Thursday, September 2, 2010

What you want to hear

and what you need to hear are two very different things (mostly).

I think it was my second year of teaching when I got the wake up call I needed to get my act together with classroom management. The principal at my first school had told me in my summative that she thought that I had massive potential, but needed to work on my management (as she handed me a book entitled something like Basic Behavior Management). I just didn't get it. I kind of thought it was a problem, but not how to fix it (I do remember crying to my boyfriend that, "the kids just don't respect me at all"). The book was not very helpful either (bless her for trying). I changed schools after that year (to move closer to my new home with boyfriend turned DH). At my new school, everyone was great, but I really had trouble with getting my students not only where they needed to be academically, but actually where they needed to be (like library, cafeteria, not in each other's faces, etc...).

Until that fateful day...

The whole school was at an assembly and my students were acting like hooligans. I was sitting to the side giving glances (not that anyone was paying attention). Not awfully long into the presentation, another teacher came up to me (actually marched up to me if I'm being honest). She looked at me and said, "You need to get yourself up out of that chair and get your class under control because they are ruining this for everyone and making the whole school look bad." I was taken aback (and really angry because how dare she treat me like a student?). But then, I did get up and pull some kids out and pretty much lay it down (the smack, that is). I went home and thought/lost sleep over my teaching style. The next day, I asked to go to a PD all about behavior and discipline, and my principal instantaneously said yes (that couldn't be good).

I'm so glad she did give me the kick in the backside that I needed even though it was hard to hear. Because now, after all these years, the quirkers, they are my favorites.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The privilege

My absolute favorite subject to teach is writing. I'm not exactly sure when the shift happened for me because somewhere back in my files I can remember being a little intimidated by the whole "and this is how we write a personal narrative" thing. But now, I relish our writing time and feel cheated when we don't get to have the time (oh, days of formal assessments, routine learning, and general wonkiness when will you be over? Seriously, if I have to say, "Let's try lining up again,"...I'm not sure what will happen, but I know it can't be something good). Already, these new young friends of mine actually booed when I said that we were not going to have a writing time today because of the assembly and DRA's. It made my heart a little happier (that and the Starbucks Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte).

So, if that did it for me, you can imagine my overall ecstaticness when Ms. Next Grade Level Up stopped me in the hall, pointed to her line (which has an inordinate number of my former students) and asked, "What did you do with these kids? We just took our writing assessment and they are like rockstars!" I looked at them and said, "I love to write and so did they. That's just how it was." I could see their little heads nodding in agreement. I was so excited about this revelation that I told more than one person, but it wasn't because I wanted to brag. I was just so proud of them. It is kind of the same way you tell people about the super things your own children do. It's not because there's some sort of contest for Best Mom Ever (if there was, I lost when I made the Cubscout go to preschool when he said he was not feeling well, and he threw up all over the chapel), it's because you want other people to share your joy for your child's accomplishment.

But, I digress. The way I see it, I don't have to teach writing (well, maybe I do...state assessments and standards, you know). I get to teach writing.