Monday, November 28, 2011

WARNING: It's a Little Wordy

Last week I finished my month long practicum in an elementary school in West Jordan. A practicum is essentially a mini-student teaching in which I observed my mentor teacher, helped out in the classroom and got lots of practice by teaching a few lessons a every day for a month. I was assigned to do my practicum in a sixth grade class. I was originally a little freaked out, mostly because I knew that the majority of the class would probably be able to to beat me up. And I was right, 90% of the class reached heights greater than my mere five feet and two inches and weighed several to many pounds more than me and could have taken me down in any sort of physical competition or fight. Luckily, I showed them who was boss and gained the respect I was hoping for and never came close to getting pummeled. My other concern with 6th grade, aside from the students towering over me, was that they would be entering their teenage, and therefore bratty, years. I couldn't have been more wrong. Although some of them were punks at times and a few were already affiliated with gangs, the majority of them still had a cute little kid in them but were old enough that they were beginning to develop a fun personality and sense of humor. My fears of teaching in the 6th grade were completely unjustified and wiped away after only a day or two in the classroom. I fell in love with the kids in my class and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect mentor teacher to work with. I've tried to think of the best parts of my practicum experience and I've come up with a little list:

NOTE: All names have been changed so as to honor confidentiality rights. 

  •  There was a little boy that would walk up to me every morning during silent reading and tell me how lovely I looked or that I had beautiful eyes. Seriously, if any one is lacking in the self-confidence department, become an elementary school teacher. The kids will make your self-esteem sky rocket.
  • There were two boys that would stay in from recess to talk to me almost every day. When I would tell them to go out and play, they said that talking with me was more fun than recess. Once again, refer to the self-esteem point on number one. 
  • One afternoon the kids were working in pairs and two boys were sitting on the ground filling out their social studies packet. One of the boys started wacking the other one with his pencil. Well, boy #2 had enough and grabbed the pencil away from boy #1. Due to overly exerted force, boy #2 stabbed himself in the palm with the freshly sharpened pencil. My mentor teacher had stepped out of the room for a few minutes at the time, meaning I was the 'responsible adult'. I asked him if he was okay and he told me in a brave, but terrified voice that he thought he might have lead poisoning. I looked down at his hand and in just a few seconds, a pool of blood had collected in his palm, so I quickly sent him down to the office to get it taken care of. Minutes later he came running back into the portable; he had managed to convince the office that he may have lead poisoning and that they needed to check out the pencil that had become the weapon. Turns out he was fine, as I had predicted, and later when I asked him if he was okay he informed me that he was, only because he was used to his hand getting stabbed. Just last year he accidentally stabbed himself with a knife. You'd think he'd have learned.
  •  I learned that "Rasmussen" is a little tricky for even 6th graders to pronounce. I've resorted to the fact that for the rest of my life the majority of students will refer to me as "Mrs. R." Except for that one over achiever in my class who promised me on my first day there that he would practice my name that night if I would practice his. When I asked him what his last name was he told me "Carter." You've got yourself a deal, Mr. Carter. And I've got myself the better end of the deal. 
  • As cliche as this sounds, the best part of the whole practicum was teaching the kids and having a visible lightbulb go on. Sometimes it was with a whole class and other times it was at the back table working in a small group with the kids who were struggling. Either way, knowing that I had taught them something that they needed to know and that I had made a difference, no matter how small, was the most rewarding feeling in the world. It's what will make the crappy pay worth it.
  • That and receiving notes and pictures from the kids on a daily basis. One of my favorites came from a kid named Sam. To give a little background you have to know that I taught a lesson introducing the planets in the Solar System. At one point in the lesson, I broke the class into eight groups, each representing a planet (very confusing that Pluto is no longer a planet). I had taken the distances from each planet to the Sun and converted them into measurable distances. We went outside and I gave each group a tape measurer and marked a place on the field that represented the Sun. Each group was then to measure the distance from the Sun to their planet so that they could visually see and understand the concept of relative distance. Before we went outside I told the kids that if they were goofing off and not following directions, I would make them stay in from recess. Well, Sam decided to steal Isaac's tape measurer and whip him with it. Obviously, Sam got to stay in from recess. While he was sitting at his desk thinking about what he had done, he wrote me a little letter that I promise I will keep forever: 
Sorry Mrs. R. that I was being disrispectful And sorry for stealing Isaac's measuring tape and for running around I'm sorry I would never do that again. And thank you so much for being so nice to the class. 

Melted my heart. Especially the way he spelled disrespectful and sincerely. We still need to work on that. Well, if you've made it this far, my deepest apologies for being so wordy and writing so much. What can I say?

