One of the blogs I follow is Frugal Mom Knows Best. This lady has a handle on the definition of frugal and with the economy in its current state, I love her tips for saving money.
Yesterday, she left me a comment that really concerned me and gave me the idea for this post. Evidently, her child's preschool teacher shared a comment about her child with none other than one of her husband's employees. It took her completely by surprise because she regularly asks the teacher for feedback and is always told "He's fine!"  Obviously, the employee felt uncomfortable about it and in turn shared it with Frugal Mom or her husband.

I have seen many teachers in past years get in trouble for this very thing because it is unethical and unprofessional. That teacher had no right to share something about a child with someone other than the child's parent. Teachers, be careful what you say. You never know who might be listening!

If there is one message I can share with other teachers, it is to treat all students and their parents with respect. Never make a sarcastic comment to or about a student. Whether you are eating lunch in the teacher's lounge or meeting colleagues after school at a restaurant, you really need to be careful what you say.

What if a parent asks you about another child? My response is always the same "You would not want me to discuss your child with another parent so I can't discuss this child with you." Then I redirect the conversation back to his or her own child.

The private school I work in is the first school in all my years where I don't have to listen to negative talk about children. In some of the public schools I worked in, there would inevitably be "the negative clique". They were the teachers who were always so negative "Can you believe how dumb Johnny is?" or complaining "Why did I have to end up with Billy's sister? She is even harder to handle than he is! I just can't stand her!" It always made me wonder if they were just there to draw a paycheck rather than to make a difference in a child's life. These are human beings with feelings we are dealing with and teaching should not be a repetitive drudgery.

I am fortunate to have colleagues who are cheerful and child-oriented in my current school. There are some in your school too, whether you work in a private or a public school. I recommend that you find them and get to know them. A positive attitude can be catching.

In summary, I would ask that you treat all students and parents with respect. In order to gain respect, I truly believe that you have to show respect. That includes what you say about a student and who you say it to.

Today, I would like to blog about teacher morale. Webster defines morale as the mental or emotional condition (as of enthusiasm, confidence or loyalty) of an individual in regards to the function or tasks at hand.
Over the years, I have seen many a young teacher come into the profession filled with excitement and enthusiasm only to become disillusioned by large class size and a lack of favorable working conditions, not enough teaching materials, and lack of administrative support just to name a few

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I currently teach kindergarten in a private K-12 school. When I left the public school system, I took a significant pay cut for a teacher with an advanced degree and thirty-one years of experience. Has the lower salary had an affect on my morale? I would have to answer a resounding no! As a matter of fact, it has improved significantly for the following reasons:

  • My school seeks to serve as a model Christ-centered college preparatory school. 
  • Lower class size allows me to provide more individualized instruction.
  • There is a great deal of parental support.
  • My Principal stands behind her teachers and supports their authority in enforcing policy.
  • There is a lack of unnecessary teaching duties.
  • My school has a clear vision, mission and philosophy.
  • I can have prayer with my students.
  • My Principal guards our instructional time.
  • We have very favorable working conditions.
  • It is wonderful to work with inspirational teachers who are strong Christian role models for students.

Today, I strive to keep the freshness and spark that I had as a new teacher while using the wisdom and knowledge I have acquired through experience over the last thirty-four years. Sometimes my body doesn't always cooperate such as when I play dodge-ball or basketball with my students the way it used to. I don't recall hearing it creak when I jumped rope when I was in my twenties. Fortunately, my spirit doesn't waiver.  I feel so blessed to be working in a place that provides a strong biblical and educational foundation for each student.

Speaking of inspiration,  I have been inspired by many fine bloggers who are simply blogtastic in every sense of the word. Just like teachers, I think a great blogger needs to be recognized for for his or her efforts as well. 

I would like to present to you my blog roll of outstanding and inspirational blogs. My recipients don't have to answer any questions about themselves. All they have to do is keep writing in their wonderful individual styles. I would encourage you to visit them.

