Feeling isolated is a formidable, yet common feeling that many teachers experience throughout a school year. I have decided to maintain a short, weekly journal, outlining my feelings, failures, and some successes in my classroom. It is my hope that this may help any teachers who need to know they aren’t alone in their experience.
I am still very apprehensive about this year, but after a few days also optimistic. Our school is implementing a number of changes, including blocked scheduling, device login procedure, homeroom student activity choice time, behavior response changes, and other school procedure changes. These changes have the opportunity to improve some of the challenges we have had in the past in our school. But it is a lot to wrap my head around. Despite this being my 7th year, it feels very much that I am entering the unknown.
To help me deal with this, I have been listing my lesson activities on a single sheet of paper for every single class. It’s a lot to remember all my CLR activities, brain breaks, and procedure changes in addition to the learning activities I have planned. Lots of moving parts means I need to be more organized and planned until I get my feet back under me. It’s been a lot of extra mental energy so far, and I am hoping it can become habit within the next few weeks.
Some of my CLR activities, especially with my older groups, have fallen flat. I feel much more successful with my younger classes and these community and culture activities, but I have struggled getting “buy in” from some of the older grades. I am tempted to put aside the CLR and go back to what I am most comfortable with, but I would like to keep trying and see what happens over the next few weeks.
Also, I haven’t been successful with names this year, like I have been in the past. Usually, I dedicate quite a bit of class time to learn names and pronunciations. This year, I reallocated that time for community building – which means now I am way behind with learning the names of my students. I will eventually get caught up, but hopefully in a week or two, and not a month from now.
I am continuing to try and build relationships and focus on activities that support different cultures in my first few days with students. I am also teaching a few basic room procedures, like what to do when students enter the class, my attention getters, and what cleanup looks like. On all of these fronts, so far so good, especially with my younger classes. It is also the third year our fifth grade students have taken design, and the benefits of an extra year of design instruction are showing! There have been some excellent designs already this year, and I actually think I can improve the rigor of my expectations for some classes!