g00d day.... mostly.

Yesterday was overall quite fantastic- though it was terribly l0000ng... and it didn't make it any better that I locked myself out of my apartment when I got home with my keys and phone inside.

Bethia told me: Ms. Toll I missed you (referring to my absence from the classroom last Friday).

I found out that I get $3,000 to spend on purchasing new items for my classroom. I was also give a Lakeshore catalog and I felt like I was 8 and it was the "Toys R Us" Christmas catalog. Magical. I can't wait!

Our IST came into my classroom to make sure I was doing everything that I should be and she said she was so impressed! She has a "plus and delta" form that she filled out and gave to me and she said that she ran out of room on the "plus" side and the "delta" side was left blank. :) Sometimes I feels as though I am doing everything wrong.... but I guess I'm doing ok.

The after-school classes began and I had 3 40 minute classes full of rambunctious 3rd graders. They were so much fun (most of them....). I am really looking forward to this extra job. Side note** Even the 3rd graders pass gas.... yucky.

After 4 days of being away from my pre-kinders I really missed them. But today and the rest of the week I have state pre-k training in Albuquerque so I wont get to see them again until Monday... I will miss them terribly.

The worst part of my day yesterday? One of my students had her last day, and I wasn't even informed that it was her last day until her mom told me when she came to pick her up! Whhhhhhhy couldn't she have told me sooner? I wasn't ready to lose one of my lil' ones. Jessica will be missed A LOT.

More pre-k training in the a.m. so I am off to pre-k dreamland.....


Home Visits.

Friday my kids had their first day of class without me. I was informed that Nico was quite upset that I wasn't there. I was told that he removed himself from the carpet during circle time and all he would say was "I want Ms. Toll." Aw... they really DO love me.

I had the pleasure of visiting 6 of my students' homes today. It was very neat to see them interact at home.

Angel is much more well behaved in class, it was funny seeing him with no shoes on. I forget that my kids don't wear shoes 24/7, I guess it's just like when they forget I don't stay at the school 24/7. I also learned that Angel has a pretty big crush on on one of my assistants, so cute. Angel's mom also showed off his baby books, which I enjoyed looking at.

Madison, Kiera-Rae, and Danielle were being so shy. It's was super strange. Kids are funny. It was also funny seeing Madison in her nightgown.

Jonah waited outside for me to come all day (or so his mom said), and sure enough he was still out there waiting when I pulled up. He pulled out an encyclopedia from a bookshelf and started showing me "S" and "P." All the letters we have learned so far. What a cutie. Jonah's mom also told me that he came home and told her he was upset because I was not there on Friday. =)

Poor Kyli was sick and napping, so I didn't get to say "hi" to her, but it was very nice talking to her parents. I can see where she gets her manners from.

All of the parents were so nice and welcoming. I really enjoyed talking with them one-on-one outside of the classroom. It's a little strange to me because many of the parents I work with are my same age.

I will be conducting home visits about once a month and I'm looking forward to the other 32 trips I will be going on.

I have missed them so much, it has been 4 days since I last saw them.... I can't wait to see them tomorrow....


Happy Brittday!

Happy birthday to me. :)

Birthdays are so funny. I managed to be come a whole year older today. 23 is quite grownup. I told my kids I was 104, so now I'm technically 105. To them I'm just old. They have no conception of how old.

A great day for cupcakes.



love. lOoOve. love.

"Yes Dominique?"
"Do you love me morer now??"
"I love you more everyday Dominique. Of course I do."

I love the way little Katrina's mouth corners point down. She always looks grumpy or angry, but in fact she is a sweetheart.

I love when little Bria who hardly talks says something to me. He voice is so sweet and pleasant.

I love when Seferino lets me know that Larry is still in the bathroom because "you know... his tummy might not feel good."

I love when both the a.m. class and the p.m. class sing the parts of the songs that don't have words as if the words were "we were werno we wer wer wer..."

I love that Adam always has to sit right by my feet when we read stories under the reading tree.

I love that when I tell the students to "catch a star and hold it super tight in your hands on your lap" Rhiannon holds her hands so tight for the entire remainder of the day.

I love how proud they are of their precious art work.

I love that even though Paige still doesn't talk she does know the letters we have learned and will say them to me in private.

