Monday, February 14
Today was a combination of hearing students talk about how excited they were about Valentine’s Day, and hearing others complain about its existence. One of the things that I love most about my job is interacting with students and truly getting to know them as individuals. Every student is so unique, and being able to understand and work with them as individuals is what makes my job extremely rewarding. Today their individuality came out as they expressed their views on the holiday, and I enjoyed hearing all of their different opinions! It’s amazing how something as simple as this can make the day so interesting! Aside from the fun of the holiday, classes went well and I feel like we had a great start to the week!
Tuesday, February 15
I am so thankful that there are days like today that help keep me excited about my job! From beginning to end, the day was upbeat and fun, and I truly value days like these. One of the highlights of the day was traveling to the sub-district FFA public speaking contest after school. Students from Butler and Clermont counties competed in 4 different public speaking competitions, ranging from presenting a memorized speech written by the student, to being given 30 minutes to write a speech on-site, then present it in front of a panel of judges. The Edgewood/Butler Tech FFA was represented by a student in the Prepared Public Speaking contest. The student had written a 7-minute speech about the need for those in the agriculture industry to inform the general public about what we do and why we do it. I believe in the message of his speech, and am encouraged that as a student he already recognizes communication as important to the success of the agriculture industry. I grew up with parents who regularly communicated the agriculture story to others. Whether they were taking animals to a local school for the children to learn about, or participating in Ag Day awareness programs through the Farm Bureau, I grew up watching my parents constantly share their message with the community. I am excited to see one of my students begin his efforts at doing the same!
Wednesday, February 16
Today was a busy day with very little down time during the day, and several meetings after school. However, what struck me the most about today was a combination of interactions that I had with some of my freshman students. During my fifth period class, students were learning about basic animal care and management practices, such as dehorning, castration, ear-notching, and the use of battery cages, gestation crates, etc. We explored which species the practice is commonly used with, as well as what it is and why it is used. Ultimately, I hoped to help students understand that there is a reason for everything that a farmer does with his/her animals, and that ultimately such practices are used in the best interest of the animals. For the last practice to be discussed, I showed a picture of a farrowing crate that had a sow nursing her pigs. I expected that some students may not be familiar with a farrowing crate, but I did not expect that I would have a student in the class who did not understand the concept of nursing. I took a few moments to explain to him what was happening in the picture, and that all mammals have the ability to nurse their offspring. He was still confused, so we took some more time to talk about it. All the while, there are other students in the room who not only understand the concept of nursing, but who also understand every other concept presented in class today. This situation, I believe, represents one of the greatest challenges that I have every day as a teacher. All students come to my classroom with different backgrounds, different levels of knowledge and interest, and different views of the world around them. While I appreciate their individuality, these differences make it nearly impossible to create a lesson in which all students learn something new and leave with the same level of understanding. My interactions with these students opened my eyes once again and kept me thinking about this challenge all day long!
Thursday, February 17
Some days start out with a degree of chaos, and others start out peacefully. Today I was encouraged when the day started out with a pleasant surprise! A student who was absent yesterday came into my classroom approximately 10 minutes before class started. We started a conversation and I quickly learned that the student had no idea what the protocol was to follow after an absence. He showed me the long excusal note that his mom had written, and I helped guide him through what he needed to do up in the school office. This situation made my day! So many students miss school for such unimportant reasons, and many don’t bother to follow-up with a note or make up class work that they miss. This student genuinely didn’t even know how to be absent! I wish more students had his dedication to coming to school! The day ended well, too. After school the FFA chapter held interviews for students who are running to be an FFA officer for the coming year. The interviews are always exciting, as students truly care about their performance. This year the interview committee consisted of four volunteers. Each officer candidate participated in an interview that consisted of eight questions. It was fun to see their nervous excitement leading up to the interviews, as well as their relief and self-reflection following the interviews. The candidates will also be evaluated based on an application that they have submitted, input provided by their teachers, and a vote of the chapter members. The election process should be finished by March 1st. Until then, the candidates will undoubtedly be nervous and hoping for the best!
Friday, February 18
When I first began teaching, a mentor told me to beware of a full moon. While I initially didn’t take her seriously, over the years the students have proven to me that she is right! Today was no exception – with a full moon tonight, the students were extremely active and wanted nothing to do with the structure that we keep at school! Regardless, we had a productive day and we are all ready for the weekend! I remember growing up when my dad would disappear to the porch or to the basement. Often times if he was missing, so was the phone. I never understood what my dad could talk about for so long with his “farmer friends.” Especially since those that he talked to the most were at the opposite end of the state! Now that I’m an adult, I certainly understand the value of talking to others in your profession. I learn so much from other teachers, which in turn makes me a better teacher. Today I had the opportunity to “disappear” with a two of my colleagues who have been a source of support and friendship for me over my years of teaching. We met at Panera and enjoyed conversation about our profession until well past the time the restaurant closed (and in doing so, got to take home the leftover bakery goods that the restaurant had!). We spent a great deal of time sharing our concerns and fears about the profession. Education stands to have major changes in funding, structure, and delivery at the local, state, and national levels in the very near future. While I dread changes that will impact me, I truly fear those that will hurt our students. It certainly is an interesting time to be an educator, and the coming years will be a challenge. I feel blessed to have such great colleagues to have conversations about these topics with!
Saturday, February 19
Today is the start of a three-day weekend! With the extra day, I feel less pressure to get school work done. So, today I will take time for myself – do some cleaning, get a haircut, start a new book, and I might even watch a little TV
Sunday, February 20
One of the main reasons that I appreciate three-day weekends is that I do not have to follow the typical Sunday routine. I did go to school to care for the rabbits, as I did yesterday. And I did grade some papers. But other than that, I ran personal errands and did some cleaning. Although we won’t be in school, I’ll definitely be back to work tomorrow getting ready for the week ahead!