mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Not a Wonderful Morning October 5, 2012

My sister is an amazing teacher.  She has an intuitive gift of reaching each student in the unique way that suits him.  She doesn’t just teach academics; she teaches life skills.  She teaches kids how to believe in themselves.  She is truly passionate about what she does, and I’m so proud of her.  She wrote this yesterday, and I asked her if I could share it.  You’ll see why I wanted everyone to read it.

Here is a post called “Not a Wonderful Morning” by guest blogger, my sister, Miss M:

Most of the time I write about all the wonderful parts of my job, but every day isn’t wonderful. This morning was a not wonderful morning. One of my students was having a bad, bad day. He was beyond disrespectful to all his teachers including me (usually he spares me from his disrespectful attitude). He refused to do any work at all and insisted on distracting everyone else. I could see that he was spiraling out of control. I can normally get him back on track pretty quickly but today nothing worked.

He ended up getting so mad that he walked out of my classroom (not ok!) and sat down in the hallway (at least he didn’t go far). I stood in the doorway and continued teaching my other kids while keeping an eye on my wanderer until someone was available to watch my classroom.

After several minutes (I had plenty of time to think!), help arrived. I handed over my class and went to talk to my wanderer in the hallway. He wouldn’t look at me, much less talk to me. He didn’t get up when I asked him to. He just sat there defiantly looking away.

It had been a long morning and I really just wanted to yell at him…and I don’t want to yell often. Instead, I sat down next to him. I wanted to lecture him about his horrible, disrespectful attitude. Instead, this is what I said:

I know you don’t want to talk to me right now. I know you are angry and you probably think I’m going to yell at you. Well, I’m not. I’m just going to tell you some things that I know about you. First, I know that you are smart. I know that you are kind and helpful. I know that you can be the hardest working student in my class when you want to be. I know that you can do anything in the world that you decide to do. I know that people love you. I know that the other students look up to you. I know that you are funny. I also know that I like you a lot. I know that I want you in my classroom. I know that even when we have horrible mornings, I like you anyway. I know that when you are disrespectful I am disappointed, but I understand that you are working on self-control. I know that you can be better than you have been today. And, I know that there is nothing that you can do that will make me not like you.

We sat quietly for a minute. Then, I asked him if he was ready to go back to class and do his work. He nodded yes, stood up and returned to class. His first assignment was writing in his journal. Each day he has to write at least three complete sentences. I give a writing prompt for most of the kids, but they know that can always write about whatever they want if they don’t like the prompt.

When I read this student’s journal this afternoon, the very first sentence was: “Ms. M, you make my day every day.”

It never ceases to amaze me that when I take the time to give a kid exactly what he needs to get through a situation I always end up getting exactly what I need too.

beautiful inside and out

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Six words never to say at school September 19, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 6:30 am
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Max is figuring this kindergarten thing out.  Last night, when Ronnie tucked him in, Max told him a few things:

“There’s six things you can’t say at school.  You can’t say poop at school.”  He raised a finger. “You can’t say bomb at school.”  Another finger.  “You can’t say guns at school.  You can’t say foopy-bo-poopy at school.”  Still counting on his fingers.  “You can’t say fart at school.  And you can’t say weirdo at school.”

This is very serious.  How will he manage not to say “foopy-bo-poopy” for an entire school year?

He also told Ronnie, “I cried on the outside at school today.  Most of the time I just cry on the inside, but today I cried on the outside.  My leg hurt and it was bleeding so my teacher gave me a Band-Aid.”

Did it really happen?  We’ll never know.  But, he has mentioned several times that he’s struggling not to cry at school.

The other day he told my mom that he cries on the inside all day at school because he misses me.

Last night, he told me he needs to go to the doctor because something is wrong with his eyes.  Of course, I thought he could be having vision problems, so I asked him what was wrong with his eyes.

“They keep wanting to burst into tears,” he answered.

He’s melting my heart.  We’re encouraging him and making school sound exciting and fun.  He’s doing great in school – he has been a good boy, he’s making new friends, and he loves his teachers.  He’s still just struggling with doing it all on his own.

