Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's a Roller Coaster Ride!

I realized early this week, while eating lunch, that some serious changes need to happen. After a rather obnoxious class period ( the students would NOT STOP TALKING!!!) I realized that I had worked myself into a rather horrible predicament: I was caring too much about what other people think. Simple as that.

It easily happens. As a first year teacher, you are pounded with mentors, observations, well-meant suggestions, not so well meant suggestions, flat out commands, and insults. Some people, in essence, think you know nothing about anything. Though it is important to acknowledge that you are, indeed, still learning, it is also important to establish that you are, in fact, a teacher, and you should be allowed to make certain decisions on your own.

That wasn't happening. What was really happening was the opposite. I was caving under the unbelievable pressure. However, I found my inner peace over a turkey sandwich at 11:22 a.m. on Tuesday morning. I realized, for the first time, that I was already turning into a miserable, grumpy, angry teacher. I was expecting way too much out of myself and my students, because I thought my room should be like everyone else's in the school. Looking back, I can laugh about it. But in the moment, it really turned my week around. I can honestly say, the last few days of teaching have been the best, because I am no longer focused on opinions, insults, and 'well meant' suggestions. I am focused on what really matters: my students, myself, and our quest for knowledge. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Magical things happen when you start teaching to your style. So, to boost morale, and celebrate, I photographed the things that HAVE been working for us (my students and I). We hope you enjoy them!
The 'Now What?' board. LIFESAVER! Students can pick something to do if they need to fill time and others are working. They can go to the classroom library, draw or write about what they learned that day, or look through geography flash cards. They love it, and I do too!

My pop up books and picture books. All the students love looking through these, it is pretty funny. And to think, I was told once by another middle school teacher (whom I met at a meeting and knew for 5 minutes) that picture books have no place in middle school. Hahahaha....

Best bulletin board. EVER. It took an hour to staple up the hands, but it was really one of the best things I could do as a teacher, because it really gave me a glimpse into the lives of my kids. Students traced their hands and then wrote a goal they have for themselves. Every goal was wonderful, some even brought tears to my eyes. Though they are chatty, and sometimes push the limit, I have some of the greatest kids in the world!

The fact that every single pencil is still in my room, and there are times they are all being borrowed. HUGE achievement for middle school! I must have really scared them, because there is even a pencil in there that isn't mine. Haha. Small victory!

Today's assignment. We are learning parts of a map, and the students were given the task of mapping out  their very own country. Also had to use the 5 themes of geography while telling me about their country. It has been so fun to walk around and hear what they have to say! Examples include an island made fully of candy and Superman Island. They are still in the works, but they are already so proud! :)

The hats. The one thing I thought nobody would notice has been the BIGGEST conversation starter. Who knew?? 

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, you are a GREAT teacher. I mean, it's evident just from this blog. Who cares what the other teachers think? Those kids will remember learning from you and in 10 years they'll be so grateful that you taught them the way YOU teach.
    On a lighter note, picture books ALWAYS have a place ANYWHERE. I mean, we use them in med school. What's that saying? "A picture is worth...." I can't remember but you get the point. ;)