Thursday, July 11, 2013

Confession

I'm blogging in response to the #kinderblog13 assignment. I need to confess something, share a secret. Well...here goes.

This past year I did things that don't align with my philosophy.

I'm a strong advocate for play and exploration. But I didn't always do that in my new first grade adventure. I felt I had to listen to others and do it "the right way" since I was in learning mode. I followed the book more than following my instincts and my heart.

I used my "loud voice" a few times...and even lost my temper. I've never done that with a group of kids before. No excuses - but I think the pressure of a new thing just got the best of me. Working with a group of very talkative, social kids was a challenge, sometimes too much of a challenge. I reacted in a way that focused on me and not on them.

I didn't enjoy myself enough. There were days when I felt the joy of being with the kids. And the excitement of seeing their discoveries. But too many days I worried about what I was doing and over-thought every activity. I felt more anxiety than joy. Maybe that's the way it is for a first teaching year. But it's not the way I want it to be.

I have a long way to go to be the first grade teacher I want to be. But, this year, I will teach in ways that meet my philosophy. I will have more joy and less worry. I will follow my instincts. I'll take a deep breath and tackle the situation.

I will be the teacher that I am made to be.

8 comments:

  1. I can relate to this. I was not the kind of teacher I wanted to be this last year. I threatened and doled out "consequences." I yelled. I did rote memorization in order to catch up. I just wasn't who I wanted to be.

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  2. The same for me, especially in the beginning. I had a very active, challenging group of Pre-K 4's and heard myself using my "mean" voice so often that I began disliking myself! I read a book which helped effect a positive change or I don't think I would've been able to continue. Even with that change, there's much room for improvement and I have high hopes this next year will be much better. I'm determined that it will!

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  3. Dear Anonymous - what was the book you read that made such a difference??

    I think all first year teachers feel this way to some extent. Wouldn't it be great if we could all just do things the way our gut tells us is best, not just the way our districts tell us we should. Each year gets easier. Each year, you will add more and more of "yourself" back into the mix. Keep trucking forward, you've got this! :-)

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  4. Sometimes the pressure of a new age group, learning the curriculum and how to best execute it can bring out the worst in you. I think we've all been there at one point or another. I can totally relate to using my 'big voice' with the kids when I really shouldn't have and feel ever so grateful that kids are so forgiving and love you no matter what. I have always found that a second year in a new age group always feels much better. I am certain you will find your way back to who you really are in the classroom this coming school year! :)

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  5. We've all been there at some point or another. All of us. Any one who says otherwise isn't quite telling the truth. ;) Thanks for sharing so bravely!

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  6. Don't be too hard on yourself Scott. The first year in public education is always the most difficult. It's a juggling act between balancing loads of testing/paperwork, evaluations, lesson planning and prep, discipline, parent communication etc. Each year you will figure out how to manage each one of those aspects a little better until you are juggling like a pro. If you have any room on your overflowing plate at all I highly recommend reading Love & Logic by Jim Fay and Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey. These are two books that totally changed the way I thought about classroom management and saved me tons of time and energy- which in turn led to more time for teaching and learning. Chin up!

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  7. Any new situation is going to be stressful, especially when you hold yourself up to someone else's expectations. The best teachers are the ones who use the book as a guideline and go off script, focusing on the spirit of the lesson, as opposed to the nuts and bolts of it. Focus on the fun of the lesson (it is fun, isn't it?) and the kids'll be hanging on your every word.

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