Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adventures in First Grade

So, I have decided to include several blogs throughout the semester documenting solely my experiences in the classroom. My first day in the classroom was last Monday, so I have so far been in the class 3 times. Can I just say those kids are awesome? I think I have finally found my calling... first grade! Let me just share some of the gems from my short time there so far. My first day there I was introducing myself. They had heard from the teacher that my name was Miss Kirchner. One girl asked, "Can we call you Miss C?" "Well, you can call me Miss K." "Oh! I thought it started with a C!" This goes on as she laughs at her own silliness. Then the questions started pouring in. They kept asking how old I was (I could hear them talking amongst themselves making guesses such as 15, 16, 17, or 18), but their teacher told them we don't ask adults those questions, especially ladies. I told them that I started college over 8 years ago! Their jaws dropped and their eyes got real big. "That's right! I started college before you were even born!" That was the craziest thing they had ever heard, especially since it meant I finished school and decided to go back to get another degree. They also asked me if I had a boyfriend, when was I going to get married, when was I going to be a parent, etc. So funny! I also told them I had a couple nephews their age and that I loved spending time with them. A little boy chimed in, "So you knew you'd love spending time with us!" Hehehe :) Later that day (yes, this is still the first day) I overheard one little boy during class telling someone at his table, "That's not nice. We don't call people annoying." "But my sister doesn't listen to me!" "That's still no reason to call her annoying." This is coming from a 6 year old. That kid is going places. After lunch I also had like 4 different kids come up and just give me hugs. 10 points for me!

The next day I was there the kids kept giving me stickers, lol. I had 4 different stickers on my sweater and put another one on my visitor badge. When it comes to actual instructional time, I've had a blast working with the reading group. Those kids are so smart and excited about what they do. They are working on researching animals and writing complete sentences about what they learn to put into a class book. While they were researching I had half a dozen kids crowd around me asking for help finding certain information or wanting me to show them on the map where their animal could be found. I loved every minute of it! Seriously, they keep you occupied and make you feel valued and useful. They make me feel like I don't need validation from adults anymore, they validate me plenty! I also got to do a read aloud with them at the end of the day. We read "How Deep is the Sea?", which is about a penguin who tries to find that out. I got to sit in the rocking chair with all these excited little first graders sitting around me on the floor. I had no nervousness or anxiety; I knew they weren't judging me and didn't need to feel embarrassed about how silly I decided to read the book. Sure they got a little loud sometimes and got distracted, but I'll take it!

The funny story on day 3 actually involved my teacher, Miss D., rather than myself. It was during the math class. Now, the math class is very small, only 10 students or so, and is mostly those struggling a little bit more (still bright as brass though). That day they were learning about measuring and were being introduced to using a ruler. Miss D. had a ruler in her hand (just one of the simple wooden ones) and in an attempt to get the attention of one particular little boy who tends to struggle with his attention span, she hit the ruler on the edge of the desk. That got his attention. Shortly after though we noticed he had his head down on his desk and wouldn't look up. The teacher asked if everything was ok and if he needed anything. He just shook his head so we figured we'd just give him a minute. Once the class was working on their assignment, Miss D. talked with this little boy to see what was the matter. He looked at her and it looked like he was about ready to cry. I could only see him pointing to her and saying something to which she responded, "Oh sweetie, did you think I was going to hit you with the ruler? I would never ever EVER do that!" She goes on to explain she was just trying to get his attention and she was sorry she scared him and she wouldn't do it again. It was a bit of a heart breaking moment. But what makes this ultimately adorable was what happened later in the day. While the kids are getting ready to go to music this little boy tells Miss D. he left something on her desk under the paper towel. She said she was excited to see the surprise when she got back from dropping them off at music. When she came back she saw it was a smiley face cookie he left for her. Even though his feelings were hurt he left her a cookie! I just thought that was so freaking cute. That's something I've always admired about kids, they don't hold grudges and they're generally quick to forgive.

That sums up my experiences with those kiddos so far. I also subbed for a 3rd grade class this morning, which was rather painful due to a ton of behavioral problems (but that's another story) and it just made me appreciate my little first graders that much more. I was subbing at the same school so I even went down during my lunch to pop in and say hi. They were getting ready for recess and I told them how awesome they were and how they behave better than some of the 3rd graders. They were so proud of themselves :) Anyway, here's looking forward to many more adventures!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting Warmer...

