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long nosed mako shark

We are in the middle (well, it’s Thursday afternoon) of the third week of school.

I’m hoping to start using this space as a real combo of vent of teacher related stuff (FEELINGS) and real reflection on my practice. Ideally, I’ll carve out a small chunk of time each afternoon for a post on daily highs and lows (etc).

I get to school early in the morning. Class starts around 9 and I get to the building somewhere between 6:30 and 7 on most days. There are a lot of reasons for this, and none of them are that I am an amazingly hard worker:

  1. I beat the morning traffic. There is nothing worse than worrying about making it into school in time to tackle my before kids to-do list. I come from the other side of city and have to travel on a much complained about traffic filled route – but at 6:15 it is a BREEZE. Wish I could say the same for the afternoon.
  2. I leave early. School ends around 3 and I am pulling out of the parking lot at 4. I don’t beat the traffic – although I’m sure it gets worse later. I get home before 5, which gives me as much time as I can to spend with my own kid, though it often feels like NOT. ENOUGH.
  3. I am pretty tired out at the end of the school day. All my prep and planning and grading is done in the morning (or on weekends) when my brain isn’t fried and my feet aren’t achey. Since I’m a newer teacher, I tend to need a lot of planning and prep time, so early mornings help.
  4. I like using the copy machine when no one else wants to. In fact, I am spoiled by it. Today I copied after 8am and had to wait for someone and I was so impatient about it.

My class this year is significantly less impacted than last year. Because of that I started off the year feeling amazing, and now I’m settling in to deal with the challenges I do have. Instead of six emotional behavior disordered students like last year (now that I am out of that reality, I am feeling indignant for myself. That was SO UNFAIR! WTF?), I have just one. One I can handle! At least so far, because he is having a pretty good honeymoon period.

I have a couple of chronically disruptive boys and a girl with some severe mental health issues, so I don’t doubt that I’ll be writing about my attempts to figure out how to make that work. I have one student who is homeless and six ELL students, but I have no worries there. I also have a half a handful of students who are academically low for third grade, and one who is rock bottom low. I already am in love with this kid and am desperate to figure out how to serve him best. So far he seems to do a ton of work avoidance (natch) because he literally cannot do a lot of the simplest tasks I ask from my group. I wish there were two of me so I could sit with him all day. Yet he is a cool guy and so reluctant and wary of being seen as getting special help. I don’t think there is a way to avoid this … I think my best bet will just be to teach him as much as I can to bring that gap closer. I just don’t know how to make that happen logistically yet!

Random thoughts: I had moments last year when the students would tell me all about their previous teacher and each time it was like a dagger in my heart. I was sure that I wasn’t living up to their expectations and doing Everything Wrong. This year I’m realizing that the students just are comparing naturally, and this group does it too (if less of it). Not only that, but I’ve heard from both 4th grade teachers that my students from last year are constantly saying, “but last year we did this!” etc.

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