Once again, I have neglected my personal goal to post more than once in a month (shouldn't be that hard, I don't think!) But life is so busy.
Spring Break was wonderful! And very short.
The week before Spring Break was... full of drama. Complaining parents make for quite a week. One of the results of that: a child was moved out of my classroom... one of my "problem kids" to be exact. My feelings were definitely mixed about the change. On one hand, I have invested so much time, energy, thought, and effort into that child-trying as many ideas as I could think of to motivate him, encourage him, find a discipline that works for him, connect with him, and the list just continues. We had made some progress, but a parental complaint from another student's parent led to his move to the other 4th grade class. It sort of felt like all the work I did was for nothing. I still see him and talk to him in the halls, but I feel like that investment is just sort of, lost.
On the other hand, I can't tell you how much more peaceful my classroom has been. Is that bad to say?
Now, I am dealing with a group of girls who just refuse to get along. I'm getting really tired of just hearing about it all the time. Can't they just get along? I've tried some different approaches to resolve the conflicts, but currently, none are working. I'm hoping after the parent conferences I had with each of their parents this week, I will see some change. I hope. I really, really hope.
And that brings me to parent conferences. I was nervous as I prepared for them, but as soon as they got started, it felt fairly natural and easy. It's amazing how much differently I feel about this time around than I did the first time. The major difference I felt and saw in these conferences (versus the first time, in October) is that I was more prepared to talk about the difficult issues. Last time, I didn't want to make any waves, didn't want to upset anyone... I was just kind of scared. So I glossed over things (didn't lie, just didn't approach things as directly as I should have) instead of getting to the heart of the problems with the parents. This time around, however, I discussed the poor choices these girls are making as they are fighting and arguing, I discussed the offensive sexual language with a girl whose mother is of a different orientation (I just wasn't sure how to approach it, but it went really well!), I talked about a boy's complete lack of effort and not turning any work in, and I discussed the need to retain one of my students in the 4th grade. Wow, not easy stuff! But I laid it out there and received very supportive and understanding comments from all of my parents. I know it won't always be that way, but it was a nice boost of confidence for me to lay out the tough issues and really discuss them. Small victory, but it really felt good.
And now I'm on a 3 day weekend! This is the last break we will have before Memorial Day on May 31st (2 days before school gets out. Really? Just let us out that Friday!). I am very ready for the year to be over! I am ready to have "successfully completed a full year of teaching" and be fully certified by the state. I am ready to revamp lots of things and get more organized for the next time around. I am ready to start over with another group of kids and approach things differently, and handle behavior and discipline better. And... I'm ready to get married. :) But, we've got 8 1/2 more weeks of school, so I'm just going to take it day by day! Test prep is rolling along, and I am getting more nervous about their performance! They are not scoring like I would like to see on their practice tests. There are so many things I wish I had time to go back and re-teach! But I will just do my best and that's all I can do!
Now, I'm going to go enjoy my 3-day weekend! Happy Easter!
From the practice test-covered desk of,