When Stressed: Make Lists

…no really, that’s my go-to.  Lists, lots of lists.

This is also a perfect description of my life right now.  All those kids that never normally take a sick day when they’re hacking up a lung everywhere have now decided (when we have A LOT to get finished) that now they’ll be absent.  My favorite is when I hear from the front desk that “x has a stomachache and won’t be here today.  He probably won’t be here tomorrow either.”
Ain’t no big thing.  Not like we’ve got a zillion things to finish before Friday.
Anyway, I also have a few super-fast workers that are finished with everything (as of Tuesday…good work!) and now the job is to keep them occupied while the stragglers finish up.  I’ve been pushing them and reminding them for two weeks about what we’re doing and when it needs to be finished by, and now they’re acting all surprised that we need to be finished by/before Friday.
I have a fun day planned, so they need to be finished to participate.

I also noticed that I bring a lot of this stress onto myself.
Brain: “Hey!  You know what would be fun and a great treat for the kids after two weeks of hard work?  Cookies!  They could make Christmas cookies!” “Yeah, yeah, what a great idea!”

Brain Today: “Wtf.  This is still a fun idea, but why do I get myself in these situations.  Yes, cookies will be fun…but is there a less…messy and exhausting activity?  Maybe coloring for the two hours and I can nap in the corner?”

haha 😛  I still love doing things for the kids, though and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I just wish my brain would pace itself a bit or something.

I also made a To-Do list for the next few days as preparation for leaving the country for two weeks/sub-prep etc…and it’s 4 pages.  FOUR PAGGGGGGESSSSS.  Yes.  Really.  Four.
Granted, it’s in a smaller notebook and it’s double-spaced and such, but…FOUUUUURRRR PAGGGGESSS.

I also wrote a few things that I’ve already accomplished so I can cross them out and feel better when I look at it.
Also, my Christmas shopping is 99% finished.
And I have 10+ hours on the plane to write out Christmas cards and read on my Kindle, so that’ll be nice.  I hope my brain will finally be able to quiet down during that time.  It’s like a circus in there right now, heh.  Thankfully…lists.  They help me keep my sanity.

Anyway, bedtime.
Here’s to knocking out a page or two on the ol’ list and another productive day tomorrow.

//Oh!  And I made a bunch of Christmas cookies on the weekend and I gave them out today.  I felt a bit like Santa 🙂  I gave little baggies to the cashiers at E-Mart (a chain grocery store/super giant) and two tins of cookies to my hairdresser ( who doesn’t really speak English, but she’s always super nice) and her team and two to the people at my favorite coffee shop.  😀
I still have few bags leftover from the Emart group, so I think I’m going to give them to my neighbors…I’ve already had quite a few “samples”.  Good thing it’s winter though. 😀

Rest? What Is This ‘Rest’ You Speak Of?

Busy busy, as ever.  It’s not necessarily bad, but I’m feeling it.

So let’s see…just finished the penpal letters, and all the students at our school have been working on a composition of sorts on the topic “My Hero”.  (If I hear the word “Hero” again after this week, my head is going to burst and fizzle.)
All of the students wrote on the topic about 2 weeks back, but some were going to be entered into a contest so they were a bit longer than the others (100 words to be exact).  We had the other students write it, but it didn’t have to be as long.

Anyway, fast forward to this week…we learned that they now want everyone to enter the contest.  The thing is, some students took their papers home (ie: are now lost forever) and/or they weren’t long enough, so they (me) have to write/stretch it out to make it 100 words. Even the youngest kids.  Combined with the fact that some kids are MWF kids and some have missed days this week because they had a big test at their regular school.  So trying to get everyone finished has been a pain in the neck.
Alllllso, we have another contest that the kids are doing.  There are two reading books for the kids that include chapter comprehension worksheets.  There are 3 different non-fiction books for kids in grades 1-2, grades 3-4 and 5-6, and 3 more books but with fiction.  So, each kid does 2 books, 2 worksheets and then a workbook for each book as well.
I actually really like the books as they’re interesting and good reads for the kids, but it gets tough when you have kids from different grade levels in one class.
Combined again with the fact that kids miss class periodically throughout the week and/or are MWF kids.
I’m hoping that a lot of my kids aren’t absent tomorrow so I can finish the rest of that ‘My Hero’ business and move fully onto the new competition next week.

I’m thinking of putting them into groups (or solo, in some cases) and just rotating around and such…but with different spelling lists (for the different books) too…oi.
The ‘My Hero’ needs to be all finished by all students by next Wednesday and all of the book challenge/competition thing needs to be finished by the end of the month (or 12.19 for me).

