Give It All You Got

Jose Vilson Education

Chuck MangioneMy second day started off with a huge group hug from some of my former 8th graders, and a lot of screaming up and down the block. I was stunned; I assumed these kids had to be at their schools by that time, but they had definitely waited in front of the building for me. They told me how much they missed me and how they came to visit me the afternoon before at 4pm but I wasn’t there. Their talk made me dizzy, but I tried to hurry them on to school, partly because I wanted to maintain my persona as bad-a$$ teacher. I can’t let my 6th graders know I’m really a nice guy. That’ll destroy me for the year.

My days have been alright. As of today, I’m officially a veteran, and not because of anything I’ve said or done, but because now I’ve officially taught one of my former students’ brothers or sisters. As a matter of fact, I believe a good 6 of my students have brothers or sisters who I have taught in my previous years. That lets me know a lot. Yet, I’m also establishing a different relationship with these kids; I’m a year older, smarter, faster, and stronger in the school. I hope to be a much more effective teacher, but I’ll still carry the same enthusiasm and compassion I did with those graduates of my program.

Today, I came up with the great idea of reteaching the procedures. For the class that actually got through my principles (“Be the change you want to see in the world, freedom is not free, and walk on water.”), they got a mock quiz on the 3 principles and what it meant to them. Unfortunately, it was the only class I could give that type of mock quiz to. The other classes didn’t have as fruitful a discussion on it, but it’s OK because I’m giving them another day.

All the classes still had to go over the original procedures. They lined up outside before they got into my classroom. Then, they quietly sat down, got out their notebooks, copied the “objective” and “do now,” and listened attentively for the directions. Remember that.

Then through inquiry, I got them to make up a list of the 7-step method for my classroom. We practiced it by me simply calling out the number that corresponded to what they were supposed to be doing. For instance, I said 6 and 7, and they tucked in their chairs, got their belongings, and lined up outside quietly. Then I said, 1, 2, and 3, and they walked inside, said good morning before they entered into the classroom, got into their chairs, took out their materials, and started writing the do now and objective.

Of course, I had a little fun. They couldn’t do #4 without me, so for that, I asked, “How was your summer?” Only some people raised their hands (that’s #4). I told everyone to put their hands down and we tried again. “How was your summer?” And everyone raised their hand. Now to do #5, I had to lead a discussion about their summers, and asked everyone else questions about what the other person said about their summer. When I asked them, “which procedure is that?” they pointed to #4 and 5, which are “Raise your hand,” and “Respect and listen when another person is speaking.” These are procedures I definitely wanted to focus on.

As we completed all three, I realized just how wonderful I’m doing at this juncture. As far as classroom procedures, I’m doing much better than my previous years.Because of what I’ve heard about the incoming 6th graders, I was happy to offer some semblance of structure. I also called up 9 random parents, just so I could build a reputation with the kids that they just won’t miss ;-) …

mr. v, who’s listening to Chuck Mangione’s “Give It All You Got,” off the album Fun and Games ..

p.s. – Not that I need to say this, but let’s go Yankees.