Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the road again.....

I'm COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm leaving today to meet up with Martha and Ryan in Chicago- in the middle of rush hour. (should be lots of fun)...... We're coming for a baby shower for Marth.....and i get to see my family and i CAN'T WAIT to see them......not to mention I get to see my man, which is LONG overdue. It's been Way....Too... Long.....i miss him terribly.

So....I'll be around. I've got "appointments" scheduled pretty much the whole weekend- and I'm leaving a day open for family and hopefully I'll see some of you at church on Sunday- (Go to the early service) :)

Can't wait to see you all!!!!

Miss Mullen

Saturday, September 22, 2007

the simplicity of a gift

Yesterday one of my little girls came in and handed me something wrapped in newspaper and said, "Miss Mullen, I brought this for you to remember me by". I opened it up and found this: It's beautiful. I love it. She said it's a cat- the ears are made out of little leather triangles. The whole thing is made of plaster, painted and glazed. She said that she made it in art class last year. This meant so much to me. Last night I was watching an educational video about teaching with my uncle, (yes, on a Friday night)....and the guy (Harry Wong- excellent educational speaker and author) said something about how children love their teachers. "Giving gifts to their teachers is a child's way of telling them that they love them; that they think they are a great teacher and appreciate what they do for them". I nearly teared up as I realized that I'm touching lives. I'm making a difference in these kids; they're understanding how much I care for them and are, in return, showing me that they love me. This cat took her a long time to create. She carefully formed and painted the whole thing by herself and wanted me to have it. I could never explain how much this meant to me.

Another example of why I was created to be a teacher. I love my job.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Open House

We had our first open house tonight.....parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles.....anybody who was somebody came. It was interesting to see why my students are the way they are- based on their parents.....very fun. But I've worked my first 13 hour day and I'm exhausted.....ready for bed.

I've got to work on some lesson plans for next week.....and off to bed! it's getting earlier and earlier every night...i love it. :)

Also picked up the book "bridge to terabithia" from the school library today. I read it in 3rd grade, but have since forgotten it. I'd love to see the movie, but I'll read the book first.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

they may never know how much it means.

Yesterday Jose brought in homemade tamales that his mom made for my CT and me. Yummo! We had them for lunch- which was a great treat. Nothing like authentic culture food- straight from a mom!

I also received my first gifts as a teacher Monday morning. Two girls brought in a necklace and a bracelet that they had made for Mrs. Cashmer and I. It was so's amazing how much those little things mean to teachers....the students will never know...

I haven't been good about blogging or journaling this is getting crazier. My allergies are going nuts, which makes me tired and know, just worn out. Lots of people are sneezing, itching, stuffy, big deal.

We've got an open house coming up, so we're working really hard to finish autobiographies, interviews, etc. All these fun things to hang up in the classroom and hallways when parents come to visit. I love it.

I'm missing home- missing Nate and my friends terribly. I'm slowly meeting new people....and even some in their late 20's.....the age I want to be spending time with. Lots of the college aged people i'm meeting are still into the party scene....which I'm not excited about. I want to go to coffee shops, have movie nights, go to farmer's markets on weekend mornings, etc. It's slowly coming....and I attended a new Bible study last night that will be good. However, I'll only be able to go to about 4 by the time I leave because they're meeting every other week and some holidays conflict with the dates. At least it's something....

Grey's season 3 is in my possession. I've been trying to get through them the past two weeks. I'm only on disk's amazing how much time you DON'T have when you have a real's very strange.

I'd better get back to typing autobiographies. Hope everyone is well. Keep Renae in your prayers- her family needs it right now as they're grieving the death of her grandmother. Martha's family also lost a grandma last week- keep remembering them. It's easy to forget as life continues to be busy.

Lots of love from the lake,
Heather Lea

P.S. There was a little confusion from last time. Riley's mom transferred him to a different school....he didn't get kicked out.

P.P. S. There's a little boy in our reading class named Jacob, who is a miniature Ben Davy. Very cute....makes me think of Benito every day at 9:45... Crystal, you should pass that along.... :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

they come and go

On Friday, the office called our room near the end of the day- asking us to send my favorite little guy down to the office "ready to go, with all of his belongings". My heart sank. This wasn't "rat-tail" boy, but the one I sat with after lunch....the one whose life was being ruined by mark.....the one who loved skateboarding and wanted to be just like tony hawk....the one whose family goes to Wal-Mart every Friday night....the one who sat like an angel after i talked to him about respect in the classroom.......the one who I left sticky notes for so he wouldn't forget something on favorite little boy.

I know this sounds a little dramatic, but he was my favorite. I wanted to take him to a Brewers game and just Thursday had talked to the principal and school psychologst to see how my cooperating teacher and I could take him on an outing some weekend afternoon. (they said nice idea, but no way).

So anyway, I guess this is a good experience for me. This is the kind of thing that really happens to teachers.... live and learn, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

kids are strange

This is gross, but so bizarre that I have to share.

One of the 7th & 8th grade teachers came into our room this morning wondering if we had a 5th grade student with a "rat tail".

I said, "Oh yeah! (Student shall remain anonymous to protect his identity) 'Child X' has a long one; likes to twirl it around his fingers during class."

To which he replied, "well, yesterday we found something in the urinal....and I went over the surveillance cameras and have a list of 4 or 5 boys that may have been involved at any given time. Child A went in at 10:25 and was in the bathroom for 2 minutes. Child B was in for 1 minute at such and such a time.....etc." You get the idea. Basically, they found a turd and a wad of toilet paper in the urinal. Seems like someone pooped in the wad of TP in his hand, dropped it in the urinal and ran. Sick, I know. So, he was wondering what I knew.

Well, I had been working in the hallway that day with Child X and another boy. Child X asked to go to the bathroom and I said no. 3 minutes later, "Can I go now?" "No." And a third time....well by then, I had noticed that he was passing gas every couple of minutes and thought that maybe he really DID have to I asked if it was an emergency, he said yes, and said he could go. (Afterall, I didn't want any accidents in my hallway.) He RAN into the classroom, came RUNNING back out and down the hallway. According to Ryan, the other teacher, "Child X was in the restroom for 6 minutes, which is longer than normal." was so funny today trying to solve the mystery without really being able to ask anyone about it. And even if we do find out who did it....then what? What's the punishment for that?! Oh are STUH-RANGE!!!

In other news, I've got a ticket to the Brewer game on the 28th.....I have no idea who they're playing, but it'll be a fun experience anyway. I think I'm going to take my CT with me....and we're going wit my aunt and uncle and a bunch of people from the college.....very cool.

My little Riley was an angel today. I'll share an excerpt from my journal yesterday:

I’m falling in love with these kids. My CT told me today that she’s noticed that I gravitate toward “those kids”, meaning the Rileys, the Davids, the Peytons; the ones that want to get in trouble; the ones that play with pens during class, wear skull necklaces to school and spiky belts. Those young boys who still want to love their teacher but can’t find the balance between that and being really cool with their friends. They want to visit with each other during class; they want to see how far the inside of their pen can fly when they use the spring inside to launch it forward, and they still want to turn their homework in on time so they can get a sticker on their assignment sheet. These children are precious.

I had to laugh today when I saw that Riley’s jeans were falling off- obviously weighed down by something very heavy. I asked him, when just he and I were in the hallway helping one of the junior high science classes, if he was wearing a huge belt buckle. He lifted up his shirt and had a giant skull belt buckle the size of a CD hanging from his waist. I just wanted to laugh! I asked him where he got it and he said his brother had one just like it that you put “that thing that holds alcohol in it”. How sad that he’s already learning and seeing these things; one more reason to invest my heart and energy into these kids.

Mrs. Cashmer and I went down to pick them up from the lunchroom today. Riley was sitting against the wall on a bench and another boy was leaning on the wall 20- or so feet away from him. There was a teacher in between and it was obvious from the scowls on their faces that the boys were not happy. I walked over and sat down next to Riley. I didn’t say anything and I didn’t give him any looks. I could hear him muttering about “if he comes one step closer….if he looks at me one more time…..”. I glanced over my shoulder and kind of leaned my head into him. This is the conversation that followed:

“Mark Morallas is ruining my life. Ever since he came here in 4th grade, my life has turned around.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Mrs. Cole and Mr. Valice don’t believe me. They’re always taking his side. I just want to hit him so hard. He told my mom he wasn’t moving onto 5th grade. Now he is moving on to 5th grade. Everyone loved my brother. He was friends with the whole school….”
“I know you get really angry and this is probably very frustrating for you. But hitting him doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me. You know why? Because then YOU get in more trouble than anyone- and that stinks for you. I’d be really disappointed because you’d probably be expelled again. I missed you a lot . And I know you’re a really good student and a very nice person so I was really disappointed when I heard what happened. Next time you get really angry at Mark Morallas, What could you do instead?”
“I don’t have any other options- I lose all my friends.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’d have to transfer schools and lose all my friends.”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“No.” By this time, he had tears welling up in his eyes.

So we sat for a while longer and he talked a little and I talked a little and I told him to find me or another teacher when he needed to talk about this or when he was so angry that he wanted to pummel Mark Morallas. He laughed and said ok. So….we’ll see what happens.

The rest of the day he was very attentive, did his work…..and he even stayed late after all the other students to put chairs up on the desks for me. What a sweetheart. ☺ I love my job.

I start creative writing tomorrow. We’re going to do journals. I have one for each of them- and I’m going to let them write or draw- hopefully every day. I want them to be able to express themselves creatively and I know that some like to write and some hate to write. Same with drawing or reading, etc. I’m bringing my journal for an example tomorrow to show them what one can look like. We’ll use magazines later next week to decorate and personalize them. I’m very excited.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well, maybe not the BIGGEST city....but much bigger than my old one. Look at the buildings in the background!!!!There are a couple of reasons that I chose to post this photo. First, it shows Milwaukee...VERY small in the background. I stopped by the lakeshore on my way home yesterday- really beautiful....there were sailboats, and it was a sunny fall day......the water coming in and out from the shore.....families in light jackets playing on the playground nearby, people walking dogs, sitting with loved was wonderful. And secondly, remember that I don't have a camera. So I wanted to take some photos....with my laptop. You guessed it.....I carried my open laptop around taking photos of the area. I looked really awesome, I'm sure. All these nice families together enjoying the day, and me, out on the end of the rock pier by myself holding my computer out in front of me and smiling at appropriate times. Sheish.

This picture deserves to be here- for all the stupid-looking hard work I put into it. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm taking over!

Well....not quite. I've taken over spelling lessons, and I'm starting a creative writing unit on Monday, which I am VERY excited about. I'm going to start them on journals- they can write or draw.....however they want to express themselves for a certain amount of time every day. I also want to start bringing in music for them to listen to during that time- as long as they don't lose the know how that goes. They respect me, i respect them....

I confiscated a note being passed last week. What a riot! I walked up to the student who had it at the time, (it was en route to someone across the room) and silently stuck out my hand. It was great......didn't get angry, just took it, which is probably worse for them. This is what the note said:
"I guess I still like you too."

Now, it was traveling from one boy, Tyler, to another, Josef. I'm hoping that they had a tiff on the playground....otherwise we've got more serious issues to deal with. :)

My little boy who was suspended on Friday came back today. It was great to see him. Getting to welcome children back- excited to see them.....loving the "unlovable".....THIS is why I am a teacher. I love these kids.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

"We're Back in the Swim of Things"

This is my fish. We made these the first day.....the board says "We're in the Swim of Things".....cute, huh.

Here's the rest of the bulletin board.....very cute. Each student made their own fish depending on their favorite subject, food, number of brothers/sisters/pets, etc.

This is my teacher desk. Flowers are courtesy of Erin and Martha. I love them.

Look at how crammed the desks are....31 in our classroom. Yikes....

And these fabulous windows! They let in a wonderful breeze on windy days....they let in so much sunlight....I really like them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Very nicely done, 5th grade. Thank you for being responsible."

Day 2 of teaching...done. It's been really great. I have 31 5th grade students, 13 of which are white. The others create a melting pot of colors in our classroom, which is something that I really love. They're a lot of fun. I've had to be tough to keep the whole group under control. You know, the "I'm really disappointed that you couldn't handle walking down the hallway quietly. Lets go back and try that again"......or "You know, I thought that this was something that I could trust you with, but I see that I was wrong. I guess we'll have to wait until later in the semester to try it again." and of course, the "Thank you so much for getting ready so quickly and quietly. I really appreciate that. You're off to a good start today, 5th grade." It's so fun. All those teacher lines. My favorite thing though is the one-on-one time I get with students when working on homework or little chats before and after school or recess. That is the time when they get to see that I really am a nice person and that I want them to do well. If they follow my guidelines, we can have a lot of fun.....but setting those rules early on is what makes or breaks a classroom. They'd walk all over me if I was a softie with them right away. THESE are the things I'm learning this year. :)

I start spelling on Monday- the subject is mine completely. My cooperating teacher is being really great about giving me things to do with the kids and around the room. I can't wait to get some pictures- but as many of you know, I don't have a digi' right now. I might take my laptop in tomorrow- we'll see how that goes.

Something that's been an adventure is a 3rd floor classroom with no air conditioning and 90 degree days- jam packed with sweaty-hot 5th graders. They're doing a great job of not complaining, and soon enough we'll be wearing layer upon layer because of Wisconsin winters.... It's been interesting, to say the least. It's a good reminder of perserverence. It's so easy to get tired and hot and hungry- not to mention the number of times I go down three flights of stairs to make copies or drop of or pick up students from different classes, lunch, recess, etc. This is making me stronger. I just know it!

If you haven't already, check out Ryan and Martha's news......pretty great.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mr Frog Man

Today Lambeau and I were trying to take photos together. It was a bit of work since he didn't understand the point of looking AT the camera. Here's a sequence of what we got. Finally, he gave up.

Here's whats happening: puppy destroys Mr. Frog- aka green blob located in nearly all of the photos. The last one shows that I'm fine. I'm doing well....I'm happy here. I miss all of you terribly, but understand that this season is going to be good and I will learn many new things. I'm happy.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

and i picture your sweet face

Today was a good day. Yesterday was a good day. But I've been keeping a mental tally and the score for me wanting to stay vs. me wanting to move back in december is as follows: 1:3. (one for staying, three for coming home). I know it's early, but I'm still keeping track.

Rob and Cathy came over with the boys today. We all went to church together- the sermon was about "running the race".....the life of a Christian is like a marathon, not a sprint. It isn't a quick fix....but something we're called to endure and push through even when it gets really tough. It was a good message......

It was wonderful to be surrounded by family all day. And yesterday Ruth and I went to a parade of homes in a couple of suburbs. Wow. Those houses are huge and beautiful. Sometimes it's a little sickening to think about all the money that goes into homes like those and how it could be used in different ways to help people. I guess the Lord gives different blessings to different people....