I love when Nayeli runs up behind me and pinches my hand and then runs off.

I love how Danielle stills calls me "Ms. Tall."

I love how well behaved Angel has become.

I love Isaiah's Spongebob windbreaker jacket.

I love how the kids look in their super star reader glasses (star shaped sunglasses with the lenses popped out of them).

I love my job. Even though I have been consistently sick since day 2. Haven't missed a day yet.


Week 5

Things seem easier. But the lifestyle is daunting. I don't like being alone. Making dinner for one. Seeing friends on the weekend only. Eating breakfast alone. Waking up and going to work when the sun hasn't even come out yet. Packing the same lame-0 lunch every single day. It is getting old, and it's only been a little over a month.I wonder how I will feel next week when I start teaching art after school for two hours.

I do enjoy the amount of free time I get to read though. And the rain... all the time.... rain....rain....rain... so pretty. A cat would make things a lot better that is for sure.

But again, I love my kids. They are my most favorite thing in the whole world and I am very certain that there is a reason why I am here. This pre-k stuff is kind of like my "calling." I still just kind of wish I knew what I was doing. And I wish I knew more about what was developmentally appropriate. Sometimes what I say is waaaaay over their head, or way too easy.


Me + Art = Love

1.) Ooohhooo hooo I am so excited! I will be staying at school for 2 more hours Tuesdays through Thursdays to teach art and I couldn't be more pumped up about it! I will be working with 2nd through 5th grade, not the little guys, which is actually going to be quite refreshing. I have slightly forgotten what it is like to be around adults (more like semi-adults, but anyone older that 6 is basically and adult to me). Plus, art and Pre-k are totally two of my favorite things in the world, so I will get to teach both on a weekly basis.

2.) I love when my little ones run up to me and hug me. Some do it several times a day, and some cannot leave the class without a hug from Ms. Toll. I love the little boogers so much. I feel so honored and privileged to play a significant role in their awesome little lives. I just hope that their future teachers see how lucky they are to have them in their presence as well.

3.) I can't believe I'll be 23 soon.... or to my 4-year-olds "105." I am in this awkward age where i feel old and also still really young. It's quite strange.

Hasta la vista y0.


Valuable Time

Time is indeed valuable for my pre-kinders. 3 hours a day really sank in with me this weekend. I will have to use every second for learning and not let anytime go to waste.

I introduced this proposal to them on Monday, and they were (to my surprise) very excited to make sure that no time was wasted. So for the last two days we have wrapped up with student comments on how our day went and what may have happened to waste valuable learning time. Nico has had insightful comments to share both days...
Nico: "I get upset because some people don't clean up when the timer goes off. That just made me really sad (his tone was so meaningful and the feeling of disappointment in his classmates was easily detected)."
Me: "Is this because spending extra time cleaning up takes away from your learning time?"
Nico: "Yeah, I'm really sad about that...."
Nico: (Still clearly very upset) "People still don't clean up right away. I get so mad. I get so sad. It drives me nuts! And then the class gets a sad face. They waste my time. I put my books away today, but not everyone cleaned up."

I extremely admire Nico's desire to learn, and even though he may be also very guilty for contributing to wasting learning time at other points in the day, I at least know he is conscious of the concept and I think I will see a big improvement from him and the class in just a few short days. This makes me happy.

Some other interesting comments from Monday and Tuesday:

Isaiah to another classmate: "Don't do that! You're gonna make me turn into Spiderman!"

Nico: "I like you're pretty dress Ms. Toll!"

Adam: "The doctor took my laughing out (while pointing to his throat)." "No he didn't" I said. "Yes he did," he said, "that's why I can't laugh at movies."

Cierra: (This week we are reading a book called hands, I asked the students who they might think the hands pictured on the cover belonged to and this was her response) "Those are man hands 'cause they have hair!"

You know this really is the very best job.



Letter Pp: Check! :) Every single little one can write it beautifully, identify it and give the sound, and 1/3 of them can give a word that begins with the sound. Reading here we come. We only have 25 more letters to nail down.

Counting to 20: Check! What's next?

Love Ms. Toll: Check!

Ms. Toll loves: Check!

