Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Delta Blues

Waying the positives and negatives of the Delta (a la Winter Break ending in t minus three days).

1. Everyone waves at you when you drive!
2. Country music is kinda fun (shhh, don't tell anyone)
3. The weather
4. A less frantic lifestyle
5. Having to be much more self-sufficient
6. I don't spend as much money!

1. Isolation
2. Family and friends are far away
3. Lack of easily accessible anything (besides Walmarts...)

I'm sure many others. We'll see. I've got to start taking this list more seriously and make it more thoughtful. I've got a contract to sign or not sign within about two months!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Breakup Breakdown

This is a great post by a another blogger, The Breakup Breakdown.

His cartoons and writing are too funny.

Trying to Stay Motivated

In the past week, I have accomplished the following;

1. 3 applications for summer positions
2. 1 application for a full time professional position
3. 1 (in progress) graduate program application
4. 2 graduate program applications semi-done
5. 1 unit plan done for the (dun dun dun) return to school next Monday

Pretty solid, right? I'm happy. Now I've got to finish those applications!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Look at the Treeeennddd!

Looks like I need to travel West. Try it out if you've never mapped it out, here.

The Reason for the Season

Today students were great, and I wasn't even at school. I received over ten text messages today from students saying a variety of messages that made me feel great. I also got some picture messages and Facebook messages. I am so thankful to have such happy and reflective students. Happy holidays everyone, sorry for the sporadic posts lately.

So Excited!

Starting a new hobby as soon as possible. And do you know what it is? Photography! Look at this ridiculously cool Christmas present. I am really excited, and hoping that I can take some classes either in Little Rock or in PCCUA in Stuttgart. Either way, I see lots of photography projects in the near future. Maybe some trips on my own...

Zebras Love Christmas, Too!

What a great photo. Thank you @nytimesphoto. Baby zebra enjoys his first snowfall and Christmas!

Ah, Professional World

Merry Christmas all of you lovely blogosphere readers! I hope everyone is having a lovely time with their families and happy happy holidays! This week my mom asked me if there was anything I needed. My answer: (ugh) professional clothes and tights. Horrifying. I wish I was still in college when I could just ask for cute, fun, overpriced but so trendy, clothes. Whyyyy have you plagued me professional world??

These are my attempts at still being trendy but being a frumpy old teacher. I'm thinking tucked into a pencil skirt with some black tights (patterned or regular) and some black leather boots. We'll see. The kids usually tell me when I have a style FAIL.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I just shoveled for 90 minutes. Welcome home to Wisconsin, CBB.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Shopping

Just knocked out 3/4 of my Christmas shopping list tonight! Ah, the magic of organization and effectiveness. Tomorrow I think I'll go see a movie and drink some warm coffee. It's going to be a walk to the mall....

Applied to three jobs today and had one interview. Felt good. Hopefully some of this work leads to my future this summer and beyond. I need a plan soon!

Ice Skating

As previously mentioned - I took some of my kids ice skating for the first time in their lives. TOO funny. Here are the one's that made it onto the ice!

My Student Performing for some TFAs!

Listen to the blues! Absolutely love it. And a huge success. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This might just be my favorite commercial ever. Love!

Great, great song too!

Some may think these people look like tools but I completely disagree(well, maybe not COMPLETELY disagree - that one hair cut is intense). A few reasons why I want this to be my life; the Woody (I've always wanted one!), the Argyle sweaters, that dog (SO CUTE), and those outfits (ughhh let me a be a success, so I can dress like that everyday). 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ACT Readiness

Kids are killing it on this ACT. Rock it my friends!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fight, Fight, Fight - Side note

Just a side note; I did have five players remain on the bench plus one manager. I don't want to make it seem like a brawl. The entire other team was involved, but not mine. We had maybe three involved, really only one that was majorly involved.

There are some positives I guess, that the team did not participate. However, I just still am floored. In the last four games we have had three fights. One in the stands, one with players and fans, and now one with two teams. What a waste of time. And how do we fix it when they are all "isolated" events?

