Week 17 as a Beginning Teacher

So today marks the end of week 7 of Term 2.  I have decided that I am going to start blogging about my reflections of my teaching during my first year, rather than just typing them in a random file that I may never look at again.

With week 7 finishing this week I'm not impressed with myself that much.  In actual fact I think as a teacher I may just suck!

Don't get me wrong I have had some amazing results this week.  One of my kiddo's who has been at school for 2 years and is still in a Kindergarten class (he has some learning issues) absolutely rocked his alphabet.  In his December 2015 testing he knew 4 lower case letters and 6 upper case letters.  Six months down the track in my class he has learnt 23 lower case letters and 24 upper case letters!   I did such a happy dance with that result.  I felt like a teacher.  I felt like I had taught someone something, I felt like I had had a success story.

But that's not where I think I am failing.

If I am totally honest with myself I am not being the teacher I want to be.  I was never going to be a teacher that yelled and yet I am finding myself doing it a lot lately and I don't like it one bit.

I could justify it and say, I have been sick with a throat virus all year that has left me really tired, or first year teacher tired or that 3 of my kiddo's do not know how to behave and it's there fault I yell.

But the reality is there is no excuse.  I shouldn't be raising my voice to tell a child off.  That's not who I want to be and it's not who I should be.

It is always the same 2 kiddo's that push my buttons with a third who tries but tends not to too much.  Both boys have issues stemming from home life (or previous home life) and the first 5 years of their life hasn't been easy.

They can both be the sweetest boys, who lap up praise, love one on one time with me and want to please, until they have impulse control issues or want something someone else has, or don't like how someone looked at them, spoke to them or whatever triggered a misbehavior.

The trouble is my response (especially by the end of the day) isn't helping, it's contributing, and I have to acknowledge that.  If I am going to remind them how to behave (which is going to have to happen) I need to do it calmly, but more importantly I need to acknowledge that they have done so.

I know I am supposed to do that but when I reflect back I realize that...

I don't.

I just move on and teach (or try to).

They don't get the acknowledgement of having listened.

They don't get the positive reinforcement for doing the right thing, and they desperately need it.

So they act up again.

I cannot blame the boys for that, it's all on me.

I'm the one not following through, I'm the one not being the teacher who models the right way to do something.

I always wanted a classroom with a set of simple rules that we would learn as a class and follow (most of the time) and would be full of a lot of learning, fun, laughter, me being goofy, and the kids remembering what a great class it is.

Instead I have been feeling more overwhelmed, sometimes drowning, forgetting about the goofy and having fun, getting caught up on the small stuff, and most importantly not picking my battles.

I have to learn to pick my battles better, I have to learn to respond better, and most importantly I need to follow through better and acknowledge them for listening and doing the right thing.

There is so much to remember in the first year of being a teacher, there is so many balls in the air that you are trying to juggle.  I know that doesn't change, you are always juggling those balls, but you get better at juggling, you know more ways to juggle.

Sometimes you get so stuck on trying to get the reading, writing and math right you forget the rest, or you are so busy trying to get the classroom management sorted something else suffers.

So my goal for this week is to really focus on those two boys, remember they cannot sit to long, remember to remind them how to behave calmly (no raised voice) and most importantly I MUST remember to acknowledge them for listening and to catch them doing the right thing and acknowledge that to!!!

We will see next week how I did!  Wish me luck.

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