We have a handful of school days left before Thanksgiving. The honeymoon is long over, but at this point the kids know the expectations and proceedures so little time is wasted doing the things that drive teachers crazy. I’m loving my students at this point in the year. I do have a couple of kids who are a handful, but nothing that I can’t handle. The most stressful part of the year, report cards/conferences has passed without any major incidents. I doled out honest grades, many kids with D’s and F’s. I was honest with the parents that their child was not performing on grade level, and that with focus and hard work they were capable of growing. I think the parents responded well to the strategies I gave to them for working with their child.
The administration has changed this year for the better. I am feeling supported a million times more than ever before. I am being observed weekly and I receive feedback after each observation. The principal has given all the teachers a rating, advanced, proficient, basic and below basic. I am happy to know that she considers me to be proficient. She asked me to attend two conferences in the past month – a leadership conference in Anaheim and a math teaching conference in Nashville next week.
In an effort to keep my sanity each year I selected a subject and really focused on strategies for teaching that subject well. First year was math, second year was reading and this year is writing. My students are really enjoying their writing projects this year and they have been able to actually create books which they love to show off. I have been splitting each lesson into two parts, the grammar portion and the writing project portion. It helps to keep the structure that that kids know to expect. I find structure and consistency to be the most important parts of a successful elementary classroom.