Monday, June 1, 2009

things that work

12 more days. 12. and 3 of those are half days. we can survive.

As we're getting closer to the end I feel like I'm reflecting on what's worked this year, and what hasn't. One of the more drastic changes I made this year was moving my desk from the special ed office into one of my classrooms. When I first mentioned this idea to my AP she smiled in that "that's cute" kind of way and said she thought it was a great idea, but that maybe I should keep space upstairs in the sped office just in case I change my mind, especially since the room I was moving into was a K classroom.

However, I have LOVED this arrangement. Having my desk in the K room has let me have a classroom community, which I really missed having last year. But even more importantly, it lets me fully understand the nature and culture of the class. It's hard to come in and out of a class and really know the dynamics. In my own classroom the community was such that it was the down moments- when children were coming in for the day, children were reading books for pleasure, or transitioning to centers, where I not only got to know kids, but had opportunities for teachable moments. Just coming into a classroom for a set time every day doesn't give you that opportunity. With my desk in the room I've been able to be there when the children get there and see them leave. I see whose come in with new shoes, whose had a rough morning at home, and whose excited to share about their weekend.
I also have more chances to observe how the children interact with each other and with the teacher. I've gotten a whole new perspective on the classroom by having my desk in there but not being the number 1 teacher.

Of course, collaboration-wise it's been a dream. We can toss ideas off one another freely, laugh about what doesn't work, and then come up with another idea the next day. To be honest, sometimes we are bad about planning for academics together and making time to actually sit down and plan. But the on-the-go planning has worked really well for both of us.

I don't think this model would work for everyone. In some ways I work better in a louder environment and I am very good at zoning out noise when I have to. And there have been times I've had to take my computer and get my special ed paperwork done in a quieter place. My co-teacher and I also have an incredible working relationship. We have similar teaching philosophies and are both open to new ideas. We're also both very reflective and are totally open with "wow, that didn't work, what should we do next?" She's been awesome at openly listening to my crazy ideas and telling me it wont work, or trying it and then revising it. It's very much been a relationship of collaborating and sharing ideas instead of a my idea/ her idea/ my kids/ your kids.

It's been an awesome experience. I loved my job before, but this was such a great change. I have my fingers crossed that they'll let us continue to do it next year!

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