Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This Is My Brain on First Grade

Someone has been wiping my brain!
Apparently when I became a first grade teacher, something scrambled my brain. I find myself doing things in ways that don't line up with what I believe. Or with what I say I believe.

The first few weeks of school, I was just trying to figure out what being a first grade teacher is. What that means and what to do and where the cafeteria is and when I'm supposed to be there and so forth.

And in those weeks, I watched and listened and tried to do what other teachers were doing.

Then I learned that I had to be a first grade teacher as me and not as someone else. Yes I knew that. But I had to learn it again. (Head slap.)

I'm also taking a university class (to get my teaching masters and be officially certified). It seems that every week the professor says something that I totally agree with...and that totally crushes something I've been doing in class. If I really believe it, why aren't I doing it? I work to readjust and to actually do what I supposedly believe. (Slap again!)

I keep having these revelations. I KNOW THAT! I'm just not doing it. In the hustle of trying to learn what and how and when, I forget the who and the why. I think, perhaps, the reason comes from something I read on #ntchat on Twitter: As a new teacher you are learning HOW to teach and WHAT to teach all at the same time. Whatever is happening...I end up with a sore head (from the forehead slaps).

Today I attended some professional development on reading approaches and strategies for kids. I learned some great stuff (that I didn't already know). But, in the midst of that great learning experience, a sudden bright light shown on me. I need to be intentional in what I'm doing with reading. (Duh! Cue triple head slap here.) This is something that I not only believe but tell others about teaching. Being intentional. Knowing why I'm doing something.

I've been trying to get a handle on reading groups and guided reading and all that. So I've been following the teaching guide for what to do and how to do it. But I haven't been intentional. I haven't been focusing on specific things and repeating those things in different ways. I haven't been targeting the time to help my readers grow in particular strategies. It's like I've been throwing out stuff and hoping something sticks. I wasn't wasting time. I was doing things that will help my readers. I just need to do it better by focusing instead of doing so many different things.

So, today, I vow that I will be intentional in what I'm doing. I'll practice what I believe and learn how to do it better.

And I'm sure head slaps will arise again next week when I discover something else that I already knew!


  1. Scott - You do know you are a gift to your Grade One students, don't you? I have been in your same boat this term as I am in a new position at a new school, as well, so I feel your pain to endure the "how does this work?" days/weeks of being new. Being intentional is a wondrous lens from which to view your teaching and your choices. Keep on revising your path yet please do give yourself some applause now and then - you deserve it.
    cheers, Jeanne (zella said purple)

  2. I think the awareness you are coming to is wonderful. Intention is so strong and will serve you well to be a mindful and present teacher with focus and joy in what you are doing. Best to you. Samana