“I’ve written about this before, and it comes down to one line: Confusion is the sweat of learning. If a student doesn’t get confused at some point in a class then either the student already knew the material in class, or the student didn’t learn anything in class. It’s just like going to a gym to work out. If you didn’t sweat and you didn’t get sore afterwards, you probably didn’t do anything.”—Two Common Misconceptions About Learning | WIRED (via teachnologies)
Plan what you are going to eat during the week. On Sundays, I go grocery shopping and buy ingredients for a large salad and two other healthy meals. When I get home, I make the large salad and put it into five containers. Healthy lunches for the week are done. They’re…
I feel like every time a new month starts, I find myself saying…”It’s _____ already?!”
Time truly does go by fast.
It is going to be 6 months that I have been with my boyfriend. Sometimes it feels like longer because we are so comfortable with one another and sometimes I cannot believe how quickly the months flew by and it feels like I just met him.
A full year has passed since I accomplished my childhood dream of becoming a teacher. WHAT?! When did that happen? Sometimes I pat myself on the back because I came so far before I even turned 23.
When you first started teaching, did you ever feel like the biggest failure ever? Like you weren't doing anything right and that you weren't the person your students needed? How did you overcome those feelings?
Yes. Yes. A thousand times and a thousand days yes. I still [in year 5] feel like this sometimes. You are not alone in these feelings, friend! So here’s what I would say to you if we were getting coffee today:
You are [and will continue to be] insufficient to love and serve and teach your students perfectly. There are too many of them with too many different needs, and you are one person. So first off, let yourself off the hook to be all things for all students. You will not be a perfect teacher, you will not reach every student, you will not be a 20-year-veteran after 2 months in the classroom. Give yourself grace to be human, to be imperfect, to not always have a stellar lesson.
But then with that behind you, what do you do when you feel like your standards aren’t to high, when you just want to be adequate and feel like you aren’t even doing that? What do you do when you feel like you are failing them and will win the award for Worst Teacher Ever?
You cry. You share with someone that you feel like a failure. You take a deep breath. You go to sleep at a reasonable time before your guilt-ridden mind can eat you alive.
And the next morning you wake up and try this whole teaching thing again.
Seriously, that’s it. That’s the answer, you keep trying. You keep looking for ideas on how to make the class engaging for the kids who keep falling asleep. You read articles and blog posts that give classroom management tips. You ask your co-worker what to do about that awful student who is disruptive. You write lesson plans, grade, and teach.
You rejoice in the little victories [and write them down]. You go to basketball games and band concerts and invest in relationships with the kids. You love well, and that love will cover a multitude of sins.
And slowly but surely, you’ll get better. Although you feel like a failure as a teacher right now, you sent this message to me. I promise, promise, promise that means you’re a far better teacher than you realize. The only truly bad teacher is one who doesn’t care to grow. You’re scared of failing your kids. That’s proof that you aren’t. So chin up. You’ve got this.
“You often see too much, too clearly, and sometimes you see more than what is there. But sometimes you see far less. You are never satisfied with the amount or kind of love you have. You want more and you suffer from never being able to have enough. And even though more may be in front of you, you don’t see it. You are suffering greatly now because you are unable to escape from this prison. You will find a way out of this place one day. This is a temporary place of suffering. But I hope you don’t suffer forever from keeping love from your heart because of what has happened.”—Amy Tan - The Valley of Amazement (via grayer)
Sister (9):I can't believe you hit someone. I never did any of that at your age. What is happening to you?
Brother (5):I don't know.
Sister (9):You know, you're turning evil. You're doing bad things. You know what? I always help you and protect you but if you continue doing bad things and you end up in jail, I am not coming to visit you. I won't bring you nice things.
Brother (5):I don't care.
Sister (9):I am done sticking up for you. Do you hear me?
Hi! So tomorrow I'm going to be officially hired in as a kindergarten teacher. It's going to be my first year teaching ever. Do you have any tips for me?
First of all, congratulations! Kindergarten is great.
Don’t assume they have gone to preschool and come in with a lot of prior knowledge. Almost all will not be able to write or recognize their name. Prepare to keep activities moving and not stay stuck on the same thing for a long period of time because they will get distracted and you will lose their focus. I do brain breaks in my class which helps to bring them back to work mode after we have a couple of minutes of relaxing or unwinding. Gonoodle is a great, free site with brain breaks.
Have a procedure for EVERYTHING and plan on teaching and reteaching it to them in the beginning. You will have to explain to them how to sit on a rug and how to transition to their seats. Everything needs to be clearly explained or you WILL lose them and once you have lost them, misbehaving arises.
Prepare for sweet stories and random facts about their lives when it isn’t appropriate. Prepare for blurting and not being able to wait their turn because they only see themselves and their needs. They will have to be taught how to wait until it is their turn to talk and how they do have important things to say but they must wait until their turn and raise their hand quietly.
Try and include movement in your lessons. It will keep them more active and alert. Also, hands-on activities work best with this age group because they are so curious and learn by manipulating and touching.
There is so much to say! Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will try my best to answer them.
It is SO important to monitor how students enter your classroom and how they exit. Make sure your students are calm, listening, attentive, quiet when they enter your classroom because that energy will just flow throughout the day. It also matters how they exit your classroom.
I didn’t really pay attention to this last year and I saw the consequences throughout the year. Buckling down on this in the beginning will just make your life so much easier as the year goes on.
If a student runs into my classroom or walks in with too much force causing distractions to others, I ask him/her to go back to the door and walk again but this time the correct way.
I have seen such a positive outcome following through with this. It might seem basic knowledge, but sometimes we get caught up and don’t have time to follow through with the correct walking in and out behavior but trust me when I say it is CRUCIAL you follow through now. It will set the stage for the rest of the year.
You mentioned awhile back that English is not your first language. I'm curious about how that has informed your teaching and if you share that experience with your students?
Thank you for the question. :)
It has greatly influenced my teaching. I feel as if I can relate to my students more especially those that are just learning English. I am more sensitive to their needs as well as attentive to their concerns. I work in a diverse area where my students speak various languages and English is usually not their first. I love working with the diverse backgrounds.