So my first semester of grad school is done and I'm on to the next semester. I did pretty well my first semester, so here's hoping to keep up the good work. I had a good experience working with the 5th/6th graders last semester. They were pretty funny kids. During science with the 5th graders one day the teacher was talking about Mono lake. One boy in class just went, "Hey, my sister had mono once!" It was freaking hilarious. The teacher did good at maintaining her composure; she's probably used to comments like that. I got to teach a a science lesson to 2 different 6th grade classes as well as an advanced math class for 6th graders. This semester I got my placement in a first grade classroom. Yay!! I'm thinking that's the grade I want to end up teaching, so I'm excited to have the chance to work in a 1st grade classroom. I'll also be submitting my preferences for student teaching in the fall. I'm hoping to stay in Bloomington; I don't really want to have a long commute. There are some places that are 30-45 minutes away. I've started looking for a month to month lease somewhere with a friend of mine in the branch. Once December comes and I finish my student teaching, I'm free! I don't have any actual plans yet on where I want to end up teaching. I know the midwest isn't exactly full of teaching jobs right now. I've looked at Maryland/D.C. and North Carolina. I've heard those are good places for beginning teachers. I also like the idea of the east coast a lot better than the west, even if there are more liberals, haha. I'm not gonna lie, I also like the idea of the D.C. area because from what I hear it's a good place for LDS young single adults. I think a lot of BYU students from the business school go out there. There aren't exactly a lot of dating opportunities here in Bloomington, but I figured as much when I moved out here. I'm working on getting my substitute teaching license right now so that I can at least work a little to bring in some income. I really hate money. School is expensive, I'll be happy when it's over (in the sense of me being the student). Before I went back to school I was kind of missing it, but being back in school I realize I was more specifically missing BYU. I really liked my experience there, not necessarily school in general. Well, the end is in sight. Once I get through this semester it'll just be one psychology class in the summer and then my student teaching in the fall. Crazy! This time last year I didn't even know I'd be going to grad school. Funny how life can change so quickly. I guess I always figured big life changes would take time, but this one to go to grad school was actually pretty fast. Guess that means it was meant to be. I think that's good enough for a quick update.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I don't know where to start, except at the beginning

It's definitely been a busy few months since I last posted. Dad and Stacey came out and helped me drive back to Ohio from Utah. Talk about exhausting, especially since I was already an emotional wreck. It was very similar to how I felt when I moved from Ohio to Utah. But now I'm in Bloomington, Indiana. That drive was a lot less stressful. Dad, Dave, and little Will helped me with that move. It's definitely pretty here, but it still hasn't "grown" on me like everyone says it will. Too many one way streets, which make me feel claustrophobic, and 4 way stops. And I swear, I haven't been to an area yet where the speed limit is over 30. Ridiculous. School started a couple weeks ago. I think it will be a really good program. We'll be assigned a teacher/school next month so we can begin getting our in class experience. There are only 16 of us in the program, and being full time we take all of our classes together. I like working with most of them. It is going to be a challenge though being back in the land of the "Gentiles". I can already tell I'm one of the few conservatives in the class. Just a couple days ago in my human diversity class we were doing this color personality test. I immediately knew I was gold since it's characteristics were organized, responsible, faithful, conservative views on love and marriage, etc. I was surprised there were 3 other girls in that one as well. That made me feel a little less alone. Until one of them was reading the qualities out loud and got to the one about marriage, stopped, and said "I just want to clarify that I don't agree with this at all." I shouldn't be surprised. What I was surprised about though was when I was talking to a friend of mine after institute about my class on Wednesday. See, in class we had someone come and talk about the legal issues in the classroom. The topic of homosexuality came out (discrimination) and that's when I could tell I was probably the only conservative. In class they're of the belief that you have to set aside your own beliefs and morals. Things like, reading books to your students with same sex parents rather than just the traditional mother and father. As you can guess, I obviously disagree. Anyway, I was telling this friend of mine (who is LDS) that I disagree with doing that. She didn't see the problem with it because "kids are going to be exposed to it anyway". She's also of the belief (as I am not) that sex education should be kept in schools, referring to things like safe sex and birth control because "kids will be exposed anyway". I feel it's the parent's responsibility to teach their kids those things, not the school system's. To argue with her though, I said "Well maybe we should legalize marijuana since people will do it anyway." She actually agreed that we should legalize it. I told her Christ wouldn't legalize it. Her response was, "Well, no, but we could tax it." Not even kidding. Here was an otherwise good, strong member of the church telling me that even though Christ would do something differently, we shouldn't follow for political reasons. I just don't understand that. I don't know about you, but I can't separate my personal, religious beliefs from what I think about the world. My religious beliefs make up who I am. Another example I'll take from the scriptures based on our Sunday school lesson today. We read in Alma about Moroni's title of liberty and how the Nephites went to war with the Lamanites to preserve their families, liberties, and freedom of religion. These were things that they were willing to shed blood over. They did not delight in the shedding of blood, but families and religion were more important. They had to stand up for what they believed in. They weren't going to let the Lamanites come in and tell them what to believe or how to worship. And the Lord blessed them for their faithfulness. Why is it any different for us today? Shouldn't we as faithful Latter Day Saints stand up for our belief in the family and our right to worship without letting the world tell us what to do? In Helaman's epistle to Moroni he stated, "And now they were determined to conquer in the place or die". They risked their lives to protect their families and their beliefs. If we truly believe the scriptures are meant for our day, why should it be any different for us? Anyway, to jump topic to something less passionate... I've been going to the YSA branch. I'd say there's probably about 50 people, so relatively small. Quite different from Provo wards. But I find that to be a good thing. I've made friends will different people in the branch and it's definitely not as cliquish as my previous singles wards have been. The church building is only like 2 minutes away, which is really nice. And we actually have our own institute building as well; also nice. The institute building is actually not far from the education building on campus where all my classes are, so I can just park there and walk without having to buy a stupid parking pass. We're studying the New Testament (Harmony of the Gospels) in institute. It's been pretty good. I've also started going to a class on Tuesday afternoons called Teachings of the current 1st presidency. I've only gone once, but it seems like a really good class. I don't know if I'll be able to go though after we get assigned classes to work in. So that's what's new with me. Just trying to adjust and figure things out. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Win!

Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like I'll be moving to Indiana this fall! Well, technically this summer. I received an email from the head professor at Bloomington giving me "unofficial" notification that the faculty has recommended me for admission into the Masters in Elementary Education program! So while technically it's not official yet, I think it's a pretty done deal. I'm finally going to get out of Utah! Now, I'm not gonna lie, my Utah life hasn't actually been that bad. I've had a lot of good times here. But it's still Utah, haha. I'll finally be moving back to the good ole Midwest. Now, I've gotta admit I'm still scared as heck. It's starting to sink in more and more that I'm leaving my friends and I'll have to start from scratch in Indiana. But, seeing as I've done that before I guess I can do it again. Besides, there's really only a handful of friends in Utah that I'd actually actively stay in touch with- the Jensens, Melanie, and Ben. I have other friends and people I'll talk to, but only a few strong ties. I'll still try to be social and make the most of the summer though. I'll probably be spending a lot of time at Seven Peaks, haha. I'm mostly just glad that things seem to finally be coming together. I remember trying to get into grad school for physiology and that just was not going to work out. Just thinking about it stressed me out and made me feel like I'd never be good at it and I'd be the dumbest person in the program. But with this one, I actually think I can do just as well as anybody else. People I've talked to about me becoming a teacher all think I'd be a good teacher. And I think they genuinely mean it, lol. I get excited about the idea every time on my way to work when I drive by the elementary school. I've had a lot of crazy ideas for my life, but this one actually seems to fit. It's taken longer than expected and a lot of trial and error to figure it out, but hey, better late than never right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

So I finally took my Praxis exam on Saturday. Yay! I actually feel pretty good about it. I already know my scores for the Reading/Math portions- 183/184. Indiana was asking for like a 172/174 so I'm at least safe there. The writing was split into two parts, multiple choice and essay. They grade them together though so it'll be about 3 weeks before I find out how I scored overall. When I was filling out what schools to send my scores to, I realized I only applied to one school, haha. I know that normally you should apply to a bunch of different schools, but I really couldn't find another school that offered what Indiana does; that is a Masters degree when you didn't get your Bachelor's in El Ed. I'm surprisingly not too worried though. I figure I got the impression to move in this direction, I did what I could, and if God wants me to do it He'll make sure I get in. No worries.
I took the test at the same place I took the GRE and man, have they gotten tight with security to make sure nobody cheats. I had to turn out my jacket and jean pockets, and pat my butt down so they could see I didn't have anything in my back pockets. Then they used a metal detector across my front and back. Probably because so many people nowadays are sketching notes onto metal slabs that they tie around their stomachs... or to make sure you don't have a cell phone.

