Well, it has officially been 4 weeks since school started, and I really thought I (and my students) would be in more of a routine by now. That has surprised me. While some of our routines have developed (coming into class in the mornings, Morning Meeting, read aloud), there are SO many that I feel like I should not have to constantly remind them of, but I do (bathroom sign-out, bathroom breaks, silent reading time, end of the day). But, I remember thinking last year, as I worked with a fantastic teacher using The First 6 Weeks of School, it really does take 6 weeks to develop routines, with reminders as they are needed. Right now, I feel like I'll be lucky to have them learn the routines by the end of the year.
In my defense, I was learning the routines along with them. I sincerely hope it will be a mite easier next year when I start school with at least a small clue about what I want the routine to look like.
I am still struggling with my child who argues with me about everything. I feel like we have the same struggles every single day. I can't tell if he is still just pushing me or if it's going to be this way all year. He is SO smart but I can't seem to engage him in ANYTHING. He has actually told me that he hates school. I have tried so hard to find something he likes but the successes are few and far between. He is my special project.
As for the encouragement, I have been working closely with the special ed teacher at school. We have been doing some inclusion activities in my room and she has been such an encouragement to me. She was so excited to hear that I got to keep my position after trim allocations came out (she called me at home to see what had happened). She has also been coming in during Morning Meeting to observe/help with her kids. We have team-taught a few lessons and this week, she asked me about my main problem child and whether I thought he had some more serious behavior issues or possibly ADHD. It was nice to hear her actually listen to my opinion. Also complimenting me, she said she had never seen a teacher handle him so well (he has been at my school since pre-K). While I have no idea what is going well with him, that was a nice boost of confidence.
My second dose of encouragement came tonight, when I had dinner with my dear friend, Kayli, also a first year teacher in 5th grade outside of OK City. We had a chance to sit down and really talk for the first time about how things were going in our classrooms. It was really, really incredible how similar our stories and struggles are. It was actually kind of scary how similar how feelings were. I felt like I could be honest about how I really felt as a first year teacher: exhausted and scared of failing. We were full of the same questions about problem students and whether it would get easier to plan or if it would always be this difficult and overwhelming? What a relief to know that I am not failing in my quest to be a teacher! (At least if I am failing, we are doing it together!) It was truly a blessing to spend this time in complete honesty and understanding with a true friend. God gave me a blessing tonight, for sure.
Next big project--progress reports. They come out this week and, needless to say, I am far from completing those.
From the encouraged heart of,