Saturday, November 30, 2013
I did see some things that I may want to incorporate in my classroom. I was reminded of a few things that I have done and want to do again. I recognized some of the things I'm doing in my class that are working. I saw that I may be doing some thing as well or better than my colleagues (at least as they happened on this day).
But--by far--the most important lesson I learned was this: those teachers are struggling with some of the same things I'm struggling with. It's not just me. I'm not alone in over-talkative students with wandering attention spans.
Often I look at what happens in my classroom and wonder what I'm doing wrong. I think that all the other classes are just humming along while mine seems to be more like limping along. While there are things that I need to do better (and will do better as I gain more experience), some things are always going to be challenges.
I think that many classroom teachers feel that their struggles and challenges are unique. After all, the classroom the teacher sees every day is his own. We may see snippets of other classes--the class moving through the hallway or working in the library, a glimpse in the classroom of students working as we walk by, and so forth. But to really see how the classroom works is to watch a whole day - actually to watch several days would be better.
I was reminded that all teachers have challenges. All teachers are working to improve their classroom atmosphere or presentation or engagement. (Or at least the better teachers are doing so.)
Visiting the other classes showed me that I'm doing some things right and that I'm facing common issues. Maybe that's the best professional development time I've spent in a while.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
This week I asked my reading class to write things they were thankful for. (I also asked them to draw a picture to go with their thankful things. They chose to draw hand turkeys - I didn't suggest it.)
Their lists included family members and houses, food and friends. I even made a couple of lists!
As each child read his list to me, I was reminded of how thankful and blessed I am. Here's what I wrote last Thanksgiving...and it's still true, maybe more so. (It's been edited a little to fit my new circumstances.)
It's Thanksgiving. I am such a blessed man.
I have a wonderful wife. She is in every way just what I need. She listens to my rants and complaints. She encourages. She gives me a swift kick when I need. She talks me down off the metaphorical ledge. She celebrates with me...even when I'm sure she's not sure why we are celebrating things like a day with quieter voices in the classroom. She challenges me to think about things in a new way and listens when I ramble on about my own thoughts. She is wonderful. I love her. I am blessed.
I am in just the place I need to be. I love my job. And sometimes I'm not sure about my job. It challenges me. It rewards me. It frustrates me. It grows me. It affirms me. It blesses me. I cannot think of a higher calling than teaching kids. I'm still learning all I need to know to be a good second grade teacher. But I know I'm in the right place. The staff at my school is great. They've been helpful and encouraging, ready to listen and suggest. I am grateful for my new friends! I am blessed.
I have a warm house, a working car (actually 2), more than enough food. I have everything I need and so much more. Seeing families in my school each week...I am reminded me that I have so much. Not just material things, though I certainly have a lot of that. But the emotional support of family and friends. The security of a regular paycheck. I've often been reminded that the "problems" and "anxieties" I have are so small. I am blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to spend the day with someone you love. I hope you get to reflect and thank God for all you have, however much it is. I am thankful. I am blessed.