Teacher “Never Have I Ever” Pt. 3

Teacher “Never Have I Ever” Pt. 3

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Hello and happy Saturday. Are you ready for the last round of the teacher edition of Never Have I Ever? Well, I am, so let’s get started, shall we?

 

 

21. Never have I ever… had to Shut. It. Down. to remind my students of respect and boundaries.

Well, yes and no. See, I have always set my limits from the start because I’m not the kind of teacher who is always “open for business.” My students know when to physically approach me and when not to. They know that if they have a question, then they must raise their hand and I’ll go to them instead of them going to me. I think that if those boundaries are clear from the start, then you can always be semi-open and will not be forced to “shut it down.”

22. Never have I ever… wanted to throw the pencil sharpener out the window.

No. I think this refers to electrical pencil sharpeners, but since I’ve never had one, I don’t know the daily struggles it might entail. Also, I love sharpening pencils, even if I get blisters sometimes.

23. Never have I ever… dreaded indoor recess. 

Okay, hear me out. This requires preparation, so don’t just have your students stare at four walls for twenty minutes. Have something available for all students to enjoy, like building blocks, puppets, or even a movie. And also, have the right attitude. Nobody wants to stay inside the classroom because it’s raining, but you have to show your students that they can have just as much fun inside as they do outside, even if you know that’s not true. Personally, I prefer indoor recess because I feel like I have all my chicks in the same coop instead of running around everywhere.

24. Never have I ever…tried really, really hard not to catch all the sickness floating around the classroom.

That’s a daily struggle for teachers, especially those, like me, who go from classroom to classroom because that means we are prone to catching four times as many viruses as teachers who stay in one classroom. My advice? Drink orange juice every morning, stay hydrated during the day, and keep a pack of kleenex at all times.

25. Never have I ever…spent an entire in-service day daydreaming about all the planning I could be doing.

Totally! I was recently talking to someone about how I appreciate those teambuilding activities schools have on the first day back for faculty and staff, but I’d rather be planning or decorating my classroom. I get it, socializing is necessary, but I’ll totally do that during my lunch break. It’s very annoying to spend the eight hours of the day you’re actually getting paid for engaging in cutesy activities and then getting home and having to make up for that time when you should be resting. Just saying…

26. Never have I ever… wondered what black hole my books have fallen into.

During my first year of teaching, I spent a lot of time and effort trying to organize the “reading corners” for all the classes I taught in, and you can only imagine how stressful that was. The following year, I decided to just select a few titles, have them in each classroom and forget about them. Did a kid take a book home? Oh well. Did a book from a totally different grade level appear in the pre-k classroom? Oops. I must say, though, that those books weren’t mine, and after losing my fair share myself (actually, I didn’t lose them, I just totally forgot about them at a former workplace), I decided to only keep at school cheap, replaceable books, and to bring back and forth from home those “special” ones I might need in a lesson.

27. Never have I ever… been unsure of how to react when I realized how my students saw me.

I’m thankful for my students’ drawing skills because other than that one time when a kid drew me as a cat (with pointy ears and all), their drawings of me have been pretty accurate and even flattering. By the way, I’m totally getting a tattoo of the cat portrait because I think it’s amazing. I can’t wait to see what my new students, who are older, will make me.

28. Never have I ever… demonstrated that organizing is a legit hobby.

I mean, can you seriously be a teacher if you’re messy? I have mostly had to rotate between classrooms, so my organization had to do strictly with my supplies and how I handled them. Keep in mind that not having a classroom meant that my space was reduced to storage closets, a tiny locker, and sometimes even the top of a communal desk. I’ll keep you posted on how my organizational skills develop once I get a classroom of my own.

29. Never have I ever… had more fun that students. 

Here, again, I consider myself lucky to have had cool students who just go with the flow. Even with my high school kids, when I told them to sing, they would sing, when we had a contest, they’d get in the mood for a contest. I think it has to do a lot with how you feel and what you show to students. I like having fun, and I like that my students are having fun, so I’d say it’s a pretty balanced distribution.

Which of these have you done and which you totally haven’t? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

Teacher “Never Have I Ever” pt. 1

Teacher “Never Have I Ever” pt. 1

100th day (3).pngHello and happy Saturday. Going back to school has been a wild ride, and not just because of work-related stuff. I feel like there’s someone looking at me from up there and saying “well, she’s finally stable again, let’s shake things up a bit,” because man, I can’t seem to get a break. Work is awesome, just so you know, but I feel like I need something to lighten up my mood and give my little brain a little break. This is why today I bring you a very fluffy and light-hearted post in which I’ll tell you what I’ve done and I haven’t done based on this post. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Never have I ever… cleaned out my classroom in under 12 minutes on the last day of school. It’s summer, baby!

