Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stuff Students Say: August Edition

Thought I'd start a nice little tradition of sharing the stuff my 2nd graders say each month. There is a TON of material here people. Since this was the first month, the quotes I remembered to write down were primarily the ones they said about me to my face. For some reason I just love their perspective on who I am and why I'm there. Oh and then there's the random one about the raccoon killer. That too.

Are you and Katy Perry twins?

Why is your arm hair white?

Is this YOUR REAL hair?

Ms. Gesch wears contacts. That's why she has green eyes. Eyes are brown until you change 'em. They just LOOK green.

My mom and me we shot a raccoon. We done shot it. Just like that. It started doing a twitch thing on the road and it looked real gross. 

I love you.

You're secretly the nicest teacher I know.

You're a mean teacher.

Is this your first time being a teacher?

Hey white lady! Do you know that you're a white lady?

Ms. Gasssssssh. I had eggs last night for dinner. Do you like eggs for dinner Ms. Gassssh? (Yes, the student always spends triple the emphasis and time on my last name as compared to the other words)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A-ha Moments.

So I haven't been able to blog in the past week because of a glitch with posting photos. Super lame. I have to start posting them through a different website than blogger, but long story short I couldn't keep this quite as updated as I would have liked in the past few days.


I wanted to write about an amazing moment. It was short. It almost could have been not a big deal, but it came on a particularly tough day during a particularly tough week. It was today. Not going to lie, for the past four days I've been feeling sort of out of control of this whole teaching gig. Obviously one of those minor downs in the grand scheme of things, but still. It is what it is. Let me tell you about this beautiful moment.

One of my girls, a shy, sweet, and extremely-long-eyelashed kid, had a breakthrough today that I got to witness. Our class is reviewing the concept of telling time from last year. The first grade teachers said they had a tough time and still needed to master the idea. We had all these clocks printed off and she was trying to write the time beneath them. The ones that read 2:00, 3:00, and 5:00 on the dot were no problem, but she was lost for the others. I worked through the first two with her using the strategies that she already knew, and then I asked her to try a third with a different strategy. She kind of got it and then we did another problem with the different strategy.

Five minutes later, she called me back practically jumping out of her seat saying "Ms. Gaaaaaashhh! Ms. Gasssshhhhhh!" And then said the best thing ever:

"Ms. Gesch you taught me to do clocks! I never thought I could do clocks before but now because of today I can do it!"

And while earlier today someone allegedly stabbed someone else with a colored pencil, someone ripped their worksheet in half, and someone screamed in my face in the hallway, when I go to sleep tonight I will choose to remember that (adorable) girl and her clocks.

Sweet dreams :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We Built This City

So...the cheesy side of Ms. Gesch came out last week. This year we are trying to emphasize our Hopes and Dreams, and so we spent a portion of the second week talking and writing down what we all wanted to be true for this year. Together my co-teacher and I thought of building "Dream City" where all the lights on the skyline were made up of the hopes and dreams of our kids. This is the finished product, and because I find it pretty adorable, I thought I'd share one of the things we did together as a class!

Oh. And about my cheesy side. When we gathered all together on the rug, of course I burst out loud into song: "WE BUILT THIS CITY ON HOPPPEEEESSSS ANDDD DREAAAMMMMS!!!" to the classic tune.

Nobody laughed. Meh. You win some, you lose some, right?

Dream City in all its glory
We're working on the silent "e" at the end.
UIC won't know what hit it.
I also would like to be friends forever.
The happy citizens of Dream City. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012


My two favorite things. 
This weekend was full of family. Not the whole shebang all together (didn't get to see my dad unfortunately) but a lot of wonderful people who happen to be related to me. On Friday night, I rocketed out of school to go to my cousin Kristin's house with Steph, Karley, and Liz for a good old-fashioned sleepover. Without the sleepover. We ate together, had cute drinks, made junk food, and watched When Harry Met Sally. It was my first time seeing it and oh my goodness I love that movie. As weird as it sounds, I sort of found Billy Crystal attractive in that one. I know, it doesn't seem right to me either. But when he said "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible," I just melted. Classic. Saturday was spent with my Mom, Alex, Steph, and Sawyer on a shopping excursion for my mom's ensem for Alex's wedding (which is quickly approaching!) which was not very enjoyable for me. The company was great, but I happened to be all stuffed up and hazed over from a weird cold I came down with halfway through the day on Friday. I'm blaming the second-graders. I distinctly remember one kid sneezing DIRECTLY in my face on Wednesday or Thursday, and I'm thinking that's what did me in. On the bright side, after this year I plan on having the immune system of an ox. (Do oxen have good immune systems? I'm not sure. It just seemed right to say.) Either way, the shopping all blended together in a weird cloud and I just nodded and smiled to things I couldn't hear as my eyes watered all afternoon.

