As we approach the end of September I've been reflecting on the extraordinary people our children are. Some are resilient in their focus in school while home is in a bit of turmoil. Some have walked in determined to make this their best year. Others have set goals to be a better friend to classmates. Still others are on a quest to achieve something elusive: mastery of math facts, reading a certain number of books, writing with fewer mistakes and better details. Their needs and dreams vary as wildly as their personalities!
In my new role as the Basic Skills 3rd through 6th Grade ELA teacher, I'm privileged to see the growth and maturity across ages and grades. Oddly, while the student changes, there remains a constant through time and grades: passion! They are an impassioned bunch of students. No, I don't always understand those passions - YouTube, Fortnite, tricks on skateboards. But make no mistake, they are passionate! These passions feed their energy for discovery.
"Discovery." That's teacher code for "learning." When we can feed their passions, they *want* to discover - or learn - about their world and how it fits together. Fortnite isn't just about playing the game. It's about strategy. It's about not giving up the first time it goes bad for you. Tricks on skateboards is about learning physics and math. YouTube isn't about watching videos. It's about making presentations engaging and meaningful. That's LEARNING.
And I'm really enjoying their learning journey so far!
~ Mr U
As usual, the last six weeks of 6th grade was a whirlwind. I am honestly not sure how everything that needed to get done actually got done. But I am grateful for the steadfast hands and friendship of my colleagues who kept me motivated and driving forward. We will add this year's adventure to the long list of reasons I love T.E.S.
I am very excited to announce that I have been slotted into a new position for the 2018-2019 school year! For the first time in my teaching career, I will not be a classroom teacher. I am will be joining Mrs.Mulholland as a Basic Skills Teacher in grades 3-6. While the news was unexpected, as I've settled into the idea, I am growing increasingly energized by the opportunity to impact students across multiple grade levels in my area of expertise - English / Language Arts. I receive the added gift of being able to work with 4 incredible teachers with tremendously different teaching and classroom management styles.
LEARNING is ENERGIZING. Deepening my knowledge of the ELA curriculum, broadening my repertoire of teaching tools and student engagement techniques has me READY right now to jump into September!
Some summer relaxation...well, uh, sorta.
The day after graduation we started a massive home renovation endeavor. We gutted our entire kitchen and ripped up every floor in the house except for the two bathrooms. In about two weeks it was done but for the kitchen backsplash. As a dear friend used to say: "HOLY HANNAH!" That was an experience. If you've ever done something as foolish as this, you know that the projects you start with are not the only ones you end up with. So, now I have to re-drywall a room in which we took down wood paneling and build headers for five bedroom closets where disgusting floor-to-ceiling doors once hung. YIKES!
Here are a couple of pics of how I spent my first two weeks of summer break.
The AFTER photos:
And this is our living room, before the fresh coat of paint and baseboard.
It hasn't been all bad, though. Just before the end of the year, I saw my oldest boy, Thomas (pictured in the old kitchen, too) lead the cadence for his color guard in the Barnegat Memorial Day Parade and receive a medal for his work in the Navy JROTC program at Barnegat. He received a promotion as well, jumping a couple of command positions due to his leadership. Very proud of him!
(Sorry for the 90* rotation. Not sure how to fix this in OnCourse!)
I also got to umpire a game behind the plate at First Energy Field in Lakewood. No, it wasn't a BlueClaws game, but it sure was an incredible experience being in a minor league park and calling a game!
Just after July 4th, Barnegat LL's 9U tournament began. I love this tournament! I love watching all*star caliber ball, passion for the game, and laughter on the field as these kids play the game driven by a deep love for the sport as well as a deep respect for each other.
And though oriented the wrong way, this picture ^^^ moment moved me deeply with the National Anthem ringing in the air. Just a gorgeous opening day on Saturday, July 7!
A lot more baseball to come in this tournament, as well in USABL where I recently started umpiring. Four days of a professional workshop the first week of August in NYC. Mr Calderwood's TeachMeetNJ 1-day tech conference in Toms River. Tutoring 3 students. And those looming home projects!
No quiet summer here :)
Can't wait to see you all in September!
~ Mr. U
Connect with me:
- email (always the fastest point of contact): email@example.com
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- Twitter: @MrU_ishere
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