Ellen In America
All God's Creatures
Single Mom In A Complicated World
I've Become My Mother
Wool n' Nuts
A Teacher's Faith
The Four Scarbarys
Daily Gems From God's Jewelry Box
Hope's Breath
A Shimmy In My Spirit
This Is The Day
A Substitute Teacher's Saga
On My Own
Life Homeade
Pure Joy
Living My Life, Whatever
Love To Teach

I wish I could start out this post by saying to those of you that read my post on Monday that I have fully recovered from the effects of daylight savings time and that nothing out of the ordinary happened today. Unfortunately, I can't.

Wednesday is Chapel Day at my school.  I set out with my class following behind me like little ducklings to take our seats on our assigned pews. Our P.E. coach gave a great lesson to our lower school classes and we went back to the classroom. The teacher assistant next door asked me when we got back if I realized that I was wearing my sweater  inside out. Sure I did. I love wearing a sweater inside out in front of over two hundred students, my colleagues, and visiting parents. I asked her why she hadn't told me BEFORE Chapel. She told me that she hadn't noticed it until she was sitting in a pew behind me. I refuse to acknowledge that I would do anything as silly as to pull my sweater  on inside out in the dark if it weren't for daylight savings time.

Moving on, we have begun a great unit on butterflies. We talked about the life cycle of the butterfly, read books like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, and made tissue paper butterflies. We even  painted some that are now mysteriously crawling up our walls! Eventually, they will be mysteriously ensconced in brown craft paper so that they resemble cocoons. (Two years ago a teacher assistant came in to ask why we had sausages  hanging from the ceiling.) Eventually, a butterfly will "emerge" from these cocoons. Last year, I kid you not, a little girl was diligently working at her seat when one of the emerging butterflies emerged just a bit too much and fell out on top of her head. The child sitting beside her exclaimed with delight "Look! One hatched!"

We even ordered our own Monarch butterfly larvae from Carolina Biological Supply. Five larvae were shipped to us in a clear 8 oz. rearing chamber with food. The larvae pupate and will emerge as adults in about thirty days. This is what they looked like when they arrived.

They are getting really big and the children are fascinated by their development. This is what they look like now.

After reading the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we created our own out of tissue paper with a water and glue glaze.

Since today is St. Patrick's Day, we couldn't go without a little luck of the Irish to finish out our day. We had cookies,

read stories, and graphed Lucky Charms cereal. This is one of my terrific parent volunteers, Mrs. Rice,  helping the children as they complete the graphs. The child pictured is her daughter Suzie. Is Suzie not the cutest thing? Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you all!

Tonight I had dinner with two of my good friends Karen and Wendy! Karen's birthday was last week so Wendy and I took her out for a belated birthday celebration. You can't find two sweeter or funnier people on the planet if you tried...well, maybe except me! Kiddddddddding! We laughed so much tonight that our sides ached. I told Wendy that I hadn't posted anything on my blog today because I had been so busy with school as well as after school committee meetings. She suggested I go home and look through some old class pictures to jog a memory stuck somewhere in my brain. It worked! Thanks Wendy, you sweetie pie you!

One Spring I took a class outside to read a story in the school courtyard.  It was a beautiful spring day and we wanted to take advantage of the sunshine after lunch. The  courtyard was surrounded by buildings on both sides and had a lovely grassy area located in its center. I sat down to read to my class who had nestled around me eager to hear the story. Within five seconds  I jumped up yelling! When I say yelling, I am not exaggerating. It bordered on screaming.  Evidently, the place where I chose to plop down in the grass also happened to be in close proximity to the same spot where some yellow jackets had made a nest in the ground. I scared the children and not knowing why I was  yelling, they jumped up screaming. Unfortunately, one little girl was as unlucky as I was. She got stung three times on her legs. I got stung multiple times. This particular courtyard spot was located close to the Principal's office. Since his office windows faced the courtyard, he got a great view of a teacher and  her screaming students running in all directions. He hurried  outside among all the mayhem to see what all the ruckus was about. Since each kindergarten class had outside doors that led to the courtyard, those teachers also came out to see what was going on. Lots of tiny little faces wearing curious expressions could be seen peeking around each teacher. That's what I was told anyway. All I could think about was how much pain I was in.  It took over a week before I could sit comfortably again! Need I say more? 

