Showing posts from 2017

Testing My Confidence on Day One!

Source: This week, McGraw-Hill Education posted my guest blog,  Feeling Like a Fraud as a Teacher:  Reconciling with Your Abilities and Gaining Confidence in Your Own Teaching . In the blog, I disclosed some of my insecurities as a Spanish teacher and shared how I overcame them. On today, the first day of school for teachers, my confidence was hilariously put to the test. Our school's new Spanish teacher lived in Japan for seven years. When a colleague introduced him another teacher who speaks English, Spanish and Japanese (yes, we have kick-butt teachers at our school!), the new teacher greeted her in Spanish, then started going! I'd been anxious to hear the new teacher's Chilean accent, but my mouth dropped when he started speaking. In my head I was thinking: Oh, crap! I can't understand a thing he's saying! This is NOT going to go well for me! Turns out he was speaking Japanese!   Whew! Who knew Japanese could sound anything li

Worrying less, praying more: Feeling powerless as a parent

Despite the endless amount of energy and worrying that we pour into our children, we still have moments when we feel absolutely powerless. Or maybe I should speak for myself: I have moments when I feel powerless. For example, I feel like I'm constantly fighting to impress upon them the importance of screen-free time. And I don't feel like I'm winning that fight. Yes, I can snatch a cell phone or turn off the WiFi. But a big part of me wants my children to want to experience life outside of their devices. I want them to enjoy reading books and magazines, going outside and finding something to do, playing board games and doing other creative activities. Bullying is another area that has stripped many parents of their power. I heard a mom friend recently express that seeing your child hurting and knowing you can't do anything about it is the worst feeling in the world. My third biggest day-to-day worry is totally out of my control: the state of our country and world.

Why Teachers Work in the Summer

In case you didn't know, teachers don't get paid over the summer. I find myself needing to remind people of this frequently, when they start talking about how teachers have it made this time of year. In my county, teachers are 10-month employees. Most of the teachers I know opt to have their paychecks spread out over 12 months, in order to keep getting a check during the summer. Let me say something else about Howard County, Maryland. It has listed among the 10 riches counties in the country. But keep in mind that the cost of living in one of the riches counties is a lot higher than in other places. Yet, teacher salaries here are not the highest in the country. Trust me, I am not complaining. Just pointing out that some of us can't afford to just chill all summer. In the past, NerdyTeacherMom has taken the summers off for several reasons. First, I was too fried to do anything else. Usually, by the end of the year, I have absolutely no motivation or energy. I typ

How to thank your child's teacher (and not look like a suck-up)

Image A parent recently asked NerdyTeacherMom for advice on how to get her daughter's teachers to think of her favorably as they wrap up their grading for the year. If you don't have a child in high school, you might not see the big deal. But for those of us with high school students, we know (or will soon understand) how significant quarter grades are. In my district, quarter grades, along with midterm and final exam grades, are averaged into the overall grade earned for the course. This final grade is what is used to calculate the grade point average (GPA). The GPA, of course, helps position students for more competitive colleges and scholarships. I asked mom who her daughter's teachers were. I figured I could give her some hints on what those teachers might like. But when she named colleagues who I actually don't know well, I was forced to give her question some more thought. As much as I, personally, would love to walk into the summer armed w

Rethinking the Mommy Blog

Finally, I'd created a blog and started writing about topics that were both easy and fun to talk about. I'd sit at my computer, and the thoughts would flow easily. Writing about my younger daughter's elementary school antics, with a few mentions of my middle schooler sprinkled in, had me mapping out my plan to deal with the popularity that would surely come from becoming a well known blogger. Then it happened. My older daughter started high school. And not only did she start high school, but she started 9th grade at the high school where I teach . What more could a NerdyTeacherMom ask for? I was convinced that I would have enough material for a daily blog entry. And I did, in fact. Except I couldn't bring myself to write about any of it. Publicly reflecting on my child's academic shake-ups, social dramas, and physical and emotional insecurities just didn't sit well with me. Every time I thought about writing, the idea of me -- her mother -- putting her