Something about writing "reflections" is a little intimidating to me, so I'll write here instead.
Yesterday was "one of those days", as they say... where kids were being disruptive, disrespectful, etc. etc... and I'm standing there sometimes shell-shocked, sometimes defeated, sometimes borderline yelling.
It's so hard to reflect after days like those.
My resident principal called me at 9pm last night after he received an "OH GOD I DON"T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING WITH MY LIFE" kind of email from me. Ok, so those weren't my exact words, but it was something to that effect.
Him: "We've been working on your Do Now... how did it go?"
Me: "It wasn't quiet."
Him: "Ok, but how did it go?"
Me: "Well, kids were doing it. So that's good. And they weren't wondering what they were supposed to be doing... it was right there in front of them and they knew that they were supposed to do it. The kids who want to be on-task are no longer confused -- I am able to focus on the kids who are off-task for other reasons."
Him: "Ok. Good. We are establishing a routine. Let's keep working on it. Everything else after the Do Now... don't worry about that."
Ok. I get that. Class is about 1 hour long -- if I can establish a solid routine for the Do Now, then that's 5-15 minutes out of the class period that can be successful. I'll focus on that.
Improvements I've made on the Do Now so far:
-The Do Now always involves writing because it is more engaging than "have materials out" and it leaves no room for question as to whether or not they are doing the Do Now
-The Do Now is lengthy enough to still take at least 3 minutes to do even if you know the material forwards and backwards
-The Do Now is always sitting on their desk so that they do not have to search on the board for the Do Now or ask me or anyone else what they are supposed to be doing
We are still establishing this routine in class, so it does not look perfect yet. I'm still "putting out fires" during the Do Now. I'm still chasing down students to make them get to their seat. I wish it didn't take personal invitations to get students to sit down and get to work, but if that's what it takes to do it for now, then I'll do it. They need to know that this is how it will be. After each Do Now, I break down the "anatomy" of the Do Now procedure to show students what went well and what we need to work on.
I need this Do Now time because I need to check to see who is keeping up with their homework, I need to take attendance, and I need to see where our understanding is with the material.
= = =
Today, the Do Now went surprisingly smoothly. There were also 2 adults in the room observing me, which leads me to believe that the students were self-conscious of an extra pair of eyes in the room. My teacher friend tells me that if a class is being good because you are being observed, I should take it as a sign that the class likes me and they don't want to make me look bad. Ok. Whatevz, I'll take it even if I do not know if that is the case here.
After we transitioned to the classwork, the 2 adults left, and the kids started to lose it. It got to the point were kids were throwing crumpled up pieces of paper across the room -- and at me -- and I could not figure out who was doing it.
I decided to let it go because I did not know what to do. I did not want the students to see me try something and fail. So I ignored it. I went into individual tutoring and helped students with their classwork and homework. I'll take the fact that those individual students learned something today as a victory.