Saturday, April 30, 2011

A New Day

This week was....well.....sucky for a lack of a better word. There is probably a better word, but I don't want to type it. This week was hard. I have reached a point in the year where I am mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I am pretty sure the kids thought we wouldn't do anything after assessments. They were wrong, and I think they are upset about the fact they were wrong. It's beautiful outside and they have to sit in a stuffy classroom, listening to me and reading a book and writing. The squirmy kids are really "loving" it!

I write this mostly to encourage myself. Hopefully you can benefit as well!!

I had some not so good moments with the kids. Mostly because I have gotten frustrated with their attitudes and behaviors. I forget that I can't expect them to age overnight. They are middle schoolers and they are going to have their moments.

BUT something I love about them is the fact that one day they can hate you and decide that you have the worst class ever. They can be convinced that you hate them and want to make their life miserable. THEN the next day, they love you and don't want to leave your classroom. They want to give you hugs and draw you pictures.

Every day is a new day. Everyday I get to start over with them. Just as they have forgotten about the homework that you assigned yesterday, they have forgotten how mad you made them or the detention you gave them. They quickly forget that you made their life miserable. And all of a sudden, they are eager to participate in the conversation and are concerned about their grade.

And now it is the weekend, and next week is a whole new week, full of possibility and free of mistakes, blank and ready to be lived and taught.

So note to self: Just remember that last weeks' mistakes are last weeks mistakes, don't let them hang over your head. Just as the kids don't let it bother them, learn from them and move on.

So readers, got any great words of wisdom along this line of thought?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Smile on their face!

I experienced two of my favorite moments this last week in my career so far. These two moments were with students that I didn't have that high hopes for at the beginning of the year.

#1- This young man came into my classroom quiet, slouching in his seat. He didn't participate, in fact I barely knew what his voice sounded like. He did most of his work, and seem to gather most information that we talked about in class. He however didn't collect his missing work or seem to worry about his grade in class. He seemed like someone who didn't know his own potential. Perhaps the reason I didn't have hopes for him, was because I didn't look hard enough. However, recently when we were checking through his grades for all his classes, he seemed surprised at the lack of low grades. He said, "Really?" I nodded and a huge grin spread across his face. I also asked him about his reading assessment score and he said that he got a higher score this year.

I told him I was proud of him and as he walked away, I could see that he walked a little taller. I won't forget that grin though.

#2- He was bouncing off the walls when he first entered my classroom. He had a question for everything. To get him to sit down was like torture for him. He spent half the class walking around the classroom for something. He didn't have the patience for reading anything longer that a sentence. (Perhaps I am exaggerating, but it was pretty tough to have him in class.) Slowly, we got used to each other. I love this kid because he is a good natured and happy kid. He always has a smile on his face and is very honest about the fact that he can't stand reading, he likes picture books the best. We took the state assessments and it was a long 3 days for him. He took 2 days just to take 1 part. He took another 2 days to take the others.

However, when I told him his score, he told me that he had jumped 20 points and met standard this time! I was ecstatic. I told him that I have never been prouder. Not only for meeting standard for doing something that was hard, and working at it. To see the look on his face was so encouraging. I have notice a change in him since sharing his score with him. Confidence makes a difference!

Those are the moments that I teach for. When kids start believing in themselves and seeing success as possible. I have plenty more, but i share these two because I don't want to forget them either.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


This week, we had our state reading assessment. It was long exhausting week. I don't know why watching them take tests is so exhausting but it is. I worked hard to make sure they went into the test with full confidence and encouragement. However, at the end of the week, I was still restless over scores and over a feeling of failure that I just hadn't done enough.

As we finished up the week, one of the office staff that I developed a good relationship, shared with me some positive words that someone had said about me. She took me aside and related the conversation to me.

I don't know why she felt compelled to do that, but on a Friday afternoon after a long week of testing, those words meant so much to me, I nearly broke down in tears. You know when positive things are said about you to someone else, it means so much more. It was words that weren't asked for it, it was not a solicited compliment or feedback.

It wasn't expected, so it means a lot and I can take it to heart and let prompt me to continue on with what I am doing. I can remember that encouragement when I feel like I am teaching to brick walls, or when it is like pulling teeth to get the students to participate or to buy into what I am doing. I can remember that encouragement when they just won't be quiet or everyone insists that they can't wait to use the restroom.

It's the little things sometimes that make me love what I do.

What are the little things for you?