I still read stories outside but now I always take a kindergarten size chair with me ! Yellow jackets  do not take kindly to sharing their territory, even with kindergarten teachers! I speak from first hand experience. Well, you know what I mean!

Whoever came up with daylight savings time was definitely not a teacher. When I finally  rolled out of bed this morning after putting the alarm on sleep at least four times, it was already 6:15 am. That gave me fifteen minutes to throw my clothes on, eat breakfast, and drive to school.

It was pitch black outside as I got dressed. Not wanting to wake my husband so early, I got dressed in the dark. Since my hair wanted to stick out in places, I reached for the hair spray and  let the can spray a fine mist over my head. The only problem was that my daughter evidently used my hairspray and deodorant last night and reversed the cabinets I keep them in. As a result, I was standing there in the dark with sticky armpits and hair covered in deodorant. I go downstairs and pull out a Lean Cuisine for lunch and let the dog out. The dog sees some deer in the yard and takes off after them. If anything happened to that dog, my daughter would be devastated so I take off after her. I finally grab her after chasing her for ten minutes. I stumble back in the dark carrying this dog that feels like she weighs fifty pounds after all this unexpected exertion. Looking on the bright side, I thought to myself at least my hair won't sweat today.

By this time, I needed to skip breakfast and head to school. I stopped by MacDonald's and got in line behind a gentleman who life has obviously not been kind to. His clothes were threadbare and his toes peeked out of a hole in his shoes. He did not have enough change for his coffee when he went to pay, so I bought it for him and threw in an Egg McMuffin as a bonus. He thanked me profusely and told me he hadn't eaten since lunch yesterday. It was my turn  to order when I realized the other bill I thought was a five was actually a one. I figured I didn't need to eat anyway since I am on a diet and besides, that older gentleman's gratitude had lifted my spirits. I got back in my car and headed to school with a small coke.

When I got to school, my teammate gave me a peanut butter snack bar from Trader Joe's. That was about the time I realized I left the Lean Cuisine I pulled out of the refrigerator on the kitchen counter. I wolfed down the peanut butter bar and finished the coke just as the bell rang. Ten minutes into our morning meeting, I realized that the peanut butter bar didn't mesh with the Alli I just started taking on Saturday to lose weight. Anybody familiar with the side effects of eating anything with fat in it when you take Alli.  Not the smartest move on my part by any means. I am now rethinking whether I want to keep taking that stuff.

I stopped midsentence and hustled to the bathroom we share with the other Kindergarten class. Not until I sat down did I realize that some sweet little boy  evidently had a poor aim this morning. Can I blame that on daylight savings time too?

I would write more but since I am on my lunch break, I still have to figure out what I can mooch off of another teacher to eat that is fat free.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day! As for Daylight Savings time, all I can say is ptooey!

How do you identify a good teacher? How does a teacher make a difference in a student's life? I looked for the answers to these questions through famous quotes.

The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
-Marie Montessori

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and
-Albert Einstein

The best that the great teachers can do for us is to help us to discover what is
already present in ourselves.
-Irving Babbitt

In teaching others we teach ourselves.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
-William Arthur Ward

A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.

They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.
-Carol Buchner

A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops.
-Henry Brooke Adams

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
-Carl Jung

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
-Thomas Carruthers

A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.
-Horace Mann

And then there are famous quotes about not so good teachers......

Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.
-Bob Talbert

If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.
-Bill Gates

A child miseducated is a child lost.
-John F. Kennedy

And then there are quotes that are just downright funny............

Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.
-Gracie Allen

As long as teachers give tests, there will be prayer in schools.

Do you remember your favorite teacher? What makes him or her stand out in your mind?