I have it all fairly organized, but it just feels chaotic to me with all of these books going on…and my desk is a hot mess.  I also feel bad for the kids because of all of the workbooks and stuff we’re throwing at them this month.

Anyway, still teaching the different holidays (it’s short, so it’s not that big of a deal) and tomorrow/today/Friday, I’m planning on getting pizza for the first two classes.  My classes are small and I just got paid yesterday so I don’t mind.
I just want to reward them (and myself) for getting through a tough/busy-as-hell week.
We’re going to work our butts off the first part of class to finish as much as possible from this week and then have our movie Friday with pizza.  Sounds good to me 🙂
The first class (youngest kiddos) were super excited when I mentioned pizza for tomorrow, haha.
I didn’t say anything to the second class about it, but I mentioned it a few weeks (2 months? 1 month?) ago that they could get it if they start doing better on turning in their homework and working harder in class…and they’ve been doing so.  Plus…this week.  It would be a nice surprise for them too.
I was working with one kid (a few actually, but one in particular from that class) about not asking for your reward.  He was asking about the pizza nearly every day and saying “Teacher, Are we being good today?”  “Teacher, how is our homework today?”  “Teacher, can we get pizza today?”
I’ve nearly got him to stop asking about it so I think it’d be another good time to surprise them.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd, I found another girl to be a sub (the first one fell through because of visa issues…not sure if I mentioned it), and she’s supposed to be coming by to meet front-desk-lady tomorrow evening.  She has a lot of teaching experience, so I think it should be good.  I haven’t met her in person, but I think it should be alright.  I’ll see her tomorrow and hopefully that goes well.

i also want to get all these competition things out of the way so when the sub comes I’ll have the kids back on their regular schedule and it’s less chaotic for her.  She can just pop in and teach and not have to worry about deadlines or who has finished what.

Movies planned for tomorrow:
Youngest kids: ‘Barney and the Backyard Gang–Waiting For Santa’  (I remember this clear as day from my childhood :D)
Next two classes: ‘Elf’

Movie time is also rest-time for me.  I’m planning to cancel their spelling test for tomorrow as well.  We’ve had a lot of students missing days this week because of their big test in elementary school on Wednesday and sick kids, so it’ll be a nice rest for everyone.

3 of my 5 kids in my last class (super tiny class, I know) are sick.  2 are coughing almost constantly and 1 lost his voice yesterday because of all the coughing.  I might get some cough drops and store them in my room…

**Oh, AND we only have 1 copy of each of the 6 books and workbooks, so I have to copy all the books and the coordinating workbook for each student.  Depending on their grade level.

Oh annnnnd I have one kindergarten student in my first class that can’t read at the same level the 1st/2nd grade kids are able to read at, much less do the workbook or book questions.

And, time to pass out.  2 weeks.  2 weeks.

Busy Busy

Oi vey.  What a busy few days (and days to come!)

Granted, I’ve brought it on myself, well, most of it and thankfully, I actually don’t mind too much.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Let’s see–oh I’d say that this will probably be a short post because it’s late and yada yada, but let’s be honest here.  That’s rarely ever how it turns out, haha.

I think it started with last weekend, so let’s start there.

Saturday/Sunday–Ultimate Frisbee Halloween Hat Tournament
-Individual players sign up and are put onto teams (doesn’t matter about your skill level–these are for fun)
-3 games Saturday
-2 on Sunday, but we advanced to the semi-finals and eventually to the finals (2014 Champs! Woot! Out of 20 teams as well), so that was a total of 7 games that weekend.
They weren’t necessarily in a row, but spread out throughout the day on Sat and Sunday.  Each game is roughly 50min to an hour.
-I got a Wonder Woman shirt (+cape) off Amazon and that was my costume.  It fits really nicely annnnd I can wear it to our Halloween party at work on Friday!  Hoorah!

Monday
-I had ordered some stuff from Fabletics (who are amazing btw) and it arrived!  Oh happy day!  Granted, they don’t ship here so my mom shipped it over (along with some mac and cheese and some Italian Seasoning)
-workity work
-went to the gym and I tried a new machine that killed my arms (yay!)

Tuesday
-workity work
-So, I have asked my bosses at work twice if I could make CDs for the students that I teach because we’ve done quite a few English songs in the year that I’ve taught the class.  The first time I asked they said no pretty quickly because I want to charge 2,000won ($2) per CD.  I needed to buy quite a few songs from iTunes and I was going to make a lyric booklet so they could follow along if they don’t remember it from class.  So, purchasing the songs plus labor, I thought that was a steal of a price.
However, they said no at first because they didn’t want to charge the parents, even though the CDs are optional (and I did a sample survey before I asked to get an idea on how many kids were interested and I had over half my kids interested).