Fight, Fight, Fight

Grabbed/tackled/forced/pushed/broke-up my first fight tonight. Well, kind of. I've been involved in a few break ups before, but tonight was the topper for sure. I just can't begin to tell you.

So, one of our players gets fouled? Maybe. Debateable. Well, she gets pissed and decides to cuss at the other girl who then pushes, we push back, and said girl from other team throws a killer punch into our players jawline. Then, all hell breaks lose. We had one dumb girl jump out of the stands, stupid stupid stupid. We had the other team's bench completely empty out. Stupid stupid stupid.

I am FLOORED by this "loyalty" students have to each other. Loyalty to my teams (which I only EVER witnessed two fights and it certainly wasn't punches, just some pushing) was holding your teammate back so that they calmed down. Here, loyalty is fighting right along side with them. What are you doing? Why are you going down with someone who is hot headed and out of control? When they were in the wrong, why are YOU taking up for them? I just don't understand.

So, in the end, we cleaned up some weave, I body wrapped a girl and lifted her up and out, yelled and kicked out almost 10 people from the game, and ejected 7 players. What a giant waste of time. Sometimes I wonder if I should have just been a teacher, and not a coach. My major drama and headaches come from that source. Yet, I do love coaching and having those relationships with the students. I don't know. Culture, culture, culture. How do you change culture?


Great mash-up, check it out.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some highlights


Had such a great day yesterday. I laughed so much, probably the most I have in a few months. As I mentioned in a previous post I brought my students on a field trip of sorts this weekend. I had seven great students with me, and it was quite a solid experience. Some highlights:

1. Students spoke in front of about 75-100 2009-2010 TFA Corps Members and did a wonderful job
2. One student performed 3 "blues" songs for the crowd, and they erupted at the conclusion of each song. He really was spectacular.
3. Took the students "ice" skating (on fake ice) - a first for ALL of them. hahahaha IMAGINE
4. Seeing Santa walking down the street in downtown Helena, AR and the students calling him over to ask for their presents
5. Taking students to Mexican - another FIRST for them and them going crazy over guacamole, salsa, beans in their burritos, etc.
6. Telling the restaurant that it was one of the student's birthday (at that restaurant they give you a sombrero, sing, and put whip cream on your face from the desert you get)
7. Students then taking said desert and slamming me in the face with it
8. Taking them to the Helena Blues Heritage Center to see a little history
9. Student performing again at a restaurant later for more TFA
10. Driving 7 students home in a ghetto school car (doors don't open from the inside, apparently no shocks left, and steering about 6 inches off to the right) and them screaming every song
11. Students answering my phone at any point and freaking out many friends hahaha

One of the best days I have had in a long time. And, surprisingly, it was school related - something I try desperately to escape on the weekends. But then again, as time has passed I have clearly realized that students are not the problem at my school. They are in fact what keeps us going everyday.

Pictures to follow!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Giving Thanks

Just stole this from Abbie

Giving Thanks

This site allows you to choose a card and thank you message to send to a member of our Armed Forces currently serving in Iraq.

Three easy steps and Xerox will print the card and send it for you. A small price to pay to send holiday greetings to people who deserve them.

What a great idea!

Big Day

Today is our last ProSat (Professional Development one Saturday a month) for the Fall semester. At ProSat we always have an opener that performs or talks, etc. TFA tries to always have it be students so that we have a chance to see some of our Delta kids. it's my kids!! I am so excited!!!! (and a little nervous)

We are having two types of performers. First, we are having 6 students come and say a little speech about how Teach for America has impacted their lives in the classroom and out. And then second, we are having a boy come who is really talented at playing blues music and singing. It is going to be great!

