I've been more busy than usual this semester - I'm doing my reading clinic for grad school, which is akin to student teaching, and it's just a lot more work than I expected. I'm trying my best to stay on top of my class assignments without falling behind on my work responsibilities. It's definitely a challenge, but it's not impossible.
September is officially over (well, tomorrow it will be), and I made it through the first month of my 7th year of teaching without incident. My kids are sweet. I have a few who are pretty low academically, and one or two who keep me on my toes as far as behavior goes... but overall, it's a nice class.
One complaint, though - three of my kids have had extended absences already. One girl started school almost two full weeks after the school year started, because she was in the Dominican Republic. One boy came to school for a week and then had to go to Nicaragua for 10-15 days because his grandmother is dying. Another girl went to Puerto Rico for 8 days the second week of school. I hope that's not gonna be a pattern this year. I've been trying to get one girl introduced to the school and classroom routine, get the other girl caught up on missed work, and keep a folder of work for the boy until he comes back.
One the bright side, my new girl is adjusting nicely. I found out some interesting things, too. First of all, her mother speaks English. I met her at Back to School Night and we had a nice chat. She told me that her daughter grew up in the US and spoke English and Spanish fluently. Then she went to the Dominican Republic for a year (I got the impression that mom wasn't with her, for whatever reason) where she attended kindergarten and spoke only Spanish. So she knows English, but she either doesn't remember much of it, or is more comfortable with Spanish. Either way, she's getting lots of support. Her mother, aunt and three cousins all help her with English at home. She started working with the ESL teacher this week, and he's reviewing classroom vocabulary with her. She made friends quickly, and is now starting to ask for things in English (or a mix of Spanish and English). She's also getting more comfortable with me, which is great. One day during silent reading, I took a story out of my basket of Spanish books and read it to her - La Gallinita Roja (The Little Red Hen). I'm not sure how well I read, but she was responding to the story and the pictures, so I think it worked. Plus, it was probably a nice change for her to hear me speak some Spanish. She hasn't cried since her first day, she raises her hand to participate, and before she leaves at the end of the day, she gives me a hug and says, "Bye, teacher!" It's really nice to see the progress.
I guess that's about it for now. It's been a long, exhausting week... TGIF, people. :)