I'm so excited! My students are off to a fantastic start. I can't wait to watch them excel.

My teacher salary is saving for this:



blurbs in type.

In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed. ~Sid Caesar

This blog will be random and have no theme. Blurbs in type. Well actually, I suppose that would be the theme "blurbs in type." That's bittersweet. In one sense I totally managed to theme this blog without even meaning too, kind of neat. In the other sense I can't seem to escape structure and organization, I'm a prisoner. Grr.

I have my good days and my bad days. Today was a pretty good day.

I forgot to consider yesterday that as things become more of a routine they do get easier. A semi-plus.

Seferino told me his name changed. When I asked "to what?" he replied "Underdog." Later, when we were discussing what sorts of things we can do because we are big kids he said "fly." I asked him "how?" and he said "because I'm Underdog, I just can." Whoops, I forgot he morphed into Underdog overnight without any physical signs of change at all.

After school abuse training made my stomach churn for a while.

Why do I become obsessed with songs and burn myself out on them to the point where I wont appreciate them for a good 5 years? With the exception of only 5 songs. Right now I'm on a play list repetition. I'm doomed to skip these songs when they show up on my iPod in shuffle mode sooner or later.

After "Countdown to Blastoff" Dominique turned to Izabell and said "Oh that was pretty fun!"

The kids get Pp. It's awesome! They know it so well and they just learned it yesterday, the little boogers really impress me.

I love my kids. I'll never be able to say that enough.



dragging feet.

Since my institute for TFA my immediate response to "how's TFA/ how's your job?" would be "intense, it's the most intense thing ever." And it was and still is "the most intense thing ever," but part of me felt like that was always something I had to say. The response that I needed to give because that was what other TFA peeps would say or that was what people would expect. In reality it was the most intense thing ever, but I knew it was what I needed to do and it was my job/life, so day-to-day I really didn't think much of it. Also, at that point I knew it was only going to be for a few weeks, the end was in sight.

Now things are more routine. Now when I answer the question I can't even find words to express how difficult it truly is. Not just "Teach for America" but rather every single thing. Living alone. District requirements. Student needs for 40 different dependent kids. State Pre-K requirements beyond what one might expect. School requirements. Parent requirements. Mentor program requirements. Classroom set-up requirements. IEP requirements. Day-C. PPVT. Personal needs. Extreme debt and living pay check to paycheck. Wal-Mart of Gallup (don't ever go there if you are already stressed out). Sleep. Food. Human interaction. Time. Family. Boyfriend. My list could go on forever. And the end seems so far out of reach. Even Wednesdays feel so far away from Fridays.

Stressful and demanding. Challenging.

But on a lighter note: I wish Us Weekly published a magazine for Pre-K at Rocky View Elementary school. The love triangles are out of control.

All last week there were several love triangles going on between Savannah and Adam and Shobi. Words were exchanged. Hearts were broken, It was out of control.

Today was Savannah's birthday. Shobi told me that he got her a card, I imagine this is to win her back since she has recently developed a love for Adam, and Adam has about 3 or 4 girlfriends already in the class. I will be sure to keep you eager blog readers in the loop as to what develops with this. Stay tuned.

Smile of the day: Donald was coloring his pizza math book singing these exact words "9111 shorty fire burning on the dance floor....9111 shorty fire burning on the dance floor....9111 shorty fire burning on the dance floor...." and on and on. =]


3 days of pure bliss.

"Ms. Toll (insert '...' or '??' or '!!!' here)" count for today: Oh I at least heard my name in one of those forms about 94 times.

Circle Time:

Me: So what do animals wear?
Payton: Covers that will cover their bottoms.

Me: What would you be if you were in the circus?
Kodi: SPONGEBOB!... so I could do this: waving and twisting side to side saying "Hiiiiii!"

I over heard this conversation go down:

Angel: Katrina- if you see a mosquito just stay still. Or else it will bite you. Katrina I'm telling you the truth.


Isaiah came up to me with the pail of chalk and asked "Ms. toll can you draw sumfin for me?" So I drew a pretty decent version of Spongebob for him, and then he requested Patrick, and so I drew that too. As I was drawing another little boy came up and touched Isaiah's curly "Will Smith 80s style" hair doo and Isaiah snapped this at him "HEY! Don't mess wif my hair. I like my hair like dis!" Keep it real Isaiah, keep it real.

