Friday, October 5, 2012

Remembering Why I Teach

          This has been a difficult week -- in fact, a rather difficult year.  With 27 children in my class this year, I've found it pretty overwhelming at times.  I have said -- "I am not an octopus!! -- I can't do everything at once!" more than one time.  Everything takes longer -- going to the bathroom, cutting out art projects, doing math stations and reading groups, sorting papers, sharpening pencils -- and writing lesson plans for all those groups.  And now it is time for math and literacy assessments. Almost all the assessing has to be done one child at a time, and I was getting pretty discouraged -- thinking maybe I should have retired at the end of last year. How will I ever get all these children to benchmark by May?? And how will I get all those assessments done?
            The pressure was building this week -- one week left to get all the  assessing done, and my wonderful assistant was our sick for 3 days.  And we have had a "Pink-eye" outbreak in the class -- had to send a child home every day this week until today. Plus a 2 hour faculty meeting yesterday.
Anyway, even with the help of some great parent volunteers, I was feeling like I just couldn't do a good job teaching all these kids.
             This morning I got up early as usual to have time for morning devotions, and I read this verse: "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  It was just what I needed, so I went to school with a new, improved attitude.  And the whole day went so much better.  I decided to look for the good -- and I found lots of it. We took time for more singing -- it's more fun to sing the days of the week and numbers than just drilling flashcards, (Thank you Dr. Jean and Jack Hartmann)  I used the "Dojo" behavior tracker and gave lots of points -- even random points for no good reason.  My volunteer stayed all day and helped a LOT.
              But here's the part of the day that gave me so much encouragement -- Writer's Workshop!
We've been "writing" in journals for over a month, but no one seemed to be "getting it"  They just scribbled something unrecognizable and maybe wrote a string of letters, but only 1 or 2 actually came close to writing a sentence.  So today I decided to project a couple student writing pages on the screen and use that for my lesson.

This one had the string of letters on top, but a great picture of  apple trees.  So after I bragged on his picture, we talked about writing a sentence with spaces so readers could actually tell what he want to say.  So he went back to his seat and wrote "I like apple." Yay!! A sentence!

          Next I showed the beginnings of this train picture with the words "the litl"  The writer explained that he was writing about a little book that he could read.  So we talked about writing the whole sentence and he went back to his seat to finish it.  He wrote "the litl puff is good book. I like i" TWO sentences!! Woohoo!
          By now, the rest of the class was eager to get their own journals and start writing.  This one was inspired by the train in the example, but she just wrote the list of words on the pocket chart.  So I asked what she meant to say, then I drew a line for each word in her sentence and she went back to finish it -- and even added the word "Yellow" (Thank you, Heidisongs") "I like to ride my yellow train."

            I was SO excited to see actual sentences and recognizable pictures all over the room.  They are going to be writers!! My hard work is starting to pay off -- they have learned something and are proud of their work -- asking me to show their stories on the screen.
         Yes, that is why I teach -- to share the joy a child feels when he or she realizes that  they can read and write.  I had to gather up a few journals to take down the hall to show someone -- but it's also very satisfying to share my excitement with other bloggers around the world.
         Tomorrow my assistant will be back and we will figure out how to get everyone assessed.  I hope the "Pink-eye"  has run its course -- but I am going to try to remember to celebrate -- and give thanks -- for these small moments in the day!


  1. I enjoyed spending my day with the class! Hopefully I can come again..SOON!

    1. I don't know how I could have managed without your help -- thank you so much. And thanks for reading my blog!!

    2. anytime! I love reading your blog,it's a great way to keep up with where the class is and whats going on. Also if it counts any I think your doing a great job and you as well as Ms. Austin are amazing teachers.

  2. Hey I enjoyed spend tha day with tha kids also. I want to come back again this week.

  3. You also were a great help -- especially with my little one who needs lots of individual attention. I love volunteers!

  4. Thank you for posting this. With all the demands placed on teachers these days, I tend to lose focus on why I love my job. I need to remember where to place my anxieties and fears, and start getting back in touch with these little people I so love to teach. In the pressure bump everything up, I have gotten away from teaching the way these children learn best. Thank you for reminding me.

    1. All the things that take the fun out of teaching can get overwhelming at times -- I constantly have to re-focus. If they don't have some fun in kindergarten, then we are doing something wrong.I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs a reminder.


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