I don’t have a classroom yet. I mean, technically, I do, but my students are still on vacation, so this is a NEVER for me. I will experience the bliss of having to clean my classroom a lot throughout this year, but that’s going to happen later on.

2. Never have I ever…had a student bring me bouquets of dandelions after recess. So sweet!

I have. I worked at a school where I had to wear a coat, so I’d thread the flowers in the button-holes (that doesn’t sound right, someone help me) or put them on my ear so that they’d look like they were a part of my hair. That being said, I don’t like when kids take the flowers to give them to me.

3. Never have I ever …felt pure joy and giddiness over my own new school supplies. Flair Pens! Sharpies! Highlighters! Post-Its! Swoon!

Hello, my name is Camila and I’m addicted to school supplies. In fact, I have previously posted about them and I have some other great posts about teacher essentials coming up.

4. Never have I ever… had to use the EpiPen. Teachers are trained to use it, and every one of them hopes they never need to.

No. I was going through some of this questions with my man, who is going to become a teacher soon, and I told him that in Colombia the situation when handling medicine is very strict. Only the nurse can administer drugs to students and only when parents have authorized. I have not been trained to use it, and as far as I know, my students don’t carry one. When it comes to allergies, we are informed of them, but they are mostly food allergies, which are handled by the school’s nutritionist.

5. Never have I ever… stood by an open window or doorway in my classroom to get a break from the aroma of 20+ sets of armpits and feet. And let’s not even get into the farts.

I have worked with young boys and with teenagers, so you can imagine the amount of smells that can get trapped in a single classroom. This year, I bought a “home perfume” from L’Occitane, which I hope helps to have the classroom smelling as fresh and clean as possible.

6. Never have I ever…been slightly freaked out by a student based on the personal items they brought to school.

I have been blessed when it comes to my students and how normal they are. I’m sure the teenagers brought all sorts of stuff, but they didn’t show them to me (thankfully). As for the little kids, no, never.

7. Never have I ever… spent an inordinate amount of time on classroom decorations.

I actually haven’t started decorating my classroom and I’m kind of freaking out about it. I will have time next week, but seriously, there are four bags full of stuff sitting down on my bedroom floor, looking all sad because I haven’t been able to put them to use. I can’t go into my classroom on a weekend to decorate my classroom or stay after hours like teachers in the States do, so I have to be super efficient with the little time I’ll be given.

8. Never have I ever…tried to come up with a way to work movies or outdoor play into a day’s lesson plans because all the brains in the room need a break, mine included.

Obviously, and whoever says otherwise is lying. I love playing movies in the classroom and there are times when movie time is needed because kids are exhausted, or we’re done with the topic and it’s not worth to start a new one when we only have a few days before going on vacation. I actually used to schedule a movie-viewing time with my kids for Christmas. And yes, they all celebrated Christmas because it was a Catholic school.

9. Never have I ever …wished I could bring the laminating machine home with me.

I laminate by hand, even though in this new school I work at we can get things laminated. The truth is, I don’t know how often I’ll be using this service because those things take time. I would rather use my roll of contact paper and do it myself.

10. Never have I ever… totally killed it without a lesson plan.

No. I am still a pretty newbie teacher to get to that level. I also deal with anxiety, so I just can’t walk into a classroom without a plan and try to wing it. In the cases where I’ve had to cover for a teacher, I’ve just tried to use something I’d already planned. Sometimes I also give the students the class to do their own thing.

 

 That’s the end of part one, so stay tuned for the rest. In the comments below, answer some of these based on your own experience.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

High School Teacher Tag

High School Teacher Tag

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Hello and happy Saturday. Today I’m going to be answering the High School Teacher Tag, so I’m not going to make this intro super long. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

 

1. How many years have you been teaching?

This is my third official year as a school teacher.

2. What grades/classes have you taught?

I’ve taught pre-k and kindergarten English and science, first grade English, and ninth and tenth grade English.

3. What are you currently teaching?

Trick question. actually, because right now I’m on vacation. For the purposes of this post, though, I’ll say I teach ninth and tenth grade English.

4. How many students in your classes?

26 to 31. I had 111 students total.

5. What has been your biggest class?

31 students. Complete chaos. Do not recommend under any circumstances.

6. What has been your smallest class?

Eleven students. Absolute heaven. Would totally recommend.

7. What is your ideal class size?

Fifteen to twenty is nice because you get enough variety and diversity without having an entire circus in your class.

