Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Week

Last week was so busy and full, I did not get a chance to blog during the week. I was teaching all morning - picking up Language Art Lessons this week, in addition to the Math Lessons I was already doing.

I have to admit, Monday didn't go very well. I was nervous, the kids were horrible, and I couldn't find a balance between instruction and discipline. While the kids were at Art class, during my first break, I spoke with my CT about it. She asked, "So how do you think it went?" I could tell by the sound and tone of her voice that she was probably seeing my emotions loud and clear. We talked and she suggested that I explain my expectations as soon as they get back to the classroom.

As a side note, this school is very tough for me. There are many discipline issues and honestly, I spend about 1/2 to 3/4 of the time working on discipline issues and the other 1/4 to 1/2 of the time teaching. Seriously, I am not sure how teachers work in schools like this one.

The afternoon lessons did go better and the kids were responsive to my expectations. However, as the week went on, they continued to "test" me. On Tuesday, I had a student run from me, throw a fit in the hallway, and our music teacher actually asked me if she needed to call security...FOR A 6 YEAR OLD CHILD!!! It is horribly ridiculous and I was so flustered. I was shaking and sweating. Thankfully though, the Lord was not far from me and I was able to talk him down, grab his hand and practically "drag" him back to the classroom. My CT supported my actions and called his mother and he had to sit in the classroom and miss out on Music class; I was thankful for the support and the fact that this child did not get his way.

It is hard for me to be so tough. I want to be a light in the lives of these children and positively impact them. I am working on finding a balance between it all. Every Friday my CT evaluates me and fills out an evaluation form, which we discuss together. This week my evaluation was not as great as I would hope for. I know I have so many areas that I need to improve in. I am definitely a work in progress. My CT thinks I am doing great and she is very willing to leave the room and never interject in my lessons, which I appreciate immensely. However, I am not feeling up to par completely yet and this week will definitely be telling. I will be the full-time teacher in the classroom this week. I am excited about this and also anxious. I know I will be constantly praying for guidance and wisdom.

My CT has given me several tips to start this week, specifically making sure that I reiterate my expectations of the students prior to the start of each day and the start of each lesson. These children need to respect me, the same way that I respect them; I refuse to give up.

I appreciate many prayers over the next two weeks as I strive to be a full-time leader, teacher, mentor, friend, and bright light in the lives of these children. Children who deserve to learn and be loved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Math Lessons

This week I started teaching my first lessons. My CT thought it would be best for me to start with Math lessons first, so this is what I have been and will be teaching all week. Our math lessons are in the morning, after the children do their morning work. When the kids first arrive, they choose whether or not they want to go to breakfast and if they do, they go; if they don't, they start their morning work. Generally, by 8:15 all the kids are back from breakfast and have had plenty of time to work on their morning work.

Around 8:20 the kids come to the carpet to do the daily calendar and start the math lesson. This week we are doing things like working with math tools, writing the numbers 1 & 2, and learning "one more and one less" on the number line. My lessons are fun and exciting and I have gotten positive feedback from my teacher so far.

My biggest weakness right now and something I am going to keep working on is balancing my focus during the lessons. I have a tendency to be so focused on my lesson, making sure I do it right and don't stumble, etc. that I sometimes miss discipline issues that are going on in front of me. Thankfully my CT is helping me right now, but I am praying that I can really get a grip on classroom management and effective teaching, combined! It will definitely come in handy in the next few weeks when I take over the classroom full time! Prayers are always welcome! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have come to the end of my first week with the children. I was excited to meet the little first graders that I will be spending the next several weeks with and now that I have spent a few days with them, I am realizing they are not that scary after all. :)

I will be honest and admit that I was nervous. We are certainly outnumbered; 17 of them, and only 2 teachers; but it is turning out to be okay. We definitely have some students that think rules don't apply to them and ones that like to test our patience; but all in all, they are cute and love able.

While I was in the school office this week, one of the administrative assistants asked me what my biggest surprise was now that I was in the classroom with the kids. My response to her was that my biggest surprise was in myself. I was surprised in how well I was holding up when it came to discipline and being "hard." Many of these students need a large amount "tough love" and I was concerned about my own abilities when it came to discipline; however, I have really surprised myself. I have been able to become pretty tough, very quickly.

Each morning as I am driving to school, it is my prayer that I will be able to stand my ground, while also impacting these children. It is important for me to not get a hard heart, especially when it comes to the tougher students. I really do want to make a positive impact and I believe that is definitely an important part of this gift that God has given me. Thankfully I have already received many hugs and that is so worth it to me!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One Week Down...

...many more to go!!!

Last week was filled with many meetings, seminars, trainings, and time to work in the classroom. Every one I have met seems very nice and I am looking forward to this week when the kids return to the school.

Some highlights -

1. I now know the pros and cons to student teaching in both the spring and the fall. It is definitely different to start in the fall, but I can also see the advantages to starting in the spring. As for now, I am just seeking the Lord and believing that His timing is perfect for me.

2. Setting up your classroom, getting everything straight, attending everything they want you to attend, and getting your lesson plans done for the first week of school can become very
overwhelming. Thankfully my CT and I were able to work together and get things done a lot faster than most teachers who were doing it on their own.

3. Bulletin boards are fun for someone like me who likes to be creative. My CT has admitted
that she isn't very creative or at least doesn't spend a whole lot of time on "creative projects", so I was thankful when she asked me to help come up with some things. For example - here is a
poster I made for outside the classroom door. All the teachers down our hallway are using apples as "welcome signs" for the classroom. Many have made signs that say "Welcome to the bunch!" or "Mrs. _____'s bunch" etc. I wanted to do something different, so I looked on the Internet and this is what I found. We cut all the apples to look like they had a bite out of them and we made a worm and a tree and hung the apples in the tree with the worm. I am so excited how it turned out.

4. This week promises to be VERY busy as we set up classroom procedures, explain classroom rules, enforce them, and build a mutual respect for each other. I am excited to meet and get to know the students and I think with each and every day that goes by, my anxiety level will reduce. As of right now, depending on how this week goes, I will start teaching my first lessons next Monday and math is the first subject that I will take over. The plan is then for me to take over other content areas until I am teaching the class fully on my own.

I am still greatly appreciative of any and all prayers. It was a hard week last week for me, leaving Sierra and getting into a good routine of getting up early and making lunches, etc. Thankfully this week is only a 4 day week and hopefully with the kids being back, it will go by faster. However, my heart still breaks when I have to leave Sierra behind and I am pretty sure that is going to stop at all during the next 15 weeks, so your continued prayers are appreciated.