Oh the ways to cope with stress.

In between Raymond finding us and the first phone call to the motor club, I have called back twice. Apparently we were not where we said we were and I was getting fussed at... Now remember what I said earlier...I told them that I did not know where we were. Megan offered to get out of the car and walk the half mile to the sign we could not see, since it was being block by a tree.. When the motor club heard this, their response was, "Do not let her get out of the car!" Ok... she didn't.

M: "We might die here."
M: "We may have to build a shanty town on the side of the road. I will be its mayor."
M:"Who will I be? The resident Umpa Lumpa?"

To be continued...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Long time, No Blog

As any good (or bad) teacher can tell you, our job is very difficult, time consuming and draining. I have been working and working, oh and working, therefore I have neglected my blog. As always, I do have lots of wonderful things to share.

Today, actually first thing this morning, I was sassed by a 10 year old boy. Now, if you frequent my blog, I have mentioned this young man before...he is the one who put the sprinkle in his eye...enough said. Well he decided to push my buttons (in a fun way). Yesterday was "eat with the kids at lunch Wednesday." I sat with a group of young men, this boy included, and none of them would talk to me. So, I just started talking. I mean just rambling. Telling this young boy EVERYTHING I could think of. What I was going to do after school, what some of my favorite things are, or any random fact that popped into my head.

Well this became the joke for the rest of the day yesterday and of course continued on to this morning. Well, he decided that I needed to stop talking. Therefore, he wrote "shhhhhhhhhh" on his dry erase board and held it up to me and placed his finger on his lips.

Well of course, I was just shocked by this act and told him to stand in the corner with his nose on the wall. He did this for about 2 seconds before he truned around and flash his million dollar smile. And of course, I just burst into laughter!!!

He has such a FABULOUS personality. You know they say that we are not supposed to have favorites, but the truth is that we do. The key is to make sure that the students don't know it. I feel so blessed to have taught some of the children I have taught. Children like this, who have personally, make teaching fun.

My job is very difficult, time consuming and draining, but I would not trade it for the world. I would have missed out on days like today if I did something else.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Parents... Are you there?

As I reflect on my childhood, one thing that always resonates in my mind is that my parents were there and they parented my sister and I. They supported our activities and hobbies. They handed out consequences when we did not follow the rules and expectations. We also received rewards when we did meet their expectations.

One thing I vividly remember is all the special trips and outings Dad would take us on. My mom stayed home with us, so on the weekends Dad would give Mom some time and take us somewhere. We would explore museums, go hiking, see a movie (or 2) or even see Disney on Ice. These outings were memorable and meaningful. My parents were also there. They showed up to all the games, even when we were in high school and on into college.

The reason I bring all this up today is that I wonder how many children today have these same types of parents. I coach a high school swim team and out of 26 swimmers I can count on my fingers the number of parents that came and watched their child swim. My students do not do their homework. What are they doing when they go home? Why aren't the parents monitoring their child's school work? I had one parent tell me that his two children come home and play on the computer. He confided in me that he did not know what to do. I suggested he take the mouse and key board and hide it.

I mean...come on. Who is the parent? Why are so many adults allowing their children to roam free. I just found out that a young lady I know was just withdrawn from high school by her mother during her junior year. Now she sits at home doing... well nothing. When did parents become friends to their children? I hope and pray that this trend stops. Children need their parents to mold and shape them. We need to raise children in the way that they should go... but what way are we showing them? I hope it is the right one.

I would love to hear/read your thoughts. Please, feel free to share.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

Twice a year teachers meet with the parents of their students. Some conferences are a breeze. These are the ones where I tell the parents that their child is perfect. They do their assignments, they follow directions, they are responsible, and they have a great personality. Personally, these are the conferences I prefer.