8. What’s your favorite online resource?

Kahoot. I have a post on it, if you want to check it out, which you totally should.

9. Describe your perfect classroom.

I think this question refers to the physical space. My perfect classroom would have a nice carpeted area, enough space for desks to be well-distributed so that I can walk around while students work, a TV, smart board or a projector, and lots of storage space as well as big bookshelves.

10. What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I love seeing my students learn, like being a part of their developmental process is just amazing for me.

11. What’s your favorite thing to teach?

I love teaching everything related to animals. Ecosystems, animal species, you name it, I’m your girl.

12. What’s your least favorite thing to teach?

As a language student, I love to learn about grammar, but as a teacher I know it can be boring. I had a tough time figuring out how to teach the passive voice to my ninth graders, but if you read my recent post on it, you’ll see we did fine.

13. What is some advice that you would give to a beginning teacher, someone who is thinking about going into teaching, or someone who is already teaching?

Try to relax a bit and be open to learning. Ask for help when needed and when convenient, but also know when to rely on what you know and what you think is best. Observe veteran teachers if you can because that’s always helpful when you’re trying to figure out what to do and what not to do. Be ready to mess up, but learn from your mistakes and move forward. I kept a journal of what I did each day in class my first year and it gave me a lot of insight for the following year in terms of things I should have done or things I shouldn’t have. It also made planning my second year way easier.

I would like to tag all of you in this one, so pick a question or two to answer in the comments below. If you want to ask a question of your own, please do so, I’d be glad to answer it.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

The Alphabet Book Tag

The Alphabet Book Tag

 

 

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Hello and happy Wednesday. A few months ago, when I decided to permanently delete my other blogs (you know, the ones that I’d had for years but were unsuccessful), I went through my old posts and discovered there were some salvageable ideas. One of them was the alphabet tag, which is basically a list of books whose title begins with each letter of the alphabet. Easy enough, right? I’m only doing this with books I’ve already read, so I’m relying on Goodreads for this post. I didn’t include some letters because I couldn’t fins  book starting with them, sorry not sorry. Let’s get started, shall we?

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

C Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame

E Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagán

G Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

K Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

L Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

On the Fence by Kasie West

P Paper Towns by John Green 

Remember Me by Melanie Batchelor

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Welcome to Hickville High by Mary Karlik

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

That’s my alphabet tag. Hopefully I can find titles with the missing letters. Now I tag you to share some titles in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

24 Facts About Me

24 Facts About Me

Mila Writes.pngHello and happy Friday. The year is almost over, which means that soon we’ll go back to the regular blogging schedule. In that holiday spirit we’re in, I thought about giving you a little present. Given that I’ve been 24 years old for a while, I wanted to share with you twenty-four facts about me. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. My name is Camila

You may know that already judging by the name of this blog. It’s spelled with one “L” and most English speakers mispronounce it.

2. I am Colombian and American 

I was born in Arlington, Virgina, in the U.S because my parents were living and working there at the moment. They, however, are Colombian, which makes me Colombian as well. In other words, I’m American born and Colombian raised.

3. I am a teacher

This is something else that seems obvious to some people, given that on Wednesdays I blog about teaching, but it’s something not everyone knows about me. I am a school teacher and have been for the past year and a half. I teach English as a second language, and would like to work with students who have emotional and behavioral disorders sometime in the future.

4. I speak Spanish, English, French, and Portuguese

Spanish is my first language, but English is a close second. I’ve spoken English since I was four years old. I learned French while I was at school, and my main motivation at first was the fact that my best friend was taking classes. It then came in handy when I started my major and saved me a lot of time. I’ve recently started taking Portuguese classes and I find the language very easy to learn.

5. I’m tattooed and pierced

I’m at a point in which I should start saying I’m “heavily” tattooed. I love ink and I love piercings, though I can’t stand looking at needles. Right now I have nine tattoos and seven piercings, but I think that number will increase by the time this post gets published.

6. I am a vegetarian 

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost nine years now, and it’s been an interesting journey. Up until recently, I’ve been more conscious of eating healthily because, believe it or not, you can be a vegetarian and still have lousy eating habits. I eat things that have eggs, but I can’t eat eggs on their own or foods that have eggs as their main ingredient. I drink and eat dairy products, but I don’t drink animal milk itself; instead, I drink almond milk.

7. I love G-d and G-d loves me

I do not ascribe to any religion, although I am a Jew descendant and feel the closest to this faith system. I pray every day and read the psalms occasionally, and G-d is the most important aspect of my life, which is why I love Him and I know He loves me too.