Saturday night was absolutely great, because THE Liz VanDrunen herself came to visit me in Pilsen. We walked up Halsted to University Village where there was a cute Mexican restaurant for margaritas and appetizers (I literally could have margaritas and chips and salsa every time I go to a restaurant and be happy about it). Then we walked back to the apartment and chatted about teaching (her first year teaching 4th grade starts up very soon), weddings (she also has a million to attend this summer, including a sibling), and beginning our real lives. Don't judge me for this one, but we finished the night by watching one of the most feel-good movies I've seen in awhile: Big Miracle. Yes, it's about saving the whales. Yes, I realize that seems very lame. But it spoke right to my heart and I was charmed. John Krasinski didn't hurt either. Anyway, if you are looking for some good-clean-whale-saving fun, watch the movie. And to all of you who just wrote me off as a moviegoer with no taste, please have a little faith. Fargo, Ferris Bueller, and Fight Club still top the charts in my book.

Speaking of movies, I'm realizing that this summer has been sadly void of movie-watching. Usually I'm at the theater at least 5 times a summer along with redboxes and rentals constantly. This year, with TFA Institute, moving, and crazy schedules, movies have been off the agenda. This saddens me deeply because I am a movie freak. It embarrasses me to say I STILL have not seen Dark Knight Rises. For now, I'm just going to make a list of books and movies to catch up on when I have free time from this teaching thing. I'm thinking that will be in December. Can't wait.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Week

Well folks, we're one week into my first year of teaching 2nd grade! Many more weeks are to come, of course, but it feels SO GOOD to say that one week has been accomplished. I'm celebrating with a party at my apartment. This party involves me, my pajamas, a fudgsicle, the couch, and the women's beach volleyball gold medal match. Pretty exclusive. Here are some random thoughts about my first five days, because let's be honest, these days ALL my thoughts are random and arranged in a way that makes no sense. Here we go:

So far I've had one puker, about 8 criers, and one attempted assault with a stapler. The attempted assault was actually pretty humorous in the moment, but the adults involved all held very serious poker faces in  protest to the violent intent of the act. Don't worry, she went to detention all afternoon and was straightened out. The thing we used for leverage? Her headband. Take it away and you have that girl around your finger.

One lesson about effective teaching that I've learned already: MAKE EVERYTHING INTO A CHANT. We can go over the rules eight thousand times, but they won't sink in until you chant it in unison. It's a weird phenomenon.

Also, my kids don't have to "go to the bathroom." They have to "USEEEE ITTTT MS. GESCH! Ms. Gesch I gotta USE IT. BAD! And I can't wait!" They can never seem to be able to wait. This freaks me out because I want to call their bluff, but definitely don't want to deal with the consequences if they do, indeed, gotta use it bad.

And finally, I've learned one more thing. 2nd graders give the best hugs ever. I didn't think one age group could monopolize the hug category, but it is indeed in fact the case.

Now off to bed by 9:00 (yes, believe it!) for day 6. I'm hoping this change in bedtime schedule won't cause my social life to wither away into oblivion, but let's be honest. I'm already categorizing a night of TV as a party. Uh-oh. 

My co-teacher doing a read aloud while my class sits on the carpet.
Don't they appear so calm and peaceful? Don't be fooled. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


One of my favorite fashion bloggers, Kristine, does a post entitled "Currently" from time to time to kind of give a snapshot of what is going on in her life at that moment. I'm using her as inspiration since my life feels like it's moving at a lightyear a minute these days (update will come soon about the first week of teaching!). I want to do one of these every so often to give a checkup to myself (and anyone else who happens to care) of where I'm at. First two pictures, then down to what I'm currently loving, reading, watching, anticipating, listening to, planning, working on, and wishing.

