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Me, the anti-blogger….

The first year of teaching is a B-I-tich.

Don’t get me wrong- I am LOVING my classroom, my adorable first graders, and my school.  I love the smell of newly sharpened pencils and the feel of new paper fresh out of the copy machine with tomorrow’s homework.


I have the first year teacher “curse” that everyone gets- I have had an ear infection, pink eye and the stomach flu all within the first 3 weeks of school. I have heard that first and 2nd year teachers get EVERY sickness that their kids have- then become almost immune to everything after the 4th year.

I am in my 4th week, and I am doing OK so far- the honeymoon is TOTALLY over for the kids- the “he pushed me,” whining, crabbyness is starting to rear its ugly head– all the things that 6 year olds do when they don’t get enough sleep.

They are saying ADORABLE things too… that keeps me excited about my job.

Regarding my heath and weight, I have a bit of good news. I have been getting “wow- have you lost weight” from lots of people who haven’t seen m in a few months- I would guess that sweating my @ss off in my non-air conditioned classroom, only eating one (small) meal a day, and climbing stairs 4 times a day probably has a lot to do with it. :)

I have been trying to walk on the treadmill 2 times a week for 30 minutes too.

Baby steps.

I was invited to join a Nike+ pilot here in Chicago to test an iPhone app that gives rewards for working out. I successfully completed the first challenge (GO ME!) but completely blew off the 2nd one (was not too interested in the “prize” for completing it). This week is a new awesome power songs, so I am going to try to complete it.

Just (FINALLY!) ordered my free case of popchips from Fitbloggin… see what I mean about being busy!?!? I am excited for them to arrive.

OK, I am off to finish my lesson plans for next week (look at me ahead of the game!) and get to bed. I leave you with a “finished” pic of my classroom- I think it looks so good! It currently is ALOT messier– 20 1st graders will do that! ;)

[caption id="attachment_1820" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Classroom- After"]my classroom- after[/caption]

First day of school

Soooooooooooo….. Monday is the first day of my first year of teaching. I am freaked out, tired, anxious, excited and sore from moving stuff in my classroom.


This is “in progress” from Tuesday- it looks a lot different from this now, thank goodness. I have a lot more work to do tomorrow. Agghh!

Where I’ve Been- Part 2 AKA: Why I am PROUD

Congratulate me- I am a Master!! :)

Well, I have a Master’s Degree, at least. I am definitely not a Master teacher yet. Notice I said YET. lol

I am proud: After 1 year of hard work, frustration, jubilation, laughter, tears, 28 Kindergarten students, 10 (other teacher’s) classroom visits, 4 weeks of lead teaching, countless hours of studying, 6 major papers, a spring break trip to Mexico with 7 of my besties, my grandpa and 16 year-old cat passing away, my friends wondering where I disappeared to, missing Blogher but having a blast at Fitbloggin… I made it.

NLU graduation was today. Even though I decided not to spend the 70 bucks for the cap and gown (I am a poor teacher now, you know!!), I spent the morning watching some of my friends walk on the streaming video online. It was great to see Rahm Emanuel (Chicago’s new mayor) talk so highly (and for SO LONG!!) about the program I went through and how tell my 68 other program graduates that we are the future of teaching.

I am proud that I have a first grade position at a school in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of Chicago and that I am going to be able to bring my fun personality and strong work ethic to my kids.

I am proud that I pulled off a 4.0 grade point average for the first time in my life. I worked hard, asked for help, and met each hard assignment head on. I persevered and did the best that I could— and it PAID OFF!! :)

My summer is pretty short this year- I will work for a “year round” school for the 2012 school year- the first day for teachers to report is August 1. The first day for the students is August 8th. I aso have professional development this summer for 3 weeks to help with guided reading, math and numeracy skills and a bootcamp for new teachers.

So yeah, short summer.

I am kinda freaking out right now- I haven’t seen my new room yet and I have NO IDEA how I am going to decorate it when I am there. I know it will all work out, but I am a planner and without seeing my new room, I can’t plan for what I need.

OK gotta run! AJ

The graduate :)

[caption id="attachment_1777" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="The graduate...:)"]Me after graduation[/caption]

Stress, Meet Stress Eating

First- did I meet my weekly goals for the day?

  1. Post my food journals (whatever they may be) everyday before 11:30pm. (CHECK!)
  2. Allow myself one 12oz diet soda per day. (CHECK!)
  3. Eat breakfast everyday. (CHECK!)