8. I’m a lover of all things makeup and have attended various courses

I decided to take my love for makeup to a more professional level in 2016, after having played with it for three years, watching tutorials on YouTube and going blindly into this world. I have attended workshops for self-makeup,  I took a course on professional makeup, for which I got a certificate, as well as a master class on skin and eyes. I don’t think I’d like to become a full-time professional artist, but I enjoy playing with it and learning new things.

9. I am a proud booknerd

I’m the friend and family member who gets asked for book recommendations, which shouldn’t come off as a surprise, given that I blog about books on Wednesdays. The last thing I do at night and the first thing I do every morning is read. Also, I’m always open to suggestions and recommendations, and my TBR list grows longer by the minute.

10. I have a YouTube channel

Now, this is not self-promo because I actually haven’t used my channel in a while. I tried it for a few weeks, and uploaded some get-ready-with-me kind of videos. I do plan on using it more, and talking in my videos, to sort of use the channel as a complement to this blog, but that might happen in the future. If you have any ideas of videos you’d like to see me uploading, let me know.

11. My favorite color is pink 

Pink is my aesthetic for pretty much everything. That doesn’t apply to clothes or makeup, obviously, but I have my share of pink clothes and makeup as well. I’m drawn to this color, and if given the choice, I’ll pick it.

12. I’m a straightedge

I wrote a post on this a while ago. Basically, I try not to anything that might alter the chemical composition in my brain, if that makes any sense. That means I don’t do drugs (obviously), or drink alcohol, but I also go as far as to not drink coffee because I believe it creates a dependence. I also don’t take any medicine unless it’s been prescribed by a doctor because I believe that the body is able to heal itself in many cases, and taking medicines for small stuff like a headache might cause dependence as well.

13. I’m obsessed with Hello Kitty

Again, it’s like my love towards the color pink. I have a lot of Hello Kitty stuff, and I’m drawn to her. I have a Hello Kitty Pinterest board and I’m always on the lookout for more things from her to own.

14. I love dancing

Dancing is my life, and it used to be my workout of preference given that I was super into Zumba. Nowadays, I kind of have to gather the strength and willpower to get up, get ready and go to class, but once I’m in there, I am the happiest person there is. I’m not the best dancer by any means, but I enjoy it a whole lot.

15. Online shopping is my life

I love shopping in general, but online shopping is my favorite activity. I can browse for hours at home, I don’t need to carry heavy bags, and most of the time, I get items that fit me perfectly without having to try them on before buying them. It’s a plus if the stores actually ship to Colombia.

16. I’m a Scorpio

My birthday is on November 4th, so keep it in your calendar for next year. I believe in astrology and I believe in the influence of planets over our mood. It’d be selfish to think it’s only us who can control how we feel or act. I have a super strong character, and may come off as bad-tempered to some people. I’m very transparent with my feelings and often make decisions on how I feel about someone based on first impressions.

17. My favorite physical feature is my hair

My hair is like my baby. I love playing and experimenting with it, but I also love taking care of it. I’ve had it in a variety of lengths and colors, but it’s always been healthy, which is the most important thing for me.

18. My favorite subjects to teach are Math and Science

I fell in love with teaching Math when I was a private tutor. I love creating resources for Math and finding fun ways to make the different topics understandable and meaningful for my students. I currently teach Science as well as English, and it’s also super fun. I love researching the topics and coming up with creative ways to teach them to my students.

19. Subscription boxes make my life happy

If you’ve been here for a while, you already know I’m obsessed with subscription boxes. Subscription boxes are like online shopping taken to the next level, because you’re literally getting a bunch of surprise stuff, and who doesn’t love surprises? Personally, I think subscription boxes are the best invention ever and I love getting them.

20. I’ve openly used various online dating sites for years

It’s no secret that I’ve been subscribed to online dating services, sometimes more seriously than others. I think it’s a cool way to meet people, or just have some fun, and I’d say don’t ditch it til you try it.

21. I’m a proud Slytherin 

Any questions? I’m also a Targaryen, if you’re into Game of Thrones.

22. I have two dogs, but cats are my true love

Dobby and Nala are my babies. I love them so much, I got them tattooed on my shoulder so that they’re always with me, but I’m a cat person and once I move out, I want to get a cat. I adore cats and their personality, and though I’m allergic to them, I always want to be around them.

23. I’ve never had a boyfriend

This shouldn’t come off as a huge revelation, and if it is, then maybe you should read more of my posts to get to know me better. I would like to be in a relationship, but it’s not a priority in my life, and I enjoy being single. I don’t feel like anything is missing from my life right now, and if the right guy comes along, then great. I love flirting and having crushes, but for many reasons that hasn’t evolved into a relationship yet.

