Listen while you read.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Distinguished Teacher?

I am officially in the evaluation process (completed four of six weeks) for Distinguished Teacher in my school district. It is an exciting time to go through this because this is the time of year many teachers get tired, but I have the opportunity to step it up.

The team came in and saw me this last week. It is always unannounced and so when they came through the door just as the bell rang, I didn't have my normal 15 minutes or so to wake up. The lesson couldn't have gone any better. It was reading time and we were review story elements. I decided to read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The students participation was at its height and my energy with them was obvious. We finished up our whole class time and then I was observed doing a small group for reading. At the beginning of the year, I had 14 students well below grade level, and as of last week, was officially told by the middle school that pre-assess them, that my class was on grade level or above. I already knew that most were there, or very close, so hearing from someone else is always nice. She actually asked if our classes were leveled (meaning, did I have the high class?). I replied, "Nope, we've worked really hard!"

Either way, distinguished or not, I have one of the most rewarding jobs that exist and am very fulfilled by what I am entrusted with daily: teaching children!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I felt this entry should be one of its own. On Tuesday (the 12th), we had to say goodbye to my best buddy, and most favorite running partner, Tuff. I had put it off as long as I could and it was all for selfish reasons, so I decided enough was enough. In the last 5 weeks, Tuff had become a "study" for Bill, our vet and close friend. He ran more tests, did laser treatment every other day along with a medicated bath, and gave him more meds. Finally, a positive test result: Cushings Disease. Something that can be managed, in some situations, but will never go away. We attempted the meds and there was no improvement. He had swelling in one of his feet, that was obviously painful, along with bleeding out of his side. While I justify his death, I know I don't really need to. Every friend that would visit us and see him, told us it was bad. He got out last week, and the lady that found him called us with, "When was the last time you have seen your dog?" When Marc answered about 15 minutes prior...she was appauled and threatened to call and report us for animal abuse. Once Marc explained, she was apologetic, but needless to say, he didn't deserve to be forced to live in this condition.

I have so many memories of my Tuffy. He protected me, stayed close to me, ran with me regularly (although more in the earlier part of his short life), looked at me with pure love, played with me, and loved me.

Marc was "banned" from the room because I didn't think I could handle him, as well as myself, during his last moments. Bill came in and said, "Sorry, I couldn't fix him." As he looked down, I saw his tears drop on Tuff. I asked him to reassure me that we had done everything. He did. He was the best dog I've ever known. Born an "old soul," he was never misbehaved. I will always remember our special times.

Years ago...camping

Too Much to Say

I am going to make a better effort at staying up to date on my blog. I have been incredibly busy with the new house, training for the marathon, and teaching. The new house is amazing. We have officially completed 5 rooms and a major hallway (which included stairs). Today, we scraped off a ton of popcorn (yep, on the ceiling) in the sunroom and kitchen. The kitchen remodel will begin officially in two weeks, but we are doing some major drywall work before the hole gets cut in the wall and the floor tile gets taken out. Simultaneous to the kitchen and sunroom remodel, there is a half bath that is being gutted and redone. That is more my project and the wallpaper came down yesterday. Fun. Here is a photo of our bedroom "before" and "after".

Marathon training is well on its way. I officially have a 22, 24, and 20 mile long run left. I completed my 20 miler yesterday feeling really good. My last 4 weeks have been 15.5, 17, 18, and then 20 milers. I rest this week, build up a bit more, and then taper. Although I have worked hills to death, they still aren't coming as easy as I had hoped by now. They are on my list for this week AGAIN! My long runs are averaging 8:40ish pace. I have normal long run aches, but really nothing from my hip to even bother mentioning. After I complete this marathon (June 11), I will cut back to half marathon distance and mountain biking and try to find some races that are around that. I have really picked up on mountain biking because of all of the trails by my house.

This school year has been the best ever. My colleagues, as well as my students, have been amazing. I feel privileged to say I work with friends. My students are all a great bunch too. I will miss them when it is time to move in just 5 short weeks. I am in the process of "going for" distinguished within my district. This has added a bit of extra work, but mostly I just have to be ready for a team to come observe me at any given moment. I am excited to go through this experience and will hopefully be a better teacher for it.

There is more...