Following Up

It's time to follow up.

On a couple of things.

And since I can't figure out how to add that cool feature to my comment section where I can hit reply and talk to you on a more close knit one-on-one basis, this will have to suffice.

This week our Sharing Topic was to bring a baby photo.  

I love this topic.  Seeing these first graders as little babies has made me fall in love with all of them even more.  I L*O*V*E this class.

I have also now decided that I never want the identical twin boys that I have to go to second grade.  Ever.  Their baby pictures made me want to put one twin in each pocket and surprise the hubby when I got home.  We have only been in school 25 days, and I know I have a lot more time with them, but nope.  I don't want them to ever leave my classroom.  

I just can't explain it. 

One example is that when my little girl who speaks neither Spanish nor English fluently finally got up the courage to get in front of the class to share her baby picture, the twins clapped and clapped, and then one said, "Ya can't let fear stop ya!"

I'm not the only who feels this way about them.  

EVERYONE loves them, including our secretaries who would normally tell a kid to get up, that's my chair, why are you touching my phone, what are you doing . . . because they love to watch them pretend to be doctors while they wait in the office for their mother.  

"Hello.  I'm Dr. Twin!" one says.  And the other one says, "No, I'm Dr. Twin!"  

The first one says, "We're BOTH Dr. Twin!"

The second replies, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I like that better!"

Together they shout, "Hello?  We're Dr. Twins!"

So that's the skinny on that.

The other follow up is to my post - Pencils Are a Pain.

Not anymore.


This baby has SAVED MY LIFE.


No more mixed up pencils.

I wish I'd had this sixteen years ago.

My only complaint is that the left knob of the turn thingamajig was falling off in the beginning and I would just screw it back on.  But then after three times of this-is-ruining-my-day-I-must-get-a-grip-there-are-worse-things-than-a-broken-knob-such-as-being-a-written-in-candidate-to-be-a-union-representative, I finally got smart and hot glued that knob on.  

All is well.  

Unsharpened pencils go in the cup.  


(Well . . . some have to go in the trash.  A certain someone in my class has mistaken pencils for breadsticks or something.)

Anyways, it is BRILLIANT.

Last, did you hear that I was written in as a candidate for our union rep election?

Because I was.

And that is not funny.

The ballot had four names on it.  Cool.  You can vote for up to five people.  So I just checked all four names.  I thought to myself thank goodness someone wants to do this every year because it's not for me.  Toodle doo.  And then I turned my ballot in.

A couple of days later, an upper grade teacher came over to let me know that someone had written my name in.


Without my approval or my interest or my say so or, or, or, or . . . they wrote MY NAME ON THE BALLOT.

I said, what?  That's so funny.  You're so funny.  Ha.  Hee.

And she said, "It's not a joke."


I told the hubs and he said, "You can't do that.  It's not in you.  You can't confront people."

I yelled, "I know!  DUH!  THAT'S WHAT I SAID!"  (Because, as it turns out, I can stand up to the hubs which drives him crazy, but it's because I know he loves me and he won't leave me so it's sort of his fault.)

I had to lose a couple of night's sleep while I figured out a way to tell the upper grade teacher that I couldn't do it.

I decided to pull a Phoebe from Friends which I've used before.

"I really wish I could, but I don't want to."

I mean, really.  Me?  I don't think so.

The newest news to me is that my friend, Christina, who you all know just moved to North Carolina, told me that they don't even have unions.  

I don't get that.  Who fights for you?  I mean, obviously not me, but who fights for you?

Do you have a union???


  1. Well, being from California, I am in a union. And not only that, I am a UNION REP!!!! And i totally know what you mean about not wanting to confront. It's hard. I can confront in emails. That's not a problem. But not face to face, but I'm trying to get better. But i'm glad I'm the rep because it gives ME a little more protection. And this year I need it.

  2. Oh my! I was totally thrust into the role of union steward at the end of last year. Our local union guy CALLED ME ON THE PHONE! "There's no one else," he said. Ugh, and in Ontario, well.... Our government has just taken away our right to bargain for our contracts and our right to strike. I think it's very similar to what's happening in Chicago (but don't quote me on that). So stressful.... And I am also NOT into confrontation..... At all!

  3. I worked in a charter school my first three years. No unions there. But now I'm in a district position and the first thing I did was sign up for that union-!! And FYI, you've officially sold me on that pencil dispenser.

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

  4. We have a union, thank goodness! However, I have friends who teach in districts without them.

    That pencil dispenser is a DREAM! Does it dispense the chubby pencils or just regular?


