September 24, 2010

a happy little post-it

After all of that commotion yesterday, I finally did have my observation today.  Only after realizing on my drive home last night that I had rescheduled the lesson for the exact same time we had our class pictures appointment. Obviously. :)  Thankfully, it was no problem to bump up our pictures time, although it did mean rearranging some other things in the schedule, but I am learning that being a good teacher = being flexible.  And I'm working on it. ;)

Anyways, today, Mister Principal showed up right on time, and the lesson went great.  As one of our last "Ideas" lessons before we dive into some revising/editing practices, I read a selection from Desert Voices by Byrd Baylor, an author I immediately became attached to when my fabulous methods of science teacher read us Everybody Needs a Rock.  The book is written from different desert animals' points of view, and describes their daily activities in the desert.  Then, the kids came up with their own ideas for writing from animal perspectives, and wrote 5-minute "quick writes" from an animal's point of view, describing their actions.  Then of course we had the usual writing time.  The kids did a great job and the lesson went well.  I have the post-observation meeting (our first using our newly adopted Danielson Framework), but I feel good about it, partly because my principal left the following post-its on my computer:

As teachers, we do so much.  We work so hard, give so much, and are underpaid and far too often under appreciated.  What's more, it's so easy to feel like we can never do enough, especially with the unending criticism from parents, media, and honestly anyone who's ever been in a school and thus thinks this makes them an expert.  Anyways, I digress...but it is so nice to have even just a small affirmation that that I am doing a good job.  No, I don't need constant validation, but it's nice to have your hard work noticed once in awhile. :)

Back on the subject of teaching writing...
Let me just say that my skepticism about Writing Workshop is RAPIDLY draining away.  While I'm still not sure how things are going to go when I start teaching the expository, narrative, and persuasive genres in the next few months, this I know for sure: My students LOVE writing this year.  Even the one who can barely read.  They can write and write and write, and ADORE sharing their writing with the class.  And I believe in my heart of hearts, as I have said time and time again, that the first step to getting a child to make growth in ANY area is to get him or her to FALL IN LOVE with that subject.  Because too often kids just don't care, and if they don't care, they won't grow.  And that is why my goal this year is to capture my students' hearts in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.
Do I expect them to love everything we do?  Of course not.  But I hope to share with them the same passion for learning that I feel.

One of my favorite teacher quotes: "Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire." (Yeates)

I hope to help them love a part of each subject; hope to plant a spark in them that maybe someday will grow into a fire.

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