And now the (Semi) bad news: Dinner tonight was ATROCIOUS! 43 points in one meal!!!!!!!! HOLY CRAP! I stress ate* with the best of them-




I drank alcohol people!! :(

I walked in STARVING- lesson number 1 on how not to eat healthy- walk into a bar, stressed out and join your friends who are ALSO stressed out and, oh, don’t forget they are all people who do not need to worry about their weight. Then add drinking to the mixture.

But, I need to give myself credit where credit is due:

  1. I tracked every morsel I put in my mouth, as I put it in. YES I DID.
  2. I pre-tracked, so even though I started with nachos, I still ate the caesar salad and grilled chicken before I started digging into the fries and ranch.
  3. Because I ordered and ate the salad FIRST, I did not eat as many fries as I thought I was going to. Ranch dressing too.
  4. I drank a crap-load of water at dinner to help me feel fuller faster.
  5. I stopped when I was feeling overfull.

But still, DAMN, 43 pts. I ate like 1/3 of what I WANTED to eat (or what I would have before WW) so I cannot even imagine writing down the points for that feast.

ONWARD and DOWNWARD (on the scale that is…)


*the reason for the stress eating was teaching a new class of students today, with no introduction by their normal teacher, for 2 hours not knowing any of their routines or names or anything. Think substitute teaching on steroids because it was a very rough inner-city school. I was fine in the long run, but it was a VERY l o n g 2 hours. Ranch dressing long. DRINKING long.

Monday, May 02, 2011

1  serving(s) chobani black cheery non fat greek yogurt
1  large banana(s)
1  grande Beverages Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte
2  Tbsp heavy whipping cream
Subtotal 10
1  cup(s) carrot(s)
1  cup(s) grapes
2  serving(s) seasoned rykrisps (2)
1  serving(s) Starkist fresh pouch tuna
2  serving(s) kraft miracle whip
8  fl oz Diet Vanilla Coke
Subtotal 6
1  serving(s) Fresh Salads (without dressing) Caesar Asiago Salad (side)
1  item(s) cooked chicken breast
20  fl oz Diet Coke
1  packet(s) Balsamic Vinaigrette
2  cup(s) apple cider, fermented
1  side portion(s) Salad Dressings Fat-Free Ranch Dressing
1  serving(s) Side Orders French Fries, Salted
4  item(s) cheese and bean nachos
Subtotal 43
1  cup(s) carrot(s)
1  serving(s) breakstone 2% cottage cheese
Subtotal 2
Food PointsPlus values total used 61
Food PointsPlus values remaining 0
No entries for activity.
Activity PointsPlus values earned 0
Check off these important items daily:
Milk & Milk Products
Fruit & vegetables
Healthy Oil

How Grad School totally screwed this blog…

Its really a very awesome story.

But I will save that for another time.

I haven’t been here for a while, and while I feel guilty, I don’t feel TOO guilty.

And I feel guilty for not feeling too guilty. You get the picture.

The past few months have been a roller coaster and while I usually hate riding them, I don’t ever want to get off this one.

Grad School is going great. I got all A’s again (another A in MATH!! WOOHOO!) and I am on break until January 14th.

Kindergarten is A.MA.ZING. I can’t tell you have unbelievable it is. While I am so tired I go to bed each night before 7 pm (really), I have so much fun each day that I can’t wait to go back.I wish I could share the kids with you. I have 28 brilliant, talented and hilarious students who amaze me every single day. They are helping me become the best darn teacher I can be. But without parent consent, I can’t tell you anything. Maybe when I am retired I will come back to this poor blog and share my experiences.

On the fitness front… yeah….no.

I am probably the heaviest I have EVER been. Yippee. I haven’t jumped on a scale (yet). I am too scared too. But I do know that my belly is really getting out of hand and I am starting to huff and puff as I go up stairs. Oh and I have an @ss shelf again. Damnit.

I can’t blame anyone else but myself. I have been burning the candle at both ends and have not been eating right, sleeping well or exercising. And as EVERYONE knows, sleep, healthy food and moving are the key components to losing weight.

I know what to do.

I know HOW to do it.

I KNOW I can make healthy choices and move more (other than the 12-17,000 steps a day I take while teaching).

Fitbloggin is in May and I really don’t want to huff and puff my way around the conference. And I want to atleast be able to complete the 5K without having a heart attack.

