My student teacher co-op used to do “glows & grows” for me to evaluate my lessons and provide feedback. I’ve decided to take a stab at sharing glows and grows for this semester so far.
Second semester has definitely been better as far as procedures go in my classroom. I was determined to get my small groups working, and working well. I feel I have done pretty well at this. I am now able to run 5-8 reading or math centers at a time for an hour all while meeting with a small group. This was a very long work in progress. I had to find a way to have consistent yet relevant centers, set procedures for how centers would run, and make it all run smoothly. Even on their worst days it beats where we were even before winter break.
I am a more confident teacher. When I say I can wait all day, I mean it. Go ahead kids, try me. I no longer get worried thinking that I can only wait so long because we have so much to do. I am more confident in meaning what I say and the kids can feel it. My management is now, and may always, be developing. I can get frustrated because my expectations are much higher now (when I say silent, I mean SILENT) so we do not always rise to the occasion but things are slowly coming along.
Did I mention we didn’t have a substitute Tuesday so I had 44 kids in my classroom all day. I taught an engaging whole group reading lesson that had kids constantly interacting. Next we did centers AND I pulled a guided reading group! Things got a little roudy at the end of the day but I couldn’t have handled that in September.
In relation to confidence, I also know when it is ok to have a “teacher time out.” The other day I had reached my breaking point. I was honest with my kids and said I would either really start yelling or we were doing to quietly, listen to a song, and have a reset. I turned off the lights, kids had the choice to put their heads down, and I, too, did nothing. The students understood the seriousness of this reset and their behavior. My official teacher time out tune…
Thirdly my classroom is truly becoming mine. Because I came in after school had started, I never was able to fully set up my room as mine. I’ve done bits and pieces but it feels temporary. Now that I am thinking beyond “surviving this week” I can use my walls purposefully and continue to develop the environment I want.
Unfortunately, it all seems to be coming too little, too late. It is not that I feel this year has been unsuccessful, but there is so much I (and my grade-level team) feel should have been different. It is great that centers are figured out, but that’s what the first marking period should be for so progress could really occur the rest of the year.
Our schedule continues to change. Despite being 5/8 of the way through the year we still have not had a permanent schedule. It seems as soon as we finally get into a routine with a schedule (or curriculum for that matter) it is decided that there is a “better option.” We do not stick with something long enough to make the best of it and provide continuity for the kids. It’s always looking for the “next best thing.” While I am in charge of my classroom, I am not in charge of my schedule. Students are pulled for RTI, special education services, ELL services, and more. Each of these things pulls on our schedules taking it out of our hands.
To top it off this week ended on a rough note. Teachers are frustrated as our second teacher has left midyear, we’ve gone at least three full weeks without a copier, despite having lamination a new roll has not been put onto the machine, and other stresses continue to pile on.
I truly believe your mood is largely determined by the people your surround yourself with. However, when everyone is feeling the same frustrations and are fighting an uphill battle that seems to get steeper by the day, sometimes it’s hard to keep smiling.