Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I just wanted to post that I am having a great day today. It's the start of a new quarter, which, as a lot of you know, means that there is a LOT to do with finishing up grading from one quarter while starting over with another. However, grades are officially posted!

 I miss my students from my other classes. It was very strange to have the new ones come in on Monday. However, last night I came up with a lesson plan for my Creative Writing class today that I think they are having a lot of fun with! We are lucky enough to have  a poet, Patrick Hicks (look him up, he is really good!), come in and complete a workshop with my class for the next two days. Because I wanted them to get to know who he is as a poet, the students were split up into groups and each given a different poem that he has written. They needed to find examples of figurative language and create a poster with quotes, pictures, and symbols that relate to the poem. Each group got to read their poem to the class and present their poster. It seemed like they really enjoyed the project. It was the first time this quarter that some of my students actually showed an interest in poetry!

Thought I would share an exciting moment from a first-year perspective. This is definitely something that I will need to look back on when I'm having a not-so-great day...

Monday, October 15, 2012


I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that, yes, teaching is a difficult thing to do, but I feel that my past few posts have reflected more on challenges than anything else. This post is just to reinforce the fact that working with kids is extremely fun and rewarding. Just last Friday I got to exit the middle school building to all of my football students chanting "HAMILTON! HAMILTON!" And on Thursday I had one of my 8th graders ask if they could continue to be in my English classes next year when they enter high school. I'm definitely forming some pretty positive student-teacher relationships, and for that, I'm very grateful.

Thank you to those who have commented. I appreciate your advice and opinions and definitely think about them more than once when it comes to improving my classroom management skills (which, I know, is an adventure in itself). I think that I will have to make my first parent phone call this week if a certain someone's behavior does not improve. For some reason, I'm nervous to talk to the parents. I can't help but feel that students' behaviors are often a reflection of their teacher's behaviors.

This week is MEA. That means a short week! Happy long weekend, teachers!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

U-Surped Me

I have three very loud and opinionated students in my 8th grade Language Arts classroom. They're the type that ask unrelated questions while I'm trying to have a discussion, or blurt out their feelings in inappropriate times. I want to put their leadership to good use. I know that they could change the entire atmosphere of my classroom. I've tried giving them class jobs, such as being in charge of handing out books or revealing today's journal, but it usually backfires and the class becomes distracted. I knew it was getting bad today when I asked one of them to be in charge of lining up the class and another student asked me "who's teaching this class, Ms. Hamilton?"

How do I get them on my side? It's not that they don't like me, it's that they know they can have attention from the rest of the class when they act the way they do. I can only remove them from class for so long without having to catch them up on what they miss when they're taking a "time out" in the hallway.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friend or Foe

Yesterday I had a student tell me that he considers me more of a friend than a teacher. Uh-oh. I've always been a strong advocate of the teacher being a TEACHER, not a friend that tries to fit in with the "cool crowd." it okay for my students to think that way? I set boundaries in my classroom, and I set boundaries within my student-teacher relationships. I want the classroom to feel like a community, but I also want them to know that I'm the head of that community. Someone tell me, where is that line drawn? I thought I was already drawing it...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week One and Done?

Yesterday (Sunday) I had quite the epiphany. I felt oh so accomplished after successfully (for the most part) completing my first week of school as a teacher that I forgot to stop and think of all the work still to be done for the following week.

Wait...I'm doing this for an entire year?

For some reason, maybe because I'm the youngest teacher in the school, I'm still in Student Teacher mode - work 8 weeks and then graduate to the next one. Suddenly, the weeks, days, and class periods seemed much, much longer. Planning for an entire year - it's something that I've always known would happen, but have never been able to completely wrap my head around. For all of you seasoned teachers out there - bravo. You are amazing.

SO, if anyone has any advice at all for planning for large spans of time, I would gladly take it. I struggle the most with the fact that plans can change so rapidly. Setting specific dates in the future seems so...pointless sometimes.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Workshop Woes

First of all, I want to apologize to any former teacher I've ever had. I understand now how much work you put into that first week of school, and I'm sorry that I never appreciated what you were doing. In fact, I'm sure you could read "I'd rather not be here right now" all over my face when I walked into your classroom on the first day of school.

Alright, I feel a little better now. My name is Ms. Hamilton, and I am a first-year, fresh-out-of-college, high school English teacher. Everyone always tells me that your first year is your best and worst year - you work your hardest, but you learn the most about yourself. I've already learned a few key things:

1. I am NOT a bulletin board person. Part of my day will be spent with 8th graders at the middle school, and let me tell you how much my room doesn't look like a middle school room. I love posters, and murals, and billions of pictures. But the idea of cutting out individual letters to spell out "8th Grade English" makes me think that middle school and elementary teachers are saints.

2. I AM a binder person. Plastic paper sleeves are going to save my life, as is the three-hole-punch. It's amazing how many pieces of paper will fit into a 3" binder, and I intend to use all 3 of those inches. I've never considered myself organized, but if there were a time to change that, this is the year. I'm sure there are many teachers reading this and laughing right now...who has time to be organized that first year, right? I'll let you know how it goes.

3. I feel very young all of a sudden. Yes, I did just graduate college, which puts me at a whopping 22 years of age. I'll be teaching students as close in age as me as 4 years. The best advice I've heard so far about this situation came from my aunt Maria: "Walk in there like you're 30, girl, and don't let them think anything different."

So. T-minus 5 days left until the first day of school. If I have any time left over after working with students, teachers, and principals, I intend to use this blog as an archive for experiences, resources, and words of advice and support for future teachers.