Today would have been a regular day at the
office, had it not been for a terrible observation and an overall feeling of listlessness from yours truly. For the first time since last year, I was reminded why 40% of new teachers leave after their fourth year. Even the most patient and prepared among us can only handle so much damage to our mainframes. I felt I did all I could to get ready for this observation, which of course centers around having a good lesson plan. It’s my best feature, and the minutiae surrounding it (classroom decor, portfolios, journals) are developing everyday as I get more perspective from other teachers and fellow bloggers as to the best strategy for how to approach these facets of the educational experience for the children. Even with the massive kudos I get for my classroom management, I still have those nasty off-days that let me know how far I still have to go in my profession.
I looked at all the factors that played into my observation today: kids still antsy from lunch, their bloodstreams pumped with large-sized Jolly Ranchers and carbonated drinks, lack of chemistry, completely brainwashed by MySpace and television. Of course, I could also look at my own lesson plan, but I honestly feel it was less of a factor because, according to my data and my own personal observations, the first class I did the lesson with is much weaker mathematically. Of course, estimating square roots isn’t for the mathematically disinclined. However, I strive to give multiple representations for the children to understand on different levels. My first class understood that; my second class plunked, minus a few. And interestingly enough, these few kids have the few factors my first class had today: concentration, lack of candy, and cohesion.
My girl says I’m being hard on myself, and she’s right. Yet, if I’m not my worst critic, then who will be? I’m constantly finding ways to become better, more prepared, and more helpful towards my students, and most of them recognize it, even unconsciously. I don’t waste much time. If I’m not grading work, I’m assessing data on them. If I’m not calling parents (7 “needs improvement” calls followed by 3 “your student’s doing great but don’t tell them” calls), then I’m assisting another teacher with my homeroom. I come in 30 minutes early to school, and even ask my APs and fellow teachers to bounce ideas. I’m always receptive to new ideas and finding better ways to assist my children, but days like these really make me wonder if this is all for naught.
So tomorrow’s Friday, and indeed, that’s what I’ll need.
jose, who will work it, make it, do it, makes me harder, better, faster, STRONGER!
p.s. – Peace to the Columbus Education Association Blog for making my blog part of the 153rd EduBlog Carnival.