Since then we had a perfect Thanksgiving break and loved being able to spend so much time with both of our families. It gave us a little taste of what Christmas break will feel like, only we won't have any homework over the upcoming three weeks: glorious! We're so excited for the Christmas season and have put all of of Christmas decorations up in our apartment and have been listening to Christmas music nonstop now that Thanksgiving is over. Now if we can just get through the last two weeks of classes and finals. Wish us luck! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekend Getaway

Last weekend Bennett's cousin got married in Twin Falls. We had been planning on heading up for it Friday morning and going back home that same night. My mom happened to mention that to my aunt and she graciously offered us a weekend stay at their condo in Sun Valley just a little over an hour away. We decided to make a weekend trip of it at about 10:30 the night before we left. It was such a fun spur of the moment trip that we desperately needed.

Our first stop was in Twin Falls for the wedding. We left at 6 in the a.m. and made it to the temple just in time. It was a beautiful ceremony and reminded us of our own sealing a few months back. In between the sealing and the luncheon we headed over to the Falls with the Rasmussen clan that made it up for the wedding. We took off after the luncheon and enjoyed a very relaxing weekend in Sun Valley.

In the car on the way to Sun Valley. Very dangerous and risky move. Not recommended for amateurs. 

On Saturday morning we slept in and grabbed some breakfast in Ketchum. 

We tried to relax the whole weekend but when it came down to it, I was getting observed on Monday and had to prepare my lesson and Bennett had a math test. Therefore, we spent a few hours in the Ketchum Community Library. Go ahead, call us lame and nerdy. We are. 
I have to say though, after going to Sun Valley for 21 years in a row, this was the first time I have stepped foot in the local library. How exciting.  

This summer we were a few hours behind the rest of my family on our way into Sun Valley and they stopped at the infamous Burger Grill before we arrived, meaning we didn't get a chance to eat there in July. Gasp. Meaning Bennett had never experienced the Burger Grill. Double gasp. Naturally we hit it up for lunch. Just as delicious as always. 

We walked around Sun Valley for only a few minutes due to the freezing weather. 

We then headed down to Ketchum again to walk around the shops. 
We of course made a stop to Country Cousins, as is customary with a trip to Sun Valley, and found all sorts of fun and useless trinkets. 

Bennett found this gem of a back scratcher. Typical of Country Cousins, but oh how I love it. 

That night for dinner we went to the Pioneer Saloon to get a Jim Spud. We've been dreaming about this world wonder since July. It failed to disappoint us and has left us dreaming again for our next chance to eat one of these eight months from now. 

Doesn't his face scream pure joy in the fact that he's about to dig in to his very own Jim Spud? 

The rest of the weekend consisted of us lounging around, sleeping, and watching movies as we hibernated in my aunt and uncles beautiful condo. We can't thank them enough for the perfect weekend that we had! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Okay, so we didn't get to hear this phrase at our own place this Halloween season primarily because we live in a basement apartment that no one knows about and therefore didn't get any trick-or-treaters. Tragic, I know. We did, however, get to celebrate Halloween in other ways this year: 

We kicked off the holiday by going to Brian and Chantel's annual pumpkin carving party. A ton of people from our ward showed up and we ended up carving away with some friends: 

Last year, while carving pumpkins together on a double date with one of Bennett's mission companions, I learned an interesting fact about my soon to be husband at the time. He is afraid of pumpkin guts. Seriously. Afraid. Like he wont touch them. I on the other hand have a sick and twisted fascination with pumpkin guts. Hence, I am the designated de-gutter. He is the designated carver. Win-win situation. 

 Our ward/high school friends, the McConkies and their beautiful baby girl

And this is our child. We're proud parents of our little munchkin. 
Tragically, he died a week later when some sort of creature attacked him and spun a very dense web inside of him. 

Our next event was the annual Child family halloween party. We went the lazy route this year when Andrea, Preston and I all pulled out our Student Body Officer sweaters from the back of our closet and went as school spirit promoters from Centerville Junior High. 

We went to a Halloween Arts Festival at the Masonic Temple to see the premiere of a new Halloween film that Chantel was in. Her film was great, although the other films shown were a little too far on the gory side of the Halloween spectrum for an innocent little mind like mine. However, it was so fun to see Chantel's masterpiece. (Sorry, no pictures)

On Saturday we went to our second annual murder mystery dinner hosted by my parents. Check out last years party here. This year was a 70's celebrity theme. My assigned character was Farrah Fawcett (innocent) and Bennett was assigned Ron Howard. We had so much fun getting our costumes all pulled together and playing the part of our celebrities, 70's style. Turns out Bennett was the one who killed a man. All over a stolen pet rock. A bit of an over reaction if you ask me.

I've started my practicum at an elementary school in West Jordan in a 6th grade class (LOVE it- more about that later) and was able to dress up as my easy go-to costume: gypsy. The little kiddos were adorable in their costumes and it was so fun to participate in a classroom Halloween party after having taken a ten year sabbatical from them. 

On Halloween, my mom and dad invited us over to eat chili and donuts, classic Halloween food. Afterwards, we watched the latest episode of Psych (our favorite TV show) which had a Halloweenish plot to it. 

It was a great Halloween for us! Hope you all had a fabulous one as well!