I forgot to take pictures of my classroom! I took 'before' pics last week, and I wanted some 'after' pics to show you all the efforts of my work. It's come quite far and is looking pretty good. I've been getting compliments, actually, on how well I'm doing. Or something. I think it's just that I put on a good front, because I don't feel at all ready. Well, that's not true, actually. I suppose I have done everything I can to get ready, in terms of set-up and planning these two days. But inside, I am just in denial that tomorrow I have to teach. Because the children are coming back to school. Good god.
I made and put up a shitload of charts today. We only had two brief meetings, and I was in my room the rest of the day. I cleaned up my clutter, kept organizing my desk, erasing things off the list I made on the chalkboard. Saw some great ideas to steal from other teachers, like a particular word wall set-up and library system.
It was difficult to remember that tomorrow is not the end-all, be-all. I had to remind myself that I can change things or keep doing things after this week; I want to think that everything has to be perfect right now because it will be permanent. Ha.
My plans for the rest of the month are not solidified, and I have a lot of work to do with that. I have to help the children write a short story in four weeks! I may end up stretching it to six weeks, because there's no way we'll get started right away. Next week will be all benchmark/inventory/assessment tests and introductions to reading and writing workshops. All of that will most likely spill over into the next week, as well.
I suppose that the writing assignments next week can begin having to do with the story. Oh, and my friend told me about her prof recommending that students turn in a final product twice--once to be graded on content, and then on mechanics/conventions. I think that sounds fan-freakin-tastic, so I will adopt that policy. If I have time. Which, yeah right.
My lessons for story-writing last year were pretty good. I liked them, they seemed fun, and sometimes the kids seemed interested. But overall, I'm relieved that I just need to look over them, organize my notes and lessons, and rework them so they might be more effective.
I am vowing to myself several things for this year:
1. Following through.
I was kind of a flake with a lot of things last year. Phone calls, notes, rewards, routines, volunteer things. Bad news. I will work harder to work hard! Lessons must be reviewed thoroughly EVERY DAY. Homework must be checked more than once a week! I MUST KEEP UP PARENT CALLS, ROUTINES, and promises of REWARDS and CONSEQUENCES.
2. Emphasize procedure, rituals, and routines.
I'm not really sure HOW to do this. But I have come up with some rituals. Not sure if I have enough of them, or if they will work, or if I will stick with them (see above), but my re-reading of the Dr.s Wong has helped me remember the importance of managing a classroom, instead of disciplining one. To see how the latter does NOT work, please see the archives, October 2004 through May 2005. Heh.
3. To not belittle myself, my efforts, or my skills.
I am a kick-ass reader and writer. I have passion for my subject. I have a deep love for education.
I already knew all that stuff before I walked into the classroom last year, and even before I walked into the teaching program itself.
My superiors and my colleagues believe in me, but I second-guess myself, I doubt myself, I feel weak. And I must project an image of strength and professionalism. To do that, I must be the Little Teacher That Could: I think I can, I think I can.
Hell, I *know* I can!
I will be a better teacher this year!
I will reach those students!
I will be tough and stern, yet lovable!
I will push them to be their best!
I will push myself to be MY best!
I will reflect on my practices!
I will adopt "best practices" (whatever the fuck that catchphrase actually means)!
I will have exemplary bulletin boards EVERY month, not just once!
I will keep up my assessments of students (and not just because Ms AP will yell at me if I don't)!
I will do lots to prepare the students for the state exam! (it's in SEVENTY-EIGHT DAYS. Can you believe we're already counting the days? Shit.)
I will help my students develop their skills in reading and writing!
I will participate more in extracurricular activities: I will discuss ideas and notes with the principal and the trip coordinator. Today I was invited to join a grant-writing committee. I will do that!
I will expect excellence from the students, the faculty, and most of all, from myself!
I WILL stop now so that I can go to sleep and pretend to be rested for tomorrow.
I can do this. Yeah!