…here we go, school year 2018-2019!
Year #2 at my new haven of being professionally valued and supported has begun. We’ve had 7 full days of school and two half days.
The first “week” of school has had pros and cons. I like my classes, I like my new classroom layout, I like my approaches, I like my new Student Learning Objetives…
I am spending a lot of time on my computer at home and at school doing “work” but it’s hard to separate home and work when work is so much of who I am as a person. I put “work” in quotes because so much of what I do is hard to define as WORK to people who don’t really know teacher life. Reading blogs, posting and curating social media accounts, organizing photos of the kids for promotion of the program, making cute signs on Canva to hang around the walls of the hallway and my room (just had to work on my canva profile for like 12 minutes just now before I linked it to make it share-able), turning word docs into Google docs so I can share them, blah blah blah….Even writing this blog at all. But it feels like I’m really doing stuff that makes me feel good on the inside, so that’s good.
It helps that the year isn’t too stressful yet. It helps that I had curriculum camp over the summer and have something in my mind that I know I’m going for.
I’ve also reflected on a few practices that leave me feeling like… hmmm. Last year, I was the newbie at school, so even though the first few days/weeks weren’t handled the way I would have, I went with it because I was learning a new school culture. It involved a lot of rules and syllabus talk before any teaching began. This year was the same… as the freshman class sponsor, I spent FIVE HOURS in ONE ROOM with ALL the freshman reading ALL THE PAGES of the handbook out loud! It was rough! So… None of the kids went to any of their classes 1-5 hour on the first day of school. …If I were a student, I wouldn’t be very excited for the school year now.:-( The next day was fire drills, tornado drills, evacuation drills, etc. So now that’s two days that I didn’t get to have in the classroom to come at my kids with the killer CI and CardTalk and SOMOS curriculum I was excited about. Then we got one day of time (Thursday, woo!) then Friday was a half day (20 minute classes, wah wah). Monday comes around…. and the English and Math department are starting their standardized testing pre-tests! Oh wow… it’s taking longer than they thought and I didn’t see my 3 hour class for THREE DAYS IN A ROW! (after only having 1.5 with them as it were) – these are new baby freshmen in Spanish 1 that I’m trying to establish rapport with. UGH! How do I get to do what I need and do my pre-tests and my relationship building with kids? I’ve discussed with admin the different options for next year, but in the mean time I have a question for you readers. (Reader. Frau, I know it’s just you).
How do you find a balance between YOUR philosophies and beliefs about education, classroom management, and procedures and what the rest of the school either requires or expects in order for you to fit in?
***MAY 2019 UPDATE*** (further pondering) – no food/drinks allowed in class, but I know kids need to have a full tummy in order to think and I keep granola bars in my room. Am I breaking rules if I let a kid eat one of my granola bars but tell another kid he can’t have his snacks in my room?? HELP.
Next topic… It’s never been my strong suit to work with young children. Before I was a mom I wasn’t someone who fawned over kids. Even now, I like mine but I’m not necessarily googlie-eyed over others. I also have no instincts for dealing with kids if they’re not an age/stage my 3 year old son has been through. I can comfort a scared 2 year old but a scared…. 8 year old? Yikes. Why mention all this? Because it is rough for me to deal with classroom management in the elementary school where I teach for 40 minutes a day every day in the afternoons in classes between K and 5. So much of my classroom management in based on building trusting relationships with teenagers based on mutual respect. I know how to parent my 3 year old and I know how to teach 15-18 year olds…. but K-5? I am lost, y’all. I need suggestions AND to throw it back to my Fresh Prince GIF… behavior charts make me go HM. I hate using them. Moving the clips up and down seems unnatural, forced, and showy. It makes me feel guilty, I feel like it takes away from what I’m doing, and I haven’t gotten respect out of it yet. So.
What do you do to manage elementary classrooms when you are only in there once a week or less…, and How do you feel about behavior charts?
Specifically… based on this article here.
While we’re at it… I’m pretty proud of the classroom environment I’ve created this year and I’m glad to know all my kids’ families have signed media releases. Check out my back-to-school Facebook album!!