  5. Yes we have a union, which I'm a part of, but I'm like you I do not like to confront people. This year I had to be a rep for 1st grade on faculty council which listens to grivences from staff members and presents them to admin ugh yuck.

    I love the pencil dispenser! I have the sharp not sharp pencil cups. Right now since its only 3 weeks into school we are doing okay with keeping our pencils.

  6. I am a union rep this year but now you've gotten me worried...why would I need to confront people???? I am new to the union rep thing!
    Light A Fire in Third

  7. I have finally moved to the pencil system of sharpened vs not....after 27years of teaching, who knew THIS would be the big decision !!!!! Unions..... Ours is powerful but we are currently facing big govt cutbacks, lots of political upheaval, I could never be a rep.....out for my bday dinner tonight, we heard our fav. restaurant has free bday special, both of us too embarrassed to ask...yep, that is me.....

  8. We have unions =) And I totally need one of those pencil things!
    First Grade Blue SKies

  9. I got a pencil dispenser just like that this year- I love it!!! I actually have kept pencils- they usually disappear on day 2. I love parent's reactions- "What?? is this a straw dispenser?".
    We have a union- I am a big supporter. I've been a union rep several times & have been on the negotiating team several times too- it's very eye opening. I also am not one who purposely sets out to confront- but the union gig has been good. We have always had great presidents- so thery're the ones who usually take most of the heat (definitley not for me!).

  10. Michigan has a long history of unions, but the current powers that be seem bent on busting them. I wonder what's down the road.

  11. What is that pencil thingy? Kinda looks like a McDonald's straw dispenser. I'm from B.C Canada and like Ontario we had our rights to bargain and strike stripped years ago. We even had a one day walk out last year(well, it was 3 times but over a couple weeks)where we had to walk outside the school with picket signs. Why would someone put your name on the ballot? What did you do to someone for them to do that???

  12. You're so funny! I love your pencil gadget. Where did you find that? We have a union, but I don't know if they do a lot of good. We still had a bunch of teachers let go that were in the union and some had taught for 15-20 years. So I don't know if I still want to pay my dues to them every year.
    The Hive

  13. I pay dues to a union (i'm in TX), but only 3 of us at my school are members. I really know nothing about unions except that I was told I should join "just in case." :)

    Love that pencil dispenser. Where did you get it??

    Teach On.

  14. I love your idea of a week long sharing topic! I have sent home a letter before that said sharing needed to be something related to art, science, social studies, basically something we're learning at school. I think a weekly topic would be a fun change. Thanks for the idea!
    First Grade Found Me

  15. I live in NC. No one fights for us and we are not allowed to fight. So it's a good thing that, for the most part, I am pretty happy. We can pay to join a state teacher's association and they do their best. :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac: Pencil Sharpener Giveaway!

  16. We have a union.

    We had a person at our school wrote in on the ballot. I think if she or you wanted to be the union rep. you/she would have put your names on the ballot. But then again the voting at my school makes me crazy!

    I like the pencil thing.

  17. I work at an independent charter school in California, no union at our school. Who fights for us? I guess we fight for us. Still, I could be fired tomorrow...
    Good luck with this, I'd like to hear more because I don't know how these unions work since I've never been a part of one.
    Kindergarten Schmindergarten

  18. Union? Yes. Too expensive? Yes. (I just don't know where the $$ goes to help kids while helping teachers..I don't need glossy magazines that tell me wh to vote for since I apparently PAID for said magazines and have my own God-given brain, but there ya go.) I DO, however, love the insurance and representation. We have needed it lately.

    Pencil dispenser... WILL it hold the big Laddie pencils? Love those things...only have to sharpen once a week, and breaks are few and in between!

    Patty so

  19. I am in Georgia and we don't have unions either. It is hard because we don't have a voice fighting for us. I can only imagine what it is like to have that!

  20. I'm in Wisconsin and while we have unions the gov't has stripped away our right to negotiate beyond inflationary rate. In a political move that caused massive protesting, we can no longer get lane changes or pay increases beyond about 1%. We no longer have any real collective voice, which means we really have no voice at all. We have been made the villains in a battle to balance the states budget. It's demoralizing, disheartening, and demeaning. :(

  21. Unions are a BIG no-no in the south. I grew up in MS and GA, and now I teach in VA. We have a union here, but very few people join. VA is a right-to-work state...not sure exactly what that means, but I know that unions don't have ANY power. Something like you can be let go for no reason? I could be completely wrong.

