I Survived My First Term....Just

Okay so technically I have almost survived two terms of the school year as we are over half way through term two.

But it has been hard.

It has been a steep learning curve.

It has been amazing.

It has been draining.

It has been rewarding.

It has been frustrating.

It has been overwhelming.

It has been eye opening.

I am working in a school surrounded by families without a lot of anything especially money.  In New Zealand schools don't supply lunches to children, they bring there own.  However in low income areas schools are supplied bread, fruit, breakfast foods and snacks so that we can feed those who need it.  So many of my kiddo's come with nothing or a lunch box with chippies and biscuits, so every day my kiddo's know I will ask who needs a sandwich (and if they have nothing with bread they know to put up their hand) or who needs a top up (in other words they don't have much).  There is no shame in it, no put downs, it just is what it is, and the kids accept it and know they are getting no judgement for it either from me or their classmates (I mean tomorrow it may be their turn so no-one puts down anyone!).

When I got the position (one week out from the school year starting) I was told it was new entrant (5 year olds), this rather scared me as it is so unusual to put a beginning teacher in a new entrant classroom as they as such a whole different teaching requirement in their own right - don't believe me - just ask how many teachers in upper grades want to teach newbies 😅.     The day before I started I found out that in actual fact all my kiddo's had been at school for between 6-8 months (with the exception of 1 who was 3 months and 1 who was 2 years but well behind).  So all my planning went out the window and I thought great I am starting with kids who know a thing or two....


For all the building up of how great my kiddo's were and how bright a few of them are, no one really mentioned that all of my class was WAY behind where they should be across the board, and with summer they will have all slipped way back even further (most of our families don't do home follow up talks/learning etc).  Just to give you an idea, in my class of 18 only two could spell their name correctly (but with reversed letters but that's no biggy).

I have a class of amazing kiddo's with fabulous personalities, and quirks, who are in desperate need of positive attention and affirmations, who struggle to learn and retain new information and need so much exposure to new learning to start to retain it, that it sometimes feels like we are making no progress.

It has been an amazing learning curve for me, I have brought lesson plans and ideas on TPT that should have, could have worked, but just didn't and got put away in the hope by the end of the year it just might.  I have brought amazing lesson plans/concepts that should have been able to been taught in a week according to the wonderful teacher who has designed the lessons and had great success with them, but in  a week my kiddo's just aren't getting it.

For a long time I was thinking just how much of a useless teacher I was that they were not getting it.

Thankfully I spoke to my associate teacher who just told me to relax, and understand that this is how it works with these kiddo's, it takes so much repetition (more than the average) for them to retain the information.  She reminded me at the beginning of the year she told me that if I have 5 of my 18 kiddo's knowing all of their alphabet sounds by the end of the year I will have done a great job!  I had thought she was kidding then, turns out she was right (although I am actually at 8 of my kiddo's knowing all of their alphabet sounds now and it's only half way through the year so I'm hoping to blow that stat out of the water).

I still think I can do a better job of meeting the teaching/learning requirements/needs of my class, and I am constantly trying to step up to the 'plate' and re-evaluating my teaching etc.

My idea list of things to create to help them learn is enormous, and more than I can accomplish before the end of the year is out (even if I was creating full time and not teaching), so where I can I am keeping it simple, where I can I am designing things to compliment the amazing lessons I have brought to give my kiddo's more exposure to the knowledge that they need.

And in the meantime....

I am going to celebrate every victory my kiddo's have, and continue on this emotional roller-coaster ride called teaching!

No comments