For being such a tough little guy, he sure has a sweet, tender heart.

 

Max’s Boycott on Green September 5, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:31 pm
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Max stopped his spoonful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch halfway to his mouth and announced, “I’m tired of being good and staying on green at school.  I feel like running through the school like crazy, so I’m going to be on red today.”

“Why would you want to do that?” I asked.

“Being on green is too hard.  I just want to be bad,” he answered very honestly.  “Forget about the water park.” (We promised a reward if he could stay on green until his first report card.)

“Well,” I cautiously answered, “you could do that.  You could run around like crazy and have a little bit of fun, but then you would get in big trouble at school.  Or, you could be good at school and have a whole lot of fun when we celebrate your good behavior.  It’s totally your choice.”

He resumed his breakfast without answering.

On the way to school, he made a different announcement.  “I’m not going to be on green today, I’m going to be on blue or purple!”

Kendra gasped.  “That’s so hard to do!  Green is good, but you have to do something EXTRA good to get on blue or purple!  It’s practically impossible!”

Max nodded.  “Yep, I’m not going to be on green.  I’m going to be blue or purple.”

“Well,” I said, “if you do that, Daddy and I would be so proud!  We would definitely do something special to celebrate that tonight!”  With that, I kissed them goodbye and dropped them off.

After school I picked them up from Grandmom’s house, and both of the kids were just bursting to give me the good news – Max was on blue today!!

Max was absolutely beaming when he told me about singing a counting song in music class so well that his music teacher wrote a note to his teacher complimenting him on his outstanding job.  That was just the kind of extra good behavior that bumped him out of green and right into blue.  To think that last week he was strategizing about how to get out of singing at school altogether, it seemed impossible that he would have made such an impression on his music teacher.

Needless to say, we celebrated tonight.  Max wanted to go to our favorite playground, so we did.  What a relief to hear Max talk about school with pride and enthusiasm!  This day will mark a change in his outlook about kindergarten.  He had a goal, and he accomplished it.  And it wasn’t even an easy goal!  He has a bit of confidence now, and it will grow a little bit each day.

This was definitely worth celebrating!

 

 

What if we just focus on one day at a time… August 29, 2012

Does Max have a little anxiety surrounding this transition from spending his days with Grammy or Grandmom to being in school all day every day?  I think so.  His newest antic is to ask me “what if” questions like these:

What if I say a bad word at school?

What if I’m on a field trip on the bus and I have to go to the bathroom?

I pick my nose sometimes at school.  What if my teacher sees me?

Can I pee behind a tree at the playground?  What if no one can see me?

What if I accidentally act naughty?

What if I don’t sing the songs with the class?

What if I fall asleep during nap time?

What if I don’t see your car when you come pick me up?

What if I have lots of homework?

What if I forget where to go?

What if someone is mean to me?

What if I get in trouble?

What if my teacher makes me work too hard?

Oh, that reminds me.  The biggest problem he has with kindergarten right now is that his teacher makes him work too hard.

I reminded him that he likes hard work.  He works outside with us all the time.

“But that’s sweatin’ hot work.  That’s the kind I like.  My teacher makes me do writing work.  That’s boring.  I want the sweatin’ kind.”

This is going to be an interesting school year!

 

Max starts kindergarten August 28, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:29 pm
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Boy, it’s really been a while since I’ve written.  Seems I can only handle one hobby at a time, and lately I’ve been reading instead of writing.  I’ve read some really good books, though.

I couldn’t let today pass without writing about it since it was such an important day in Maxwell’s life.  That’s right: he started kindergarten.

We’ve been pumping him up for weeks, and we really kicked it up a notch when we realized that he was lucky enough to get the same teacher that Kendra had her first year of school.  She is truly one of the best teachers I’ve met, and to top it off, she has an outstanding assistant.

I was not really sure what to expect from Max today, especially after we explained the behavior system to him (green is good, yellow is warning, red is bad).  When I asked him what color he planned to be on every day, he shrugged and said, “green or yellow.”  I was very surprised and asked him why yellow.  He answered, very nonchalantly, “nothing happens at yellow, so it doesn’t matter if I’m on yellow.”  Ugh!

