Tough Stuff

You know when i write a blog post like this that it was a tough day..


ways i've improved/changed
-I haven't cried after class in.. well, at least a month.
-I'm LESS afraid of meetings with parents and RSPs
-"there is no 'should be', only what 'is'"
-I (try to) focus on the help that others are giving me rather than the help that I think I am not getting
-there is no perfect teacher, only teachers who revise what they do daily with the intention of better serving their students
-i've learned to "own up", apologize, welcome criticisms openly rather than shoot them down defensively,
-I've learned that it's more important for me to show up and have a tough day than chicken out and hand the class over to someone else; the kids are not necessarily better off with someone else than with me
-I've become more patient and willing to incorporate wait time rather than talking over people
-I don't raise my voice any louder than what is necessary to hear me over a respectful classroom. if you can't hear my voice, our classroom must not be ready to listen.
-I only say things to the whole class that are important to hear as a whole class rather than in small groups or individually -- because it really is difficult to get 22 8th grade kids to sit still and idly listen for more than a few minutes and i don't want to waste class time constantly punishing them for something that is very difficult to do

things i've noticed
-i rarely LOOK upset even if i'm boiling up inside. this is interesting because my students truly are responsive to the emotions of others' -- their peers, their teachers -- if I looked deeply upset or frustrated, i know my students well enough to know that they would notice.
-that being said, I'll take it as a strength that i do not appear angry or frustrated with the class. Instead, I can focus on implementing concrete repercussions... I don't want students to "behave" to keep me happy. I want them to have the self respect and respect for their classmates to exercise their right to an education. Yes, I know that I am working with young, squirrelly 8th graders, but I also know that my 8th graders have goals and dreams for themselves and I want to do what I can to help them get there. I know that they care about what their peers think of them. I know that they like to help each other out when they can.

areas for improvement
-"telling" is not "teaching": I've already known this fact when it comes to learning knew concepts, but it also applies when learning what it means to be respectful in class and learning the procedural expectations in an assignment
-emphasize schema building
-be early to school -- clean up the classroom, set up materials for the day, "feel" ready for the day even though you really never know what the day has to offer
-be clear on what it means/looks like to "be respectful to our peers and guests in the classroom"
-be clear on why it is important
= = =

-good wait time -- it took longer than i would have liked to get the class quiet, but the hope is that it will take less and less time in the future
-good catching up with new student immediately; good to know that she has some background in what we've been learning

areas for improvement
-be clear on what the consequences are
-do not let anyone slide -- regardless of their class reputation
-for real, if all we're going to be doing is freaking worksheets and art projects in a science classroom for crying out loud, then I don't blame the kids for acting out. boring and tedious worksheets and art projects on complex shiz they don't understand in the first place is prime reason to act out


From now on, there are no "bad" days, only "tough" days. the two are different because on "bad" days, you wanna quit. you complain. you blame others. on "tough" days, you wanna be better. you learn. you get stronger.

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