This week’s essential question had me thinking deeper about being happy with my job and how that impacts my effectiveness as a teacher. I thought a lot about how I want to be great and how I can be great this coming week. This is my first year teaching first grade and my second year of teaching. I am far from great and most days I struggle to try to figure out if what I am doing is working for my students.
I have also spent a good deal of time thinking about some of the teachers in my building, specifically the teachers that have been teaching for more than twenty years. Some of them seem very angry and disillusioned. I have had two that are really unkind to me and other new teachers. I actually had one already tell me this year that I shouldn’t talk during our PLCs because she doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. I have a saying when I don’t fully understand where someone else is coming from and it helps me not to take things too personally or get too upset. The saying is “I know they are doing the best they can with what they have at that specific moment.” When my colleague said that to me, I stopped and listened to what she had to say and I found out her class is very difficult. I taught kindergarten last year and I know the difficult students that came into first grade because I heard about them in our kindergarten PLCs. The first grade teacher who was unkind to me had more than her fair share of those students and she had the most difficult two of the entire group. I understand that she probably didn’t want to hear that I know the needs of my own difficult students that I looped up with and what motivates them. This week helped me put some of that into a better perspective.
I enjoy reading my classmates blogs. Theresa’s had me thinking about how my level of excitement directly relates to my students excitement level. Genevieve’s took my thoughts from Theresa’s a step further and had me think about how I can motivate my students. She specifically had me consider the importance of encouragement, student involvements, providing incentives, allowing creativity, and ensuring that my lessons relate to their lives. Tyler’s enthusiasm is very catchy and I related to his view about using the Danielson model for teacher evaluations. I also enjoyed our Twitter chat this week. I think Tweetdeck is amazing and I’m starting to feel comfortable experimenting and clicking on some of the options to customize it for my needs. It was a really great week!
I forgot to add my discussion with my mentee. She would like me to mentor her this semester on using some technology activities for her students, especially during center time. She has iPods, computers, and a Smart Board in her room. We are going to meet to discuss which subjects or skills she would like to specifically target.