Ronnie was able to take the morning off work to take him to class with me this morning.  Max was practically bouncing into the school.  He was so happy and seemed very excited.  When we got to the room, his teacher showed him where to put his lunchbox, and then she told him to go see the teacher’s assistant to do some other things.

Ready for a great day!

The assistant greeted him by saying, “what’s up?”

Max looked at her then very politely answered, “the ceiling…and the sky…”

See?  He was totally himself…

Until it was time for Ronnie and me to leave.

When he realized we were really leaving, he became really uncertain.  I knew he was getting upset when he suddenly needed to use the restroom.  He was on the verge of tears, but he got himself together in the bathroom.  The look on his face absolutely broke my heart.  He put on such a brave front, but I could see right through it.  He was scared, and he didn’t want us to leave.  Even with other little kids crying in the room, he never did let himself cry.  He was so tough.

Of course I burst into tears as soon as we left him.  Like a big buffoon, I stood in the hallway and cried my eyes out over leaving my baby at school.  You would think I hadn’t done this before.

I was anxious all day wondering how he was doing.  I couldn’t wait to pick him up.  I knew as soon as I saw his face that I would know if he had a good day or not.

And he definitely had a good day.  When he and Kendra headed to the car arm in arm both with huge smiles on their faces, I knew he had a great day.  So great, in fact, that he stopped to hi-five the principal on his way to the car!

 

Sure enough, he was totally energized when he climbed in the car.  The first words out of his mouth were, “I have two new friends!”

He told us all about his day, which must have seemed like such an adventure to a little guy who has never been away from his family.

I asked him so many questions: what did you do? how was lunch? how was recess? did you have fun? do you like your teacher?  and he answered each one with enthusiasm.  Then he told me the great news, “Mom!  You will be so happy when you see my color for the day!  It’s the best color – the color of the grass!”

YES!  He was on green!

A “great job” sticker from his teacher for a great first day of school!

I asked him how he felt when Mommy and Daddy left him that morning.  He said, “I was so sad.  I was trying so hard to hold my tears back.  I feel like I’m going to cry now.”

And that’s what he did.  For the whole rest of the evening, in fact.  Well, I guess it was more of an alternation between extreme happiness and crying his eyes out.

The first day of kindergarten just took a lot out of him.  What a great little guy!

Just for fun, here’s a picture from Kendra’s first day of kindergarten.  It seems like so long ago.  She’s in third grade now – really growing up!

Here’s a little excerpt of what I wrote about her first day of school.  They sure handled it differently!

Anyway, we walked her to her classroom toting her bookbag (“Dad! This thing is WAY too heavy!”) and supplies and got her settled. We took a few pictures and gave her hugs and kisses. Then we left. I don’t know what I was expecting, you know, maybe a little twinge of sadness to be leaving mommy, but nope. She was cool with staying in a big unknown world with not a single person she knew in sight all by her little self. 
Well, my preconceived notions were further shattered when we picked her up that afternoon. I was so anxious and excited to see her that I was driving Ronnie crazy – chattering, babbling, goofing, and flubbering. When I saw her walking to the truck, I jumped out to hug her. 
She got in the truck and said, “I am SO thirsty.” 
I gave her some water. 
“Well, how was your day?” I burst out just itching to know every detail. 
“It was good. I learned a lot.” 
She sat back there not like the ecstatic little girl I thought she would be, but rather like an old pro, a jaded old kindergartener who had been there, done that, what’s the freakin’ big deal, mom’s acting like a buffoon again, oh brother. 
I finally managed to get her to tell the highlights of the day and learn that yes, she loves kindergarten, and yes, she loves her teacher, and yes, she’s excited to go back tomorrow. She hated quiet time, was amused that one girl actually slept, and she thought recess was too short. 
I’m proud of her. I knew she was ready. 
I guess I just didn’t realize how ready.

It’s going to be a great year!