The Livingstons

The Livingstons

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Crazy, Wonderful Semester!

I haven't had any time to get on here and talk about my crazy life lately! But, everything is finally winding down, and life is getting much less stressful. Let me start from the beginning of my practicum...

So, a couple months ago, I wrote about how I was starting to teach in my practicum (which is basically a practice for student teaching, which I will be doing in the Fall- and then I graduate in December! Woo hoo!). Anyway, I was teaching 3rd grade at a school called Orchard Hills in Santaquin, UT. Let me just say, it was a WONDERFUL experience. But it didn't start out that way. In fact, it didn't become wonderful until about 2 weeks before the semester was over.

For most of this practicum experience, I was basically observing the class and teacher for most of the day. Sometimes I would do little things for my teacher, Mrs. Olson, like make copies, switch out guided reading books, and other small things like that. I would teach about once a week, and that was usually because I was being observed by my CFA (a CFA is just a person that is hired by BYU to go and observe how student teachers are doing and if they are ready to be real teachers). So, I was pretty much feeling like the experience wasn't really preparing me to be a good teacher because I wasn't getting very much time teaching and really acting as the teacher with the students. I think Mrs. Olson just didn't want to overload me with that kind of responsibility at first.

Another frustration that I was having was that I had so many different people (my CFA, Mrs. Olson, and my professors at BYU) who had different expectations for me on what I should teach and how it should be taught. I had a ton of assignments (AKA different things to teach) while I was doing this experience. It seemed like as I was trying to meet one person's expectations, I wasn't able to meet another person's. There were conflicting expectations! It was pretty frustrating. I had several breakdowns where I just couldn't handle it any more and bawled my eyes out. I almost just felt like teaching was just too complicated and that this experience wasn't inspiring me to be a teacher. It was sad.

After about a month of the above, my mentor teacher, Mrs. Olson, finally told me that she wanted me to take over the class more often. She said she would give me more opportunities to teach and run the class. I was ECSTATIC! So, the very next week, I came to school expecting to start teaching and running the class. Well, it just so happened that Mrs. Olson had gotten very sick and wasn't going to be able to come in. So, I pretty much HAD to run the class, all by myself, with no help. I was a little bit terrified, but very excited to do it. That day went pretty smoothly and I felt happy with how I taught. The next day, Mrs. Olson was still sick so I got to continue teaching all on my own! It was the first time during this experience that I actually thought to myself, "I can do this. I can be a teacher. I WANT to be a teacher! This is awesome!" It was seriously so awesome to run the class and be on my own. I felt even better about that second day on my own.

Mrs. Olson finally got better and came back to school, but for the last 2 weeks, she let me basically just take over the class most days. I taught things right on the spot, with barely any preparation, and I felt like those lessons went well too. I ended the practicum feeling really excited (and exhausted) about teaching!

Here is my awesome class! I'll miss them so much!

One of the little girls in my class decided to make me a bracelet out of colored rubber bands. She was so excited to give it to me, and I put it right on when she did. Then, another little girl saw that I had the bracelet on and told me that she wanted to make me a bracelet too. So, at lunch, she gave me a paperclip bracelet, and I put that on right away too. They are seriously adorable. Apparently they really went with the blue and red theme. (Also, my friend, Justyna, thinks it looks like I have little nubs instead of fingers in this picture.)

They created this awesome flower bouquet made out of paper flowers for me, and each of them also wrote a letter to me about what they like about me. It was adorable! This is me (and my bouquet) with my two friends Christine and Justyna, who also did their practicum along with me.

I honestly don't know how I would've survived the practicum and this entire semester without these amazing girls. These 13 other girls and I went through all of the same things this semester. We had all 6 of our classes together. We all had to do the same long and tedious assignments. We stuck it out together. We are very lucky to have been together, and I consider them all my good friends. We called ourselves "The Cool Cats of Cohort."

These two pictures are of us Cool Cats at BYU Science Night. We each came to the BYU Preschools/Kindergartens and created learning centers (about science of course) to teach the little kids and their families. It was fun!

Some of us went to our friend, McKenna's, bridal shower. It was so fancy and so nice. We are so excited for her!

For one of our classes, we got to go down to the BYU duck pond and explore (best class ever, right?!). Justyna was a total duck whisperer. She could get those ducks to come right up to her and eat out of her hand.

All of us Cool Cats had to endure this extremely boring 6 hour social studies conference this semester. At least we suffered together.

Those girls seriously saved me this semester. It was so nice to have them to vent to, talk with, and laugh about things.

To relieve some of the stress and annoyance with school, I had the chance to go to Waverly's bridal shower. Wave is marrying Greg's brother, Shaun, in a couple of weeks. Diane, Lauren, and Grandma Sisco put the shower on for her. It was a great time with family and I got to meet Wave's mom, sister, and grandma. They were so sweet!

This wedding dress is a little too immodest for the wedding...

One of the best things that happened this semester was that my mom came and stayed with us for a weekend! It was so fun to have her here! I had been so busy with school during the week before she came that I didn't really have time to think about her coming. But once she got here, I realized I had missed her so much and I was so excited to have her with us!

My little sister, Ann Marie, came down from Logan to play in a soccer tournament at BYU on the weekend my mom was with us. It was fun to see her and watch her play. She's awesome.

Here's Utah State, warming up and getting ready to play BYU.

I love these ladies!

Ann Marie should be a super model in my opinion.

She's so cute!

My best friend.

Greg and I had the chance to go to the temple and be with Wave as she received her endowment. It was such a special experience. I'm so proud of her, and I'm so excited that she is going to be my sister-in-law soon! She's a good friend.

Here's Greg and me after the temple.

For Easter, we spent the night up in Park City with Greg's family. It was fun to see them and spend time with them. The weather was great, and the day was perfect. I'm so grateful for my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I owe him everything. Everything I have is because of Him.

I was also reunited with my work friends! Wave is actually working with me now, but isn't in these pictures. I was so excited to see them! I'll be working full time all summer to earn the big bucks. It'll be great!

Even though this semester was the hardest and most brutal one by far, I survived! Even after several long weeks, huge butt-kicking finals, and some tears, I am happy to say that I am still here! I was very excited to be learning to teach, but honestly, I am very happy to be done with the semester! And I CAN'T WAIT TO GRADUATE IN DECEMBER! Life is great!