August 26, 2010

Second Year Teaching > First Year Teaching (the understatement of the century)

Last year, when school ended Thursday afternoon of the first week, I was crying at my desk because I was beginning to realize that, while I had felt prepared finishing student teaching and graduating with honors from college, in reality I had no idea what I was doing.  I vividly remember the first two days of school going smoothly, then Thursday reality setting in.  The kids were chatty, they weren't following my directions, and I was ALREADY bogged down by planning, etc.  So much for a honeymoon period!!!

This year, the very same day, I am feeling exactly the opposite.  I am astonished at how quickly we have settled into a routine.  (It helps when you actually know what kind of routine you want the students in!!!)  I think the reality of the success hit me when, after school, I picked up 1 little piece of trash and 1 pencil from the classroom floor.  Last year, the floor would be covered with garbage every day, no matter how many times I told them to clean up.  This year, I have students signing in and out to use the bathroom, and doing it correctly 90% of the time.  Last year, I still couldn't get them to sign out correctly in May.  The difference?  It is a million times easier to teach a routine correctly the first time and continue to reteach that same routine than it is to teach a routine, then change it, then change it again, and hope the students can keep up.  Yes, this year is better.

Another celebration of the day: yesterday when I launched Daily 3: Read to Self I was a bit nervous when the students only built up 1 min 30 seconds of read to self "stamina."  I left feeling like we had a looong way to go!!!  Today, they made it up to 15 minutes!!!  I felt like doing a happy dance!  It was like they all decided that this was a goal they wanted to achieve, and worked for it together.  Amazing.  I was sooo proud.

Some not so thrilling parts of the day:

  • Crazy mom continuing to criticize, this time about things I haven't even DONE yet, but that she seems to be anticipating I will do...for example, her writing me a note saying her gifted child needs to be challenged and that this is MY job to do, not HER job to do at home. (did i say it was???  I love gifted children and am HAPPY to challenge them!!! I've worked with gifted kids in summer for 3 years!)
  • One of my tough guy students writing in his get to know you letter to me that I should know, "If u be mean to me I be mean to u."  Alright then!  (My response?  Obv, "I never be mean to students who behave--like i know you will!!")
  • Discovering just how low some of my students are in reading...yikes.  I am already nervous...I have my work cut out for me!!

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to you for recognizing how far you have come in one short year. I remember when I was new at my job and my first solo meeting with a client. I was so nervous. Now I can handle that initial meeting with confidence, even if I don't always know the answers to their questions!


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