After only a week into school, it's amazing how much I can see that these kids are not like I was in 4th grade. I didn't understand what it was like to come to school hungry, or have my car robbed in the middle of the night, or worry whether or not the car would start for me to be picked up after school, or whether or not my mom got out of jail for $50 when it was supposed to be $500. I was so naive compared to these kids, yet, they are still just kids. They deserve just as much attention and quality teaching as the "doctor's son." I am in a position where God has given me a chance to really show his love and patience to children who often don't get it at home.
When I assigned homework yesterday to explain and play their new math game with a family member at home, almost 3/4 of my class raised their hand, asking what to do if they didn't have anyone at all at home who would be able to play it with them. I was speechless. My best repsonse was "Ok, well I'll give you some time in the morning if you are not able to play it tonight."
I was talking with another teacher, who was permanent sub for awhile last year but it is her first year of teaching also, and we were discussing classroom management. We talked about how it was a difficult and fine line to find between their friend and their teacher. One thing that is really important to me is for my kids to feel like the classroom is "theirs," their home. But now I am struggling to reign them a bit because maybe I let them have too much leeway. I don't know. I had my first semi "discipline" issue today (nothing big, but it was the first). The kids were working in groups to define a short list of vocab words from the book we had just read. This boy was sitting with his arms crossed, rudely ignoring the group and his work. I approached him, asking why he didn't want to work, and he simply replied that he didn't want to. Not going to lie, I thought in my head "Oh NO! What do I say now? Help! Help! Hurry, think of something!" I remembered the approach of giving choices in these situations, so I quickly tried to think of 2 choices that I would be ok with. "Ok well you may choose to work on this with your group or write them as the class is sharing them in a few minutes." He crossed his arms, scowled, and said "Fine. I'll work on them with the class." This was fine with me, I was just aiming for everyone to get the definitions. I worry that I may have given him too much freedom with that choice, but it was the best I could do. I'm hoping this doesn't become an everyday occurence.
Now I am worrying and trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to set up my reading and spelling groups, as well as how I'm going to approach math. It was encouraging to talk to my mentor teacher (she's the reading specialist at my school! Sweet, I know!) and she told me that she hoped I would be encouraging to those around me with my intent to do literature circles and discussions and groupwork. It was nice to hear someone have some confidence in me, even with my lack of experience.
Sorry about the long post and the lack of posting over the last week. I must admit that I am way more busy than I thought I would be. It is getting easier though!
From the slightly-cluttered desk of,