View of the river in Milwaukee on Saturday night. I got to visit my TFA
friends for the night and realized how awesome of a city Miltown is.  
So excited about this one. That, my friends, is FINALLY my
official City of Chicago resident street parking sticker!
No $200 fines for me, thank you very much. 
I am currently...

Loving: My neighborhood. Pilsen is a really cool mixture of everything that I wasn't quite expecting before I moved here. To be honest, I was a little nervous as to why my rent was a lot cheaper than many other areas of the city. It's definitely not Lake View or Lincoln Park (really nice areas up north), but I am loving what I'm seeing in my little corner of Chicago. It's full of Mexican families, Students, and lots and lots of hipsters (ha). I see lots of Spanish words and speakers, cute little restaurants, and different flavors of people everywhere. It feels like a real Chicago neighborhood with real character. And I'm only 2 weeks in! I'm still brand-spanking new to the area so I'm no expert, but so far, I dig.

Reading: Blogs, blogs, blogs. (As usual!) My favorite kinds of blogs are travel and style (the one I linked above is a daily read for me), but I'm just now starting to search for some teacher blogs. If you have any recommendations, puh-lease let me know. Second grade calls for lots of inspiration!

Watching: When I get a few minutes to turn on the TV, The Olympics. While I mainly watch every four years for Bob Costas (the man is gold), Gabby Douglas won me over completely. Her beautiful smile and impressive poise at the age of 16 really amazed me. 16-year-old-Anna was not that cool. In other news, I also just watched Love Actually for the first time ever. I loved it, mostly because of the British accents. Can't get enough of those.

Anticipating: The next week of school! Second grade has proven to be both crazy (in a good way) and intensely challenging already. I'm itching to improve my teaching every single day throughout this first-year experience, but for now I'm starting small and getting anxious for the next five days in Room 27.

Listening To: Needtobreathe. Seemed good to me for getting things done on a beautiful and chill Sunday afternoon. "Something Beautiful" is on right now. I could play that on repeat for a LONG time. (Close second place: Coldplay's Xylo Myloto album, because they are coming to Chicago this week and I have to attend to real life duties instead of see their show. They are currently topping my list of "must see in concert" bands.)

Planning: More details for my brother and Heidi's wedding! It's coming up in just over a month in Washington D.C. and I could not be more excited. I'm finishing up a first draft of a playlist for the reception for my brother, so I am open to "must-have" suggestions for dance picks. I'll also possibly be putting together a dance routine that the family can learn to a song in flash-mob fashion. Hmmm. More on that later.

Working On: 2 things in particular. 1) Staying Calm. There are a lot of things coming up in the near future that will have me juggling to the point of dropping the whole shebang in one big heap on the floor. Between TFA professional development days, starting grad school on August 30th, and learning to lesson plan daily with my curriculum, there will be a severe need to take a breath and take it all one step at a time. 2) Giving Myself a Break. I can be more critical of myself than I am of others, which is not productive for anyone. I'm usually an optimist for sure, but that pessimistic energy spent on myself will just make me frustrated. I have to realize that I won't be fabulous right off the bat and that the best I can do is to do my best.

Wishing: For a night of Honey BBQ Wings with my girls at BDubs!

Hey friends, let's catch up so you can tell me what you're currently up to.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

More Firsts

Last August I started up blogging again after a summer off. I had started this whole thing as a way to document my semester abroad in Sevilla, and then continued to do so for my senior year of college. My first post was entitled "A Last First" because I thought it was going to be my last first day of school ever. Well. Turns out that I had at least two more first days ahead of me, maybe even more. Who would've thunk?! 

It's Gesch family tradition to take pics on the first day of school. In college I kept it going by sending my dad a picture on each first day. I couldn't stop the streak this year. Even though my mind was in a million different places, I had to take a second to snap this first day too. I hope I look a little more professional in my last picture. Here's my last five first days of school!
Freshman year of college. Yes, those are
posters of James Dean, Cristiano Rinaldo, and Batman. 
The first year of bangs. Sophomore year.
Junior year. I'm seeing here that I have hair schizophrenia. 
Senior year in front of my house. Ahh the fabulous memories. 
Was so hectic that I had to take a selfie (go ahead and judge.)
This is after school so the hair is a hot mess, but notice
the smile? That means the first day was a good one.