    Don't Let The Teacher Stay Up Late

  22. Yep, I'm in NC. No Unions. That's probably why we have the worst pay in the country.

    Adventures of A Third Grade Teacher

  23. I'm a Chicago teacher, so yes, I'm in a Union, and Yes, I'm currently on strike! Yikes! It's crazyness over here!

    I could NEVER be a union rep. I'm so terrified of confrontation. I avoid it at all costs. Like hide under my desk avoid it!

    I love your pencil idea! I might have to look into it!

  24. I wish we had a union...our board (made up of parents) just writes up policies and that's that! NOT FUN.

  25. Must get that pencil dispenser thing! What is it??? Where did you get it? I must have missed that post!!! I definitely need one of those!!! We have a union in TN, about half of our teachers are members and half are not.

    K is for Kinderrific

  26. Definitely in a union here in MD, but back in RI they are much stronger. Which is usually a good thing...

  27. I'm an NC girl too...no union. However, we have PENC and NCAE memberships for liability insurance, and supposedly these organizations do rally for us when it comes budget time. But we have no "set hours" for PTO events, no duty free lunch, etc. We do have Specialty classes though. Do you have limits on meeting times after school, etc.?

  28. And I have to say this, although it sounds whiny...I wonder how things might be different if the majority of educators were men....Would we then be in the higher echelon of society?

  29. We have a union in Florida (Hillsborough County) but in my opinion they are absolutely useless. Florida is a right to work state so we basically have to do whatever the school board agrees on or we lose our jobs... kinda sucks!

  30. Hi I'm from NY and we have a union and fighting for our rights every year .

  31. In PA we have unions. We have class size caps in first grade - 23, thanks to our union. They work hard for us, and I'm grateful.

    I bought the same pencil thing and the kids have already broken the knobs. They come off and I find little pieces of plastic on the table. I don't think hot glue will help. I'm so sad. I am returning it, but I'm not sure if a new one will work. I hope so - I really liked it!

  32. We have a union in Michigan, but thanks to our jerk-wad of a governor...it's pretty powerless. Bring Mitt into the mix and we're DOOMED!!!!!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  33. LOL @ Holly's comment.

    *sigh* oh, our union. So expensive. Does an excellent job representing HS teachers. 'nough said.

    I love your straw/pencil dispenser.

  34. I'm in Alabama. We don't have a union, but AEA (Alabama Education Association) is our professional organization, and they act as a union for us ALL the time. I'm on the Board of Directors, and even though I don't agree with all that they believe in, I do believe in them and their ability to fight for us. They got to the statehouse and fight for our rights and do a great job. I would never NOT be a part of this great association! :)


  35. wow, lots of good info here. I'm in FLorida and I am very thankful for our Union. I would be nervous to be the school rep, but mostly from the length of info they need to share all of the time. If there was confrontation too, I would definately bail. I have gone to some county meeting though and it is very eye opening. I am proud of their work both locally and on the state level.

  36. I work in TN and we use to have a "union".but TN does not have bargaining rights so technically no one ever had to listen! Then two years ago they made a big deal of taking our bargaining rights away. Everyone got really upset, but honestly it had been many many years since they had negotiated anything for us. Most people here join for the insurance.


  37. I concur with Holly's sentiment! Michigan is a battle ground these days. It's scarey how much the MI governor wants to take away. Sad.

  38. I belong to our union here in Maryland. They have been negotiating how we will be evaluated next year. We have duty free lunch, 250 minutes of planning a week, one meeting beyond our duty hours a month. We are paid to attend workshops after school (and it is our own choice). We are very lucky (although our state has a terrible retirement--48th in the United States!).

  39. We have a union, but more for insurance purposes. If you get sued they provide a lawyer and if you lose, they pay. Otherwise, they talk to the state legislature, but I don't think they have power. They have nothing to do with our contracts. In our state, there are many more teachers than jobs so good teachers go to districts like mine that pay $15,000 to $20,000 over the state minimum anyway. The districts compete for good teachers and it works well for everyone. While we don't get paid for meetings outside our contract hours (our contract says other duties as assigned which apparently covers everything) we don't have many of them. Also, we don't usually get paid extra to go to after hours training, but we can't be required to go if we don't want to. There are districts here that require you to get (and pay for) your masters within 7 years of being hired. Districts want to keep teachers happy. Great teachers have too many opportunities to leave and go somewhere else if they aren't happy.