Saturday, April 6, 2013
Reminders and Routines
I wasn't worried about handling a group of kids in my first grade classroom. Turns out, I should have been. It's been a struggle to keep kids on task and engaged. It's the most challenging part of what I've had to do. It's the area I most need to improve based upon my observations/evaluations.
I know it's an issue...it's frustrating to me...we've been working on it...things are better...but not quite there...well, you know the rest. My principal assures me that all new classroom teachers struggle with it. But I'm determined that things will improve and they have.
We've had to refine some procedures and adjust a few others. I'm still finding out the best ways to do some things. And we must continue to practice what to do over and over. I still - just this week in fact - have students who will bring their completed work and thrust it in my face (no matter what else I'm doing or who I'm talking to at the time). "Is this what you do when you're finished?" I'll ask. "No," she/he will reply. "Well?" I say. And they will take things to where they should go. Often this is after I have told/reminded the class what to do with work when completed.
Sometimes I'm amazed that I need to keep reminding the kids what they need to do. After all, expectations are the same every day. Walking in the hall quietly is the expectation every time we do it (and we do it several times a day). Everyone talking at once means that we cannot hear what's said by anyone. But we still do it. I'm often reminding them to write names on papers or work quietly or raised a hand to ask a question instead of repeatedly calling my name. I know they are only 6 but shouldn't they be able to remember some of this stuff?
Then I saw this in the mall the other day.
If adults must be reminded not to put a child in the bag on the back of a stroller, then I guess first graders need reminders of their voices and their hands.
Things will be better next year. My wife and my first grade colleagues agree. As one said, "You will know all those little things that need to be taken care of from the first day." And, of course, I'll be there in charge and ready to go on the first day. Right now, I'm making a list of some procedures to adjust and new ways of handling some things. I'll be ready.