So there you have it. One step closer to what I'm actually going to be doing with my life. My big brother Dave should be happy to know that he'll at least be in his career before me, haha :) Just for fun, I want to remember all the different careers paths I had considered at one point or another: lawyer, doctor (pediatrician), PA, University professor, cancer researcher, forensic scientist, librarian, HR rep, and now elementary teacher. I had even thought half heartedly about being a geneticist, clinical counselor, and museum curator. If you go back before college I had even cookier ideas like storm chaser. Everyone in jr. high wanted to be a storm chaser; I think that's when the movie Twister came out and we were learning about tornadoes... I've definitely been one to bounce around. Better that than getting stuck in a career I have no love for though. I suppose I'm a bit backwards since I typically don't like change and like things to stay simple, but I also don't like being stationary and feeling like I'm not progressing. I can't be the only one like that though, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Ok, so I'm gonna go on a little venting streak right now. Are you familiar with the sayings "Please" and "Thank you"? I mean seriously, I thought those were concepts taught as soon as a kid learned how to talk. Barney even has a song about it. I was taught to say please and thank you so you'd think other people have been too. It's really not that hard to do or remember. Especially for adults! It should be second nature to say please and thank you. I can understand kids may still be learning, but there comes a point where you should already know to say it. This venting comes because someone at work "asked", "Can you unlock the conference room?" No please. And after I did, no thank you. I'm even going to ignore that fact that technically she just asked me if I was able... We're talking about an adult here who can't even say please or thank you. If adults can't seem to follow through with the polite social norms, how can we expect kids to do so? Seriously, it seems hypocritical to me for adults to get away without saying please, but tell their kids they need to. I'm sorry, but it's just rude and rudeness is something I have a low tolerance for. I try to be a nice, helpful person but if people aren't showing me any amount of respect I'm less inclined to go out of my way any more than I have to.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of people out there who still say please and thank you, who open doors, and will pick up something you've dropped. It just really irks me when the basics are forgotten. I'm not asking you to make a banner or a dramatic gesture; just say please. If the people I work with were kids, I wouldn't do anything for them until they said please. And after I helped them I'd go, "Now what do we say?" I get the feeling though that would cause more tension rather than relieve it... though it'd still be funny as heck.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wait for it...

My application is submitted! Woohoo! I have finally finished my application to Indiana University in Bloomington to the Elementary Education licensure program. I asked my HR boss Marjolein and my old security boss Sterling to be my references since it's been a few years since I was in school (not that I was good at talking to professors then anyway...). What's funny is when I asked them if they'd write references for me both of them mentioned that our company has a place in Bloomington if I wanted to transfer and still have a job. Score! That location is only like 10 minutes away from campus too. Even though I may not end up doing HR afterall, I gotta admit that ModusLink has been good to me. I'm lucky to have gotten to work with such cool people. Granted there have been some wackos, but you find those anywhere :)

Oh, I realize I haven't written anything regarding my transition from a "maybe" to a "more certain". I guess it started last week when I was reading my scriptures. Sometimes I like to go up on campus and do my scripture study in the library, since I love the library. I was thinking about what I was going to do and as I was just bouncing around in my scriptures I keep finding ones like, "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?" That reminded me of the time probably last summer when I was at the temple. I hadn't been thinking about my career but all of a sudden it had popped into my head that I should be a teacher. I had put that thought aside though when I got this HR job because it seemed like such a good opportunity. And it is, just not for me. I'm finally feeling a sense of clarity! I guess we'll see what happens :)

Now, I'm not sure if I'll get accepted for this fall or not, but I may move to Indiana in the fall anyway. I've decided there's not much left for me here. Brett and Janille are the only real friends I have left around here. All of my close friends are married. I've gotten everything I can out of Utah. I figure if I get accepted to IU, I'll move probably beginning/mid August. If not, maybe move there anyway in September/October. I'm just kinda seeing how things go. I'm trying to save up my money and figure out the easiest way to move out there. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. I'd definitely feel more at ease if I had a job lined up for me though :) Ahh, to move back to a place where trees are indigenous...

Indiana University in Bloomington

Second only to the great Ohio State!