Then there are the other conferences. The ones that you know will last long beyond the 20 minute time allotment. These are the conferences where you have to use phrases like, "Your child seems to have trouble focusing." When you really want to say, "Your child does nothing in my class, and all they want to do is draw or stare into space." Or "Your child has trouble getting along with other students." Again what I want to say is, "Your child is rude and mean to the sweet children in my class." I would like to tell some parents that their child tests me each and everyday. Sometimes I would really like to say that their child drives me crazy when they refuse to following directions. But the truth is that no matter how I feel on the inside, it is my professional responsibility to keep these comments in my head. After all, I am sure that the parent is thinking the same thing.

With all frustrations and kidding aside, I believe that all children deserve the fair chance to learn and be loved at school. No matter how frustrated I get with the behavior of my students, I know that in their hearts they are sweet and want to be loved. I became a teacher knowing that it is not easy work. I love the challenge that my students bring me each day and I could not see myself doing any other job.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Patience of Job

I have been told that I have the patience of Job. For some reason, God bestowed upon me the virtue of patience. There are may days where I wonder to myself, "Self, why do you put up with all that you put up with?"

As I am sure you are aware, there is no perfect class of children. For that matter, there is no such thing as the perfect child. Sure you have the ones you love. Like the boy who writes his name on his paper and then follows it with the statement: Name loves marshmellows. Or the boy who hugs me everyday when he leaves (he is the only boy who does this, all others simply high five). Or the girl who knows about football (hey, she knows what team C.J. Spiller plays for). But every class has one or two children that can just change the entire mood of the whole room when they are there.

Today I hit my limit with two of my children. The teacher that co-teaches with me looked and me and said, "I can't believe that you have put up with all that you have?" Now my question is why. Why do I tolerate the child that does not write a thing in writing, even when consequences are present? Why do I reward the child who can sit still for five minutes, but the other twenty couldn't stay in his seat? Why do I let the child who has no self control (and this is true... I am not exaggerating here) stay in my room when they are bothering all the other students and myself?

I think I may have come up with the answer on my way home's because of the patience. I tolerate it because I can. I can handle the craziness. I can handle the talking back. I can ignore the behavior. The one thing I have to remember... I am not the only person in my classroom. The other students in my room don't have the same coping skills and patience that I have. So I have to ask... is it fair to tolerate disruptive behavior? I have come to the conclusion that it is not. Therefore... I sit here with a new attitude and outlook. I will not tolerate tomfoolery at the cost of my other students. I will put my foot down (gently mind you, after the broken ankle we don't need any unnecessary roughness) and give the other students the gift of learning.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Birthday Cookies

When you were in school do you remember getting excited about the treat that your mom would send in for your birthday? I remember my mom always making bags with popcorn and M&M's for my birthday.

Most children bring in cupcakes, but today we got cookies. My student's birthday is tomorrow and he will be 11. Instead of giving them out at lunch, we waited until the end of the day. I passed out napkins and each child received their treat. Right as we were beginning to sing Happy Birthday, one of my table groups erupted into laughter. When the song was complete the following conversation occurred:

Me: "What are you all laughing at?"

Girl: "He put a sprinkle in his eye!" pointing and laughing at said student, who by the way had his back to me.

Me: "What?" In my head I was thinking there is no way I heard her correctly. No child in their right mind would put a sprinkle in their eye.

Girl: "No, really he put it in his eye!" At this point the student in question turned to face me. His right eye filled with tears as he pulled on it. He was laughing at his poor decision along with his peers .

I asked the student to walk over to me... then ask:
Me: "What have you learned from this experience?"

Boy: "Not to do it again. It hurts."

Me: " Very good idea."

Moral of the story: Do not place sprinkles in your eye, they hurt (or so I have been told).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Did She Really Just Say That?

Today while teaching a math lesson one of my girls, who sits in the front, made the following announcement:

"Ms. Finnegan, the hairs in your nose are blond. I have never seen anyone with blond nose hair."

My response:

"Well, I guess that is better the having thick black nose hair."

What else was I supposed to say. In my head I was thinking, did she really just say that?

Just another day at the office.

Oh P.S. by the probably doesn't help matters much that there is a full moon and the kids were bouncing off the walls today.