I think I am going to go back and read some of my old posts when I as actively losing weight and see if I can find some of the menus I used while I was in Weight Watchers. My breakfast and lunch eating is fine – no fast food at school. I either am too tired to make food when I get off work so I pick up a pizza or McDonald’s then sit on my butt all night, or I eat something fatty and salty at home and fall fast asleep at 6:30pm.  So to sum up, I am kinda a hot mess at dinner.  I bought a few boneless turkey breasts (fresh to minimize salt content, then froze them) so I can cook them up on Sundays and package up atleast 6-7 meals for dinner- my goal is to make 3-4 different meals with the turkey so I won’t be eating turkey {insert dish here} every night- I would get sick of that really quick.

I am also vowing to take better care of myself. I have new teacher syndrome right now- I have caught every cold the kids have had. I am taking vitamins and trying to get as much sleep as possible, but all those new germs are invading me. Even Emergen-C and Cold Calm have only been putting off the inevitable for a few days at a time.

I am currently visiting my grandma for the Christmas and we pretty much just sit and eat while I am here. While I need to relax and rejuvenate, I really need to get up and move. We are expecting 5-7 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, so we will probably be stuck inside again. Ick.

Anyway, I hope to get a few blog post stubs written up while I am here so I can atleast post once a week with minimal effort once I get back into the swing of school. The posts may look a lot a like (but with different information), but atleast I will be posting something, right?

Happy Holidays!!


And so it goes… MIA again…

I really am trying.


I WANT to blog here… I really do. But when life, elementary school, grad school, and everything else get in the way, blogging usualy loses.

I hate that blogging usually loses.

I start my third week of teaching tomorrow, and, so far, I am LOVING my job.

I wake up at 5:50 each morning ready to drive my 45 minute reverse commute to school, excited to see “my” kids.

I enjoy every minute I have with them- yes, even the ones that test my patience. :-)

I have been working on transitions- that is managing the 27 kids from the classroom to specials (gym, art, music, library), lunch, recess, and home. I read my first (then second) read-aloud story to the kids. I performed my first lunchroom duty.

I tied shoes, buttoned pants, and comforted the criers.

I taught buh, buh, buh “B”, and helped the kids write their names.

I sang songs.

I laughed with them.


I might be exhausted every night when I come home, and I may go to bed at like 8pm most nights (really, 8pm), but I really feel like I have found my calling. my TRUE CALLING.

I talked to my mentor Thursday and mentioned how I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t feel like I was “doing very well.” I keep forgetting things. For example, on Monday last week, I forgot to have the kids get their lunch tickets off the bench. I thought about it the whole night long. Tuesday, I MADE SURE they got their lunch cards but forgot something else that i had remembered the day before!!!!

This is only the second time in my career-life I have done a job that I am not 100 percent proficient in- and I am kinda tense about that.I have so much in my brain, I just forget somethings.

I called my mom on Tuesday night and was telling her about this and she mentioned something I had told her before. One of the founding principles of my coursework is a specific framework. the framework talks about teachers living somewhere within 4 sections: Unsatisfactory, Basic, Proficient and Distinguished. Unsatisfactory is doing harm to a student. No one should be there. Basic is a normal 1st year teacher: no harm being done, but they are uneven. Proficient is what my mentor is: great at teaching, has a few off days, but overall, wonderful teacher. Distinguished is a place where teachers visit, but they never live. My mentor visits distinguished land alot.

My mom reminded me that we are only in the SECOND WEEK OF SCHOOL, and as long as I was doing no harm to the kids (I’m not, I promise) then I was living in “BasicLand” where ALL new teachers live, and THAT IS A GOOD THING.

So back to talking to my mentor on Thursday. I mentioned my mom’s comments, and my mentor made me cry.

Good tears, I promise.

She told me in 10 years of mentoring, she has only seen 1 other person with the same caliber as me. She thinks I am right where I should be and further, and that I am truly where I should be in life. She thinks I have what it takes to be a great teacher.


It was so good to get feedback like that. I beat myself up more than anyone else could, so I thanked her, then when an bawled it out in the bathroom. :-) Sometimes I just need a good cry. :-)

I am back in Kindergarten tomorrow, and I am pumped. I am teaching a few lessons this week (about 2 hours per week right now) and I am working hard to make my lessons rigorous and FUN! :-)

Meals have been great- I ate out a few times, but have been really working hard to eat in (saving lots of $$!). I have been averaging about 8000 steps each day, with almost 12,000 on Thursday night (parent curriculum night! Late but fun night!). I don’t notice my pants fitting differently, but I know they are not tighter than they were before, so that is good! :-)

OK, it is 8:41pm – I am over my bedtime by like 15 minutes! :-)

Hope to be back sometime in the middle of the week, but if not, I will be back Sunday!

