Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School

It is absolutely unreal how fast that summer went.  But, I'm glad to be back at school, back in a routine, doing what it is that I love.

And today was a great first day!

Now that it's our third year in our building, I finally feel like I know everyone in it!  I started off my day at breakfast duty, and I loved getting to chat with former students about their summers and getting to introduce myself to new faces.

Then, when the bell rang, it was time to help everyone with their combination locks.  Last year, I think I was 18 minutes late to my first period class due to all of those pesky combination lock issues.  This year, I was only ten minutes late!  And when I walked in, I had thirty students sitting quietly in their seats waiting for me to arrive.

During our (shortened) plan time, the conversation among teachers on my team was very positive, everyone saying that they had a great experience with each of their classes!  Don't get me wrong, we know that there will be challenges, but we have high hopes that this will be great year.

At the end of the day, while on crosswalk duty, I was greeted with many hugs from more non-breakfast-eating students.  It's amazing to see how much they've grown, how their style has changed, how their voices have changed, and to catch up on what's new with them.  I don't know what I'm going to do when this year's 8th graders, who were my first class as a teacher, go off to high school and I no longer have these opportunities to stay in touch with what's going on.

But now, it's off to bed for this tired teacher.  I forget how exhausting the first day of school can be!  I can't wait to jump into the curriculum tomorrow!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Taking on the Niobrara

"So, Allysa, are you going to buy a swimming suit?" asked Tiffany.

"No, silly, why would I go and do a thing like that?" I asked.

"Because, you're going to get wet!" replied Tiffany.

"Aren't we just going camping?" I questioned.

"NO!  We're tubing down the river!" exclaimed Tiffany.


I don't know exactly what I was thinking when Steph and Amber called a few months ago and asked if I wanted to go camping at the Niobrara.  I guess I pictured staying in a cabin, playing games, and making s'mores.  It didn't even occur to me that we would be floating down a river.

Although this is a very non-Allysa sort of activity, there was no way I would  have turned down a trip with these people.

So, on Friday, after our LAST EVER GRAD CLASS, we packed up the cars and headed north.

After their not-so-positive experience from last year, they decided to book a cabin (with air conditioning and indoor plumbing) for this year.  Thank goodness!  It was actually quite nice!

And we enjoyed a lovely view of the river.

On our first night there, we played games and enjoyed each other's company:

And went to test the water in the river:

The next morning, we busied ourselves making sandwiches and packing our coolers and bags.

Soon enough, it was time to go!

Regrettably, I don't have any pictures from our journey down the river.  I was advised not to bring my camera, as things tend to get wet when you ride on a raft for five hours.

That night, my friends served me a birthday cookie!  My actual birthday was on Friday, but I wasn't feeling well, so we kind of forgot about it.

We spent our last night playing more games and just hanging out.

Though I don't consider myself a nature enthusiast, it is hard to deny the beauty of this view. 

Although I was quite skeptical about this being an enjoyable experience, I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised!  I would most definitely do this again!