24. I’m 24 years old and living my best life

I always say that if I were to die today, I’d die happily and feeling accomplished. I love my job, I love spending time with my friends and family, I travel as much as I can and I always try to treat myself to nice things. I’m living the best version of my life, the best life I can possibly be living, and I think everyone should.

Those were the 24 facts about me I wanted to share. Feel free to share something about you in the comments below.

Happy Friday!

Love, Miss Camila

 

First Year Teaching Tag

First Year Teaching Tag

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Hello and happy Saturday. I know, you get it already, I just finished my first year teaching at a school, and you’re probably a bit fed up with me talking about it, but one of my Instagram queens, who now is on YouTube, Christina Costa from teachlikeagirl, made this video with some very specific questions about her first year of teaching, and I thought it would be fun to share the answers with you. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. What was your worst moment in your first year of teaching?

If you had just “a moment,” then you’re lucky and I envy you, because I had to suffer through a whole week of hell. It all started when the dates for final tests were given to basically everybody but me, so I didn’t know for sure when my test with my older kids was going to take place. Parents started sending notes asking for the topics of the test because they needed them to study with their kids, so I sent them on a Friday after finding out the test was going to be the following Monday.

That Monday I got to school and was welcome by and avalanche of I don’t know how many notes saying that the topics I’d sent weren’t clear, that the parents had no idea how to study with their kids, and just a load of crap if you ask me, because it was obvious to me that a group of parents had gotten together to bombard me with these notes.

The test was obviously cancelled and moved to another date, and with the help of my boss, who’s literally my work mom, I sent an online communication explaining the topics and how the test was going to be. In class I went over every item I was going to evaluate and did a full review with my students, who didn’t seem lost at all. This, of course, while juggling my classes with pre-k and kindergarten.

Another avalanche came the following day, albeit smaller, and I was forced to design a worksheet for my students and their parents to develop. It was a study guide, which, granted, was super helpful and I started doing one every term, which I’d work on with my students to prepare for the test, but at that moment it was plain frustrating for me to be doing that, especially because it was for the parents and not my students.

The week ended and the kids did great, and I only got one note related to that mess. It was a thank-you note from a mom because she found the study guide very helpful.
2. What was your best moment in your first year?

There were a lot of great moments during my first year, especially with my Pre-K and Kindergarten students, but I think the best of all was Super Hero Day. For my final class with Pre-K, I planned a super hero day. My boys dressed up as super heroes and we sang and colored and ate candy. The details of that day are in a post I linked above, but I felt it was my best moment because I had these boys in front of me, who I’d met almost a year before and who’d grown up so much.

With me they learned their first words in English, and it was so heartwarming to see them actually talking, and understanding everything I told them. It was one of those moments when I felt that even the bad times had been worth it, all because of that group of twenty-two kids. It was a great ending to a great year .
3. What is your biggest regret from your first year?

I think my biggest regret was holding back and trying to do things the way the previous teacher did them. The teacher that came before me was great, and both parents and students loved her, and I guess I felt pressure to keep doing things the way she did them, even if that wasn’t how I worked. So instead of unleashing my creativity and doing things like I knew they would work for me, I spent about half the year trying to fit a mold that wasn’t my size, and sadly, I paid for the consequences.
4. What is something you wish you knew before you started teaching?

Okay, so you know how you dream of being a teacher and just managing your classes however you want them to? It doesn’t happen that way. I wish I knew that my job didn’t just involved me and my students, and in a way I did know it, having worked with parents in the past. But the thing is, and I talked about it a long time ago, parents nowadays are super involved, and so they are another factor we have to add to the whole “teaching” equation. I wish I’d known that before because I think that would’ve avoided some bad times.
5. What advice would you give to a first year teacher?

Dear first year teacher, get ready to fuck up. We all say “oh, it’s not going to be bad for me” and we end up convinced that, although the first year usually sucks for most teacher, it won’t for us. Sweetie, it will suck at times, and you will make mistakes, and it’s totally okay, trust me. When I got hired I was told by my school’s principal that he knew the first year was tough, and when the year was over he said it again and after that he told me hopefully my second year would be better, and that’s how I knew I still had my job. Don’t expect everything to be perfect because that will only stress you out. Enjoy your first year and learn from your mistakes. Oh, yeah, and hope that your second year will be better!

Now I tag you, my lovely readers, to pick one (or all) of the questions to answer in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila