Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sarah's Classrooms

This has been a long awaited post.

Where does that girl work? Does she even work? I mean she teaches foods classes? Where the heck is Colfax-Mingo Community Schools anyways? I mean seriously...

Yes, well thank you for the introduction. I do teach foods classes and not surprisingly people do call it Home Ec. a lot. I choose not to be a brat (surprisingly, I know) to people by correcting them, but it actually has been called Family & Consumer Sciences (FACS) for nearly 15 years.

How did I get into teaching Family & Consumer Sciences? Well, low and behold I graduated from high school with pretty darn good grades and was VERY into nutrition (yes, a little too much). I started off going at ISU in Nutritional Science. I NEVER wanted to get married, NEVER wanted to live in the midwest, NEVER wanted to depend on anyone (especially not a man), AND I was NEVER going to marry someone from Iowa. (P.S. Never say never! I pretty much did the opposite!) That to say... I loved the nutrition part of it but I hated the science part. You can say what you will, but I got two B-'s my first semester and flipped out (perfectionism at its finest folks) and decided to change my major. Not only that, God was doing a great work in my heart, showing me a lot about how and why he created women.

I became very interested in children, families, and psychology. I went into Child, Adult, & Family Services, but had an experience while volunteering a few places that showed me that working with children in really bad circumstances wasn't really for me (I had come home crying everyday). That is where I found out about FACS and jumped in head first (yes, a little blindly).

Is my job all I hoped and dreamed? Well, lets just be honest here, no. But who actually has a first job they've dreamed of? If you do, count yourself blessed. Most people have to work really hard to get where they want to be (if they ever do). Do I love my job everyday? Umm... lets see here... no. I am a first year teacher. I make a fool of myself on a daily basis and yet still find it in me to get up and punt again the next day.

You were right when you said I teach foods classes. I teach Occupational Foods Classes, Gourmet Foods Classes, Nutrition Classes, Child Development Classes, Fashion Classes, Interior Design Classes, Financial Literacy Classes, and Comprehensive Real Life Skills classes. I teach 6 periods a day (different classes each semester), 2 at the middle school (see below) which are the comprehensive classes, and 4 at the high school. I never teach the same lesson plan twice and I am my own department. Do I have others to talk to about my curriculum? No, except other FACS teachers via e-mail or on my own time. Do I love the flexibility this gives and the freedom I have? Yes, sometimes. The hardest part is just that its all new and I have very little to work off of. Stressful? Umm... yes, ask my husband, some co-workers, and my friends. Sassy Sarah comes out quite often these days (sometimes too often).

Nonetheless,the Lord has blessed me and there have been so many awesome things that have happened this year. I am/we are (my students are helping) currently jump starting a small business-like organization called Tigerhawk Takeout (weird mascot, I know) where my occupational students make all the foods and then families from the community can buy them and back them. Kind of like Papa Murphy's Take n' Bake. I wanted to try this out before the year gets over to see if it'll fly next year. I'm also collaborating (big educational work for working with) a local preschool where my child development students will get to get hands-on-experiences with children.

I've also learned a ton. I feel like God has giving me amazing management skills through all of this, has taught me to work well alongside people, serve and work long hours diligently with little thanks, to speak the truth in love (aka disciplining teenagers) A LOT, working with parents, and to really wave my own flag (and stick up for myself in a humble way).. but most of all to be a light in a dark place, to be bold, and to be full of integrity when its hard. Preparation for something... I hope so!

A lot of people think that FACS classes are just fluff, and maybe that's what they had. I know of so many people who are dying from cancer and diseases that are easily prevented via good nutrition and home-cookin'. So many families that are just a wreck because their parents were never trained in parenting skills of any kind or they expect their kids to act like adults when they aren't nearly there cognitively. Do I want to do this job forever? Specifically teaching, probably not, but almost everything I do is helping me for whatever I do in the future (mommying, hospitality, home-based bakery/catering?, designing, etc). Yes, my dreams have changed! Go figure! I'm up for whatever God has and for now, I am content (well, most days)!

That's enough about FACS. This is what I inherited from a long-time Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher. I will be receiving some Perkins money this summer and I hope to purchase some more technology!

Here is my room at the middle school. It is a bit cramp. I hope to make more use of the space by eliminating some of the stuff I don't need and maybe get a smaller desk. When you have 20 kids in here/hour it gets REAL cramp. It is in the oldest building in the district, and though not ideal or extremely glorious, I am thankful!

Here is my room at the high school. It, along with the whole high school, got a massive face lift only 3 years ago. It is going to get some massive rearranging this summer, There are 4 kitchens, you can only see two in the picture though. as I'll have more students in my classes next year and need much more board space. I'd put up some pictures of students working but I think I might get it trouble! =) Can you tell I hate bare walls?

To finish... here is my letter of thanks for the year from a student I've mentored during my lunch hour this semester and was in my classes last semester (she wasn't fond of me then)...

"As your former student, I'd like to thank you for many things, actually. I know I was often a difficult student. I was very rude, and never cared about anything you said. But now, as a friend, not just a student, I am constantly asking you for advice. Mostly relationship advice, which is usually repetitive, so thanks for still listening. I'd also like to thank you for not labeling me as a "bad" kid during our first impression. Most of all, thank you for helping me care more about myself. I honestly feel that you've made me a better person."

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