Angelina came to tell me about Shobi allegedly smacking here, and this was exactly how she said it: "Dat boy in da scarwey shurt hit me like dis (acts out how she was hit and points at Shobi in his scull and cross bone Ed Hardy like t-shirt)!"

But oh my goodness. 3 days of adult conversations. 3 days without snotty noses. 3 days without wiping up split red juice from the floor. 3 days without Nayeli following me around while clenching the the back of my shirt. 3 days without the dreadful smell of 4 year-old farts lingering in a stuffy classroom. 3 days of not having to listen to the "Counting to 20" song or "Count Down to Blastoff!" 3 days of sleeping in past 5am.

But oh how I will miss them dearly. Pathetic little lover I am.



My favorite line of the day:

As Kodi was walking out the door and down the hall he said to his mom: "I like Ms. Toll... she's cool."

My heart is still a puddle in my chest.

In circle time Nico was sucking his thumb and Payton told him "Don't suck your thumb Nico!" and Nico quickly responded "Hey don't be the boss of me!" ...it was funny for some reason.

One thing I have noticed the kids are REALLY good at: Fake phone calls on a toy phone. I mean it's simply amazing. They really sounds like someone is talking back to them on the other end. I just wonder what kind of stuff goes on in those little 4-year-old brains. One day we'll cut one open and find out.

As Julianna was eating her ham and cheese sandwich that she had packed for lunch (mom packs her lunch everyday since Julianna is really picky) I noticed she put her multi-colored My Little Pony fruit snacks inside her sandwich. Yeah, mom wasn't kidding, but that's just plain strange.

I found out that one of my students has lice. Yes lice. The one nasty thing I managed not to get while in elementary school myself. As soon as her mom told me, I couldn't walk fast enough to get into my classroom (out of mom's view) and drove my nails all over my scalp scratching relentlessly (yes, I just used TFA terminology to describe my paranoia of of lice). Her mom told me "you might want to take a look at the other girls hair." Right. Since that's totally what I'm getting paid to do, inspect for lice. Not to mention I'm totally trained in lice examination (it would have been nice to use a "sarcastic" font here). My job. Uh......

Scratch ya later.



Me: Sit criss-cross-applesauce Donald....
Donald: I can't cause I'm wearing this pant-skirt (pulling at his wind breaker pants).
Angel: Ewww....
Me: Uh.... I think you can still sit criss-cross applesauce.

Me: Nico! Look over here, it's a grasshopper.
Nico: (Attempting to step on the critter) ahhh!!!
Me: No Nico!! He's nice, he's cool. Let's look at him.
Nico: Why wont he hop anymore?
Me: Because you broke his leg.
Nico: Oh... I like him.
Me: Larry, some look at this grasshopper.
Larry: (Slams his big foot down) *squish*
Nico: What happened?
Me: He got squished.
Nico: Oh.

Nico: (Aysha walks by) That's my girlfriend!

I love my job. But I have to admit, I miss being in Las Cruces with my boyfriend and Zeta sisters. One bedroom apartments get lonely.

I can only watch so many reruns f America's next top model.... I can only drink so much chocolate milk.... and I must limit the number of times I check my Facebook to only 41 times a day.

The base coming from the low rider parked outside my door is driving me insane. The ice cream man really drives me insane. Everyday, it never fails. Even in the rain. Ug.

Lonely is getting lonely.



Yesterday a cat magically appeared in our classroom after art. I was sad when the janitor had to take it back outside. It is the friendliest cat I have ever encountered, and it's a lil' baybee kitten with half a tail and white stripes on top of orange fur.

Today he came back! And was playing on the playground with the kids! I wish I could have a pet because I would have scooped him right up and taken him home with me. Luckily, I can rest easy knowing that Mrs. Campbell (the sweet Pre-School teacher) is taking him home. I'm so happy!

My kids are so awesome.

Yes they are.

They are.

They are.

They arrrrreee.

They are so pumped to do kindergarten work and beat the kindergartners at our school. Hee hee oh man, I wish my life consisted of me just wanting to beat a kindergartners.

Teaching is hard. There, I said it.