I am going to post pictures afterward. Hopefully it goes well! :)


Swept in basketball last night, junior girls, senior girls, and senior boys! Killed it!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Love

Rough Draft Proposal

Hey everyone! Here is a rough draft of the letter I am going to be sending out for TFA. Email me what you think about it with suggestions, kudos, grammar/punctuation fixes, etc. Thanks!

p.s. I had to edit out my name and town name for some protection purposes.

Country roads, one gas station towns, class sizes less then 15, and business closing times around 5PM - are just a few of the shocks that came with moving to the Mississippi Delta. At first, the thought of surviving these types of road blocks were difficult to overcome, now it is just part of the day to day mix we each push through. My name is Caitlin Butler, and I am a 2009 Teach for America Corps Members, placed in [town], Arkansas and part of the Mississippi Delta Corps.

Perhaps the most eye opening part of this movement and experience is the student’s ability to push through adversity. Students reading at an average of 5 years behind their grade level are achieving every day in the classroom because of their personal motivation. What a powerful concept. Self respect and determination driving success, not money, not economical class, not privilege. Petrified of my End of Course English III exam scores, I felt like there was a mountain to climb to get to any level of measurable success. And yes, maybe I was right - there definitely was a mountain - but where I was wrong was what type of mountain. Students in my classroom these past two years have the desire inside of them to succeed. Now, it is simply putting the tools in their hands and empowering them.

Perhaps my largest success in the classroom each day has been investment. I have had the opportunity to have the best students in the Delta in my classroom each day. Because of this fact - I can’t stop loving them each day! We may disagree and get annoyed with each other, but these students have become my number one. As a result they are just as committed to the goals we have in the classroom as I am. Last year we had students answer every single open response and essay question, something that has not happened at [town] in 5 years. We went from 21% completion of open response questions to 100%. Students understood where they were going and how they needed to get there.

This impact has gone far beyond my classroom though. Now with seven Teach for America teachers at [town] High School we have seen the biggest math score gains in Southeastern Arkansas, an actual Spanish teacher instead of distance learning instructor, reaching the national standard of Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) in middle school literacy, and the first Biology teacher in 5 years to last more then 1 year. All of these accomplishments are positive. All of these accomplishments are directly from Teach for America.

Please continue to support this movement in [town] and far beyond this. When I coach basketball in our district there are 5 Teach for America teachers involved out of 10 schools. Let’s grow this to each and every town. The students are responding, and so must we! Teach for America for the win!

Bah Bahhh

Yesterday was rough. I had to take a student to the hospital for the second day in a row. She is suffering from major dehydration and extreme fatigue. At basketball practice she collapsed and could not focus her eyes. She went completely cold and could not squeeze my finger or use her legs to walk to the car.

I thought maybe she was just dehydrated, so I had her sit for awhile at first (before the rest of that happened) and had her drink some water. She got progressively worse, until I thought it was dangerous to not take her to the hospital. I transported her there and then waited until her mom got there. Then the same thing happened the next day at the game (she did not play or participate, just sat on the bench).

Some of the things that have happened down here are things I never thought I would personally experience.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Burst out laughing

Just burst out laughing when these two photos came up. Try to find out why in both examples....


We have two and half weeks until Christmas break. The last week used to be considered "exam week," but is now under review for a different possibility. Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating.

In the past on the Friday right before break, the kids would come in and have 1 exam, leave at 1030, and teachers would follow soon after at 12. Now, we are to have a full day on both Thursday and Friday. That's lame, and tiresome. The newly proposed plan is to have a one hour study hall before each exam. What!? I foresee a few problems with that;

1. No one will study the night before
2. People will not want to study during their time in class, equaling pink slips/write-ups
3. Teachers will not fill up the entire hour (myself included), equaling pink slips/write-ups
4. Students will be given the answers immediately before taking the test, therefor not testing their knowledge, but instead their ability to remember something in a short period of time

Just a few. Sometimes I feel like there needs to be more communication and group brainstorming before these type of decisions are rolled out. Especially getting input from the teachers that actually TEACH and deal with the issues/kids in this context each day.