Saturday, September 7, 2013

And we... survived?

No really, we did.

The first week is always this amalgonum of high hopes and expectations, reality, and survival. I can't help but get to the end of the week and thing, "Good grief, the kids have the same behaviors they had on the first day, they still don't know X, Y, and Z, and what's worse, I only got to half of my plans. This week was a disaster!"

It's hard to remind myself that four days of school doesn't magically make children into super star students. It's going to take a little more time, love, patience and direct teaching to change behaviors and get new knowledge in place. The first week has to be about building community, getting comfortable with routines, and letting each child find that they fit into the classroom.

I say this every year. I go into every year telling other teachers to relax, it's going to be OK, follow Responsive Classroom's First Six Weeks of School. And yet...  the end of the first week always feels a bit like a failure. Really, it's more like the first water stop at the beginning of a 10 mile hike. You're already tired and you feel a blister coming. You've made meaningful progress but it's so tiny that you can't even appreciate it because the mountain ahead is so steep.

But we'll get there.

I have four friends returning to my room this year and three new friends. (Sadly, Rock Star has moved on to an older class. I still get to see her every day and she continues to amaze me with her growth and progress). However, losing three students and gaining the new three has really changed classroom dynamics. Not in a bad way, just in a different way. The class has a different feel and a different focus. The kids that were used to being the followers now have no choice but to be the leaders. Everyone is taking some time to get comfortable in their new roles. We'll gett there, but it's all about baby steps.

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