Anyway, we got the new lady to help with organization/parent contact/seamlessness, etc (I’m fairly sure that I’ve mentioned her?).  She had asked us about two (three?) weeks ago to tell her if we had any questions or suggestions to make the school better, so I brought up the CD again with her and it got approved.  She wanted me to make them for free as well, but I stood firm on my 2,000won and she said it was ok.
She had me write up an email to the parents (to be translated into Korean) to explain what we were doing and she gave it to a few other classes that are roughly the same level as my classes.  40+ cds later…I think it was a hit.
So…that’s going to be my weekend, haha.
I’m still excited about the CDs, but the number of them is a bit daunting.  Apparently we have some blank CDs around the school somewhere that they said I can use, so I plan to do that if they’re available.  I bought a set of 10 tonight anyway because I wanted to make sure everything downloaded properly and also to get a bit of a head-start on the madness.

Oh, also with the cost, I think that the kids will be more appreciative if they have to pay for it rather than just get it for free.

Anyway, so last night I started working on the lyric book that I’ll be printing and putting together at some point in the next few days.  It’s nearly finished now, but I just need to add the last few songs and format it a bit differently.  On the final CD, I have 24 songs.  😀  We’ve done about 85-90% of them in our classes and I put a few extra ones on there.
I’m also going to get some bags and make the packaging really cute so it looks nice when I give them out.

Wednesday (today)
*put laundry in
*made a batch of brownies (stage 1 of the Halloween treats)
*cleaned/put away dishes
*hung laundry to dry
*workity work
*grocery store–bought those CDs I mentioned and some misc food
*made a second batch of brownies
*decorated the first batch into a Graveyard Cake/brownies
*put away laundry and started another load
*cleaned more dishes and decorated the second batch of graveyard brownies
*worked on the lyric book for the CD
*cleaned the kitchen and the floors

Graveyard Brownies

One of the graves is empty because I couldn’t keep my hands away from the chocolate-y goodness.
Oops 😀  Good thing is goes with the theme…right?  Right.

Tomorrow
-put away laundry away
-grade tests
-workity work
-trivia night–These are held monthly and I went to my first last month and our team came in last, haha.  We were then able to choose a category for this month’s.  We chose Harry Potter because we wanted to go with something at least one person in the group is very solid on (er…me.)  Another girl wanted to do a vampires in movies category, but we figured it might be too broad of a topic.
Now that it’s tomorrow I’m a weeeeeee bit nervous.  I mean, no pressure or anything, right?  haha.  Maybe I’ll try and look up more trivia questions online before work.  I looked some up a few weeks ago and it really could go either way.  It depends on how obscure the questions are.  If they start asking dates or about that one character who sneezed in book 3, it’s gonna be bad.  If it’s general knowledge, I should be alright, haha.

I also need to make up some sort of routine for my classroom’s activity/dance to Thriller for the party on Friday

Friday
-make sure I have a routine set up for the party today
-bring Graveyard brownies to work
Halloween Party (which could be a hot mess)–The past parties have been pretty structured and organized, but the new lady, whom I normally think has a lot of good ideas changed the plan this time and it’s a bit chaotic.
Normally, all the students come at their normal classtimes (2-4/4-6/6-8) and we split the kids up and rotate activities every 20 or so minutes.  Each teacher has a different activity and the kids experience everything.  After the last one, we gathered everyone into the largest classroom to have food and drink.  Then dismissal and repeat with the next group of kids.

This time, the new lady said the kids can arrive anytime between 2:30-7pm.  They’re allowed to bring friends, which is normal, and their parents, which is new.  We had a meeting today but we never got an exact amount of time that the kids will be in each room.  Anywhere from 10-30 minutes.  Also, she was saying she was going to have the food at the front desk (with the computers)…so not sure how that’s going to work.
Anyway,we shall seeee.  Should be interesting.

Then she wants all of us to go out for dinner together afterward, so that’s the plan.  Finish the party then head out to eat.

Saturday/Sunday–out of town–A good friend of mine is leaving Korea and is having a get-together at her place.  She’s from South Africa but she ended up meeting someone here, getting married and now they’re moving to the US together (he’s American.)

Anyway, it’s late and my laptop battery is dying.  So, on that note.  Goodnight!