This week was my first week of taking over the classroom full-time. To say the least, it was a rough week for me. Monday was good; my University Supervisor came in and observed my teaching for an hour. It was a wonderful chance for me to realize that I can do this and others are seeing my strengths. She gave me wonderful feedback and listed no "weaknesses" or "areas to work on." I laughed at her and told her she should stay longer, indeed I am not perfect and I am sure she could find something! Both her and my CT had gracious words and feedback to give and I am thankful for their positive praises. I pray daily that I am being effective.
Monday turned out to be a good day; Tuesday was rough; Wednesday was okay; Thursday I cried; and Friday was better. To say that I am merely just learning about classroom management and behavioral issues is an understatement. I had a long talk with my CT on Thursday, as I was feeling completely ineffective and many of our lessons were not even attempted because behavior issues were over taking the room. During the last part of the day, rather than doing a fun science lesson I had planned, I fought back tears as I explained to my 6 and 7 years old that I was extremely disappointed and frustrated with them. My heart ached at the lack of respect they were showing me. Therefore, instead of the fun lesson, they all wrote me letters that said, "Dear Mrs Miller, I promise to..."
On Friday I reviewed their letters and clearly stated that I would be holding them to their promises. I intend to do the same thing this week as well. They need to learn that making promises, keeping them, and respecting me and others are all things that are very important. Also on Friday, I decided to send a letter home to all the parents/guardians of my students. My letter briefly reminded them of my duties as a student teacher and my expectations. I asked the parents to please reiterate with their students what my role was and how I was a teacher, an adult, that they also needed to respect. In this type of school, only about 20% of the parents/guardians show interest in their student's learning environment, so I am not sure how effective this will be; but I told the students about the note and hopefully they will start to realize just how serious I can be.
I am really growing to love these students and therefore I am learning to be tough. My CT suggested that I find my "mean" voice; she thinks I have a tendency of being too nice at times, especially when I am telling them that I am disappointed. So on Thursday she suggested that I go home and find my "mean-er" voice; :) This, I have been working on. I want to be stern, but also effective; this is the balance I have been working on.
Don't get me wrong though, learning is taking place and I am thankful for that. My heart smiles every time I see a child make a connection or hear them answer a higher order question. I so much want to be effective and I don't want to walk away from this experience thinking that all I have to take away is classroom management; although, that would not be an entire loss. I knew going into student teaching that discipline was my weakest point and I am thankful for God's placement in this school and the things I have learned because of it. It is possible this is why I am here and maybe my next placement will help me learn how to be more effective with instruction. Only God knows; and I will continue to seek His guidance. Prayer is definitely the number one thing getting me through this, at this point.