Today was the first big day! Two of my Board's entries require me to have videotapes of small groups of my students interacting with one another. I also have to interact with them asking higher order questions to demonstrate my effectiveness as a teacher. So at the beginning of the week I went ahead and scheduled with my mentor to tape today. I figured that if I just set up a date I wouldn't be able to procrastinate. I work well when I have a time frame set up!
So of course this whole week I have been threatening, I mean priming, my students for videotaping. The topic of my unit is empathy because lately my students have been driving me nuts being mean, tattling, calling names, etc. so I thought this would be something they could definitely benefit from learning. So we worked very hard this week discussing empathy and completed many activities to help instill the concept in their brains.
Everything was going smoothly until on Wednesday the weather states "Snow showers beginning in the afternoon [Thursday], ending in the late evening with an accumulation of 1-2" For my northern readers you are thinking, "so what is the problem, it's only a little bit of snow." Well the problem is because here in Delaware an inch or so of snow means CLOSURES! Now if you are a regular reader you know I love my snow days...I'm the one who hears a slight chance of snow and I have my pj's on backwards and dancing the snow dance like there is no tomorrow. Snow days are one of the top 5 reasons I became a teacher, you know! But, I couldn't believe that out of all the times we could have snow it would have to affect the day I was set to be videotaped. So I talked to my mentor and she said that she did have time in the afternoon so if we were delayed (my original time was 8:30 am) she could do it right after lunch. This made me feel a bit better because my goal was to have the videotaped finished so I could complete the entry this weekend. Skip to this morning and sure enough...1 Hour Delay!
So you are all thinking how I should have been thrilled because I got an extra hour of sleep AND was going to get my video in. To you all I ask...have you ever been in a classroom when there has been a delay, more specifically a SNOW delay?? Can we say CRAZY? By the end of the day you would swear you taught 1 or 2 MORE hours that day because the students are off the wall. But I got up, dressed nicely (which means not in my normal Friday attire of jeans and Uggs), and put on the make-up (this is not a daily thing!). I was ready to conquer the lesson!
Part of my normal routine includes going to Dunkin Donuts for a large coffee with milk and extra sugar. Not daily, but normal enough that they know me and I have the exact change ready to go. So I got my coffee and we were off. Dylan dropped off, check, Zoe dropped off, check and the next stop, my school. I park the car, grab my purse, grab my teacher bag, and as I grab my Board's binder (which is about 1 ft thick and weighs more than me) I hit the coffee cup, knocking it over and as Murphy would have it the lid comes off and the steaming hot, sweet coffee pours into my center console. I drop the binder and grab the cup (priorities you know) and thank God that there is half a cup left. Okay, I can handle this. Once again I grab everything including the cup half full, go to step out of the truck and instead of stepping proceed to fall out because there was ice on my step. Once again...coffee cup fall, lid comes off, and that half cup is no longer half full! Now some would say that I should look at the positive...the coffee didn't fall in my stuff and I wasn't hurt. To them I say...this is my life and I will look at it how I want to!!!
Still I trudged on...the kids came in and yes, it was as crazy as was expected. I attempted to get them right to work and after a few, or a million, attempts they finally did. Of course, by then it was gym time so I dropped them off and decided to head to the local DD for a second try at coffee. By this time, I think this was more of a determination for me to beat Murphy than really needing the coffee. This time I did get my coffee and I have to admit a couple munchkins too because I figured by now I deserved it. I also bought some cookies for the kids because a little bribery never hurt anybody.
When I got back we only had about an hour until lunch so we did a little reading and little bit of math and headed to lunch. After lunch we had about 15 minutes until showtime so we talked a little, threatened and bribed some more, and then I passed out all the materials. My mentor showed up and had a bit of a briefing with the kids and then it began. The two groups being videotaped were right on task and made me very proud. The others, we won't go there. The lesson lasted for almost an hour and it was all videotaped.
So skip forward to the end of the day when I tried to view the recording using the camcorder. I turned it on and hit play only to see... a blank blue screen! I hit play again...blue. Rewind...play...blue. Rewind more....play...blue. By this point...PANIC. Friday's are always hectic at dismissal because I put my students on their bus, run to pick up Zoe from daycare, and then rush to Dylan's school to pick him up. It is 25 minutes of craziness, but Dylan loves being picked up so it is worth it. Anyways, during this time of rushing I am frantically calling my husband, trying to get the tape to play, and proceeding to panic even more. All I could think was that I was going to have to recreate a whole new lesson and go through this all again. This did not make me happy one little bit!
By now I am sure that some of you are thinking I should have cancelled the whole thing at the first coffee spill or even at the delay, but I am a very stubborn person and giving up is just not something I do. So I decided to let it rest while driving, which I am sure the other drivers I passed much appreciated. Of course the moment I got home I ran inside to check it again. This time I at least saw some dark square pixels which gave me hope that something recorded, but that the camcorder just would not play. I went ahead and rewound the entire tape and when I got to the beginning, behold...it started playing. PRAISE THE LORD! It played 2 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes...I started feeling hope rise. I thought, I don't care if it only has 15 minutes I will use what I have and make it work. It kept going up until about 14 minutes and then the audio went and squares popped up again. I called Dave to tell him the good news that at least it was on the tape and he told me he was bringing home a friend's camcorder that took the same tapes to see if it would play on it. That is when I started typing this post.
Since then I am happy, no ecstatic, to be telling you that I am currently watching my teaching expertise, or something that at least resembles teaching, on my big TV. I am a star!!! Or maybe my husband is the star for once again fixing my problem.
So now I get to watch 50 minutes of me, oh joy, and then I have to choose a 15 minute consecutive piece to analyze and send off for others to view. I cannot edit anything! But I know I can do it because if a snow delay, two spilled coffee, crazy kids, a technological issue, and minor meltdown can't keep me down, a silly time limit sure isn't!!