So it’s funny how much I still need to learn at times. I have been teaching for almost twenty years now and you’d think I could say, yup I got this now, but I learned two valuable lessons this week. Ones that I think are important for many of us teacher types, both beginning and veteran, to remember. However to do this I need to go back a few days to the beginning of the week, to the start of the new school year….
I had spent much time getting the room set up just so – putting certain things here, setting other things there because in my mind I had a vision of this classroom and was going to make sure my classroom matched this idea I had in my head. Then I had planned what I thought would be a great first week – making sure I had a variety of things going on throughout the week that would set the tone for the class but would also keep MY students engaged. ( Yes… Trust me, looking back I know how this sounds… the me a week later shakes my head at myself)
So then I met my new group of students and my little vision got knocked off kilter more than just a little – things didn’t go quite like I thought they would, the students had their own individual ideas and quirks that I was not quite ready for. But I still tried to control things, keep things on the course I had envisioned, I wasn’t ready to let things go, I would make it go back to that original vision I had in my head…l would make them bend and go my way. And I know many won’t be surprised, but it didn’t happen.
And looking back now as the week finishes, I realize you know what, it shouldn’t have happened. Yes, I can definitely set the tone but those kids that walk in the door, they are the ones that need to help shape that vision of what our class is going to be this year. What their hopes are, what their needs are, what their dreams are…..these all matter. Together they will help me shape a vision of what OUR class is going to look like this year. Yes, I know they are only grade three students, some of them 7 or 8 years old, but they have a voice. Trust me on that one. They clearly shared with me this week already “Mrs. D. this book is awesome, I like it.” “I find writing hard, I’m not very good at it.” “I loved that we got to paint rocks today.” My little gang of creators, makers, artists, scientists, writers and much more are going to help me shape the classroom we are going to have this year. (and trust me on this one, I think it’s going to be quite the ride)
The other lesson I learned is that there’s always a new day. Yeah, maybe this week some of my kids recreated the scene from Kindergarten Cop with the fire drill scene, maybe some of them got paint all over the place in art, even in places I can’t quite figure out how they did it, maybe some of them weren’t the greatest listeners and followers of my instructions but really in the big scheme of things, tomorrow is a new day, so don’t dwell on the things that might not have been the greatest, remember the things that were great. Remember how a group worked and collaborated together on day one to build a great spaghetti marshmellow tower, remember that many were so excited asked if they could read in the new reading corner, could they use the maker bins when they finished their work in class, and remember how one little girl wrote in her agenda today “This week I liked my teacher, Mrs. D.” That’s what I should focus on and you know what, I’m going to….because who knows what adventures I’m going to face next week 🙂