Have a great week!


Twas the Weekend before School Starts….

…and I am trying to get organized. :-)

I spent the morning doing errands, trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything. A Rx here. Dry cleaning there. A quick run to Staples for a calendar/planner, chart markers and dry erase markers. A stop at the public library to pick up a text book (free instead of 35 bucks…score!)

On a side note, do you all remember this commercial for school supplies? It always makes me giggle, and I always think about it when I go to the office supply store…

I came home and hit the bed. For some reason, I have been wiped out this week.

I slept for 3 full hours.

No kitty interruptions. I think they understood that I was exhausted.

I woke up as the sun was going down and decided I better look at my grad school home work (gonna be due Friday) and make a weekly game plan (in my Brand. New. Planner!) to get the reading done, along with working on my weekly plan for kindergarten. Oh- and add in all the teacher in-service days, holidays, and other calendar days I could find on the school district calendar.

Pre-planning REALLY helps my anxiety around not getting everything done.

I got all my calendar dates in in about 45 minutes (color-coded and everything), then ran drove to the grocery store to grab some ingredients for the crockpot and other lunch items for the week (coming soon- a new Mindful Meals post).

I threw a chicken meal in the crockpot (recipe here) and started to think about lunch for Tuesday.

I have fun plans for tomorrow- brunch here with 3 great friends, then a short shopping trip to “the real woman”store (AKA Lane Bryant) to get a few clearance deals -teachers have to dress nice, you know!?

Monday I might go with a friend to the outlet mall to check out a couple of other deals.


Wish me luck!!


Remember that paper I b*tched about all over the interwebs the last couple of weeks? (you missed most of it b/c I was whining on my personal Facebook page alot. Be glad you aren’t my friend. Yeah, it was that bad.)





(yeh I did!)

I am still waiting to hear back from the teacher on the 2nd paper i did- I just turned it in on Tuesday.


Who Needs Math?

x + – * ?

Apparently, I do.

I am missing BlogHer ’10 right now because I messed up in undergrad and took (what the overtly brilliant but jerky teacher called it) “Math for Dummies” class instead of something that would transfer over to my grad school adventure.

So there I was, at 6:50 this morning, wiping the sleep out of my eyes and wishing I was in NYC eating a continental breakfast and enjoying all the swag I could box up to ship home.

But alas, I was being attacked by a cat who wanted attention (Button, who I am sure you will hear alot about — he is my housemates cat) and the looming feeling that I was going to have a rough day.

A rough 7 1/2 hour day.

Yeah, you heard me, 7 1/2 hours filled with equations and algorithms and other math things I had could not remember from “regular” school.

But this is GRAD SCHOOL, I kept thinking. I should know how to do “math”. I am smart. I am capable of learning new things! I can DO THIS!

I got to school at 8:15 (class started at 9) grabbed an egg white and cheese bagel and a water (I know, I know, not the pilar of healthy…I forgot my lunch at home) and took my sweet time to get to the classroom on the 5th floor.

I was the first one there.

I am always the first one there.

My classmates slowly trickled in, all with looks of exhaustion, frustration or crabbiness on their faces. All but one of us have been together in the same cohort/classes the last 7 weeks. The other person in the class starts teaching n a new school on Monday. She is still working madly to get her classroom in order. I do not envy her.

In the last 7 weeks, we completed 22 semester hours of graduate course work– not including the 4 credit hours for the math class. Dark eye circles abound!

We started griping about the class and how (most of us) hate math, suck at math or just plain don’t “get” math…when the teacher came in.

She looked exactly like my grandma – in a good way.

I thought- CRAAAAAAP, she is gonna teach us old school- the same way I was taught for years– the same way that DIDN’T work for me.

But she didn’t.

At 2pm (yes we had breaks, 10 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes for lunch – I had a small, healthy-ish pasta dish) I looked at my watch and was almost SAD- yeah, I said it, SAD- that we were almost done for the day.

I was understanding concepts and vocabulary I had NEVER understood before.


She was breaking down math into simple concepts that MADE SENSE to me.

I couldn’t believe it. I think at one point my mouth was hanging open in utter amazement that I understood what she was putting in front of me.

I have 2 more 7 1/2 hour Saturday classes, and I am not dreading them.

I have 2 hours worth of homework for just math class alone each night, and I am not dreading that either. I WANT to learn more about math.

(who the hell am I?!?)