Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Diary, Ch. 1

Hi friends! Well, I am excited to write my first Dear Diary blog post.  And here’s how it came about…

This school year has been extra stressful.  Sure, every year is busy, but this one is MUCH more so.  Our district has some new administration with new initiatives (inclusion for the first time in years and major technology changes), we have some state-wide changes in education looming over our heads, my colleagues and I are trying out some new programs (Daily 5 and Math Workstations), our staff has been downsized a bit which means bigger classes… even our principal is feeling the pinch…for this year (and this year only, thank goodness!), he is the principal for two elementary buildings!  Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind.  We all feel like we’re being pulled in a million directions.  I’ve logged a huge amount of hours working at home, more than ever before.  Which brings me to a problem many of us face at different points in our career…

Teacher “stuff”….meetings, paperwork, plans, etc etc. etc etc…. has taken over and clouded the time spent actually teaching our little ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel that I’m doing a better job than ever teaching quality lessons with quality management techniques, thanks to the amazing teachers who share their lives through blogs and TpT!!  But, I can’t help but feel extremely, extremely, frustrated in the moments when I get distracted by all that “stuff.”  Just let me teach, please!!
This is where Dear Diary comes in.  A teacher friend who had been experiencing similar stress in her class shared a super fabulous idea with me.  Every day, before leaving her crazybusy classroom, she stops to write down one positive thing about her classroom.  It could be a lesson that went well, a success story from a kiddo, a positive interaction with a colleague, anything!  Anything to, well, remind her why she’s a teacher.  Anything to help her clear the clutter of “stuff” from her mind and leave for the day feeling calm and happy.  

I immediately decided this was what I needed to do to get me through this year.  And so, here is Dear Diary, Chapter 1.  These posts will be short and sweet.  Meant to remind myself (and hopefully you!) why the “stuff” is worth it.   I hope you enjoy reading, because I know I will enjoy writing!  (P.S. I won’t be using students’ full names, just initials.)
Dear Diary, Ch. 1
Monday – A* had just one bathroom interruption today, as opposed to his usual 5 – 6!
Tuesday – All kids being Progress Monitored made gains during this week’s assessment!  They were ittybitty gains, but hey, I’ll take it!

Wednesday – I* is really starting to show some confidence in his work!  He’s trying things out without my help!  YES!

Thursday – G* finally brought back her math homework!  Have I won this battle??  Stay tuned…

Friday – I am SO HAPPY with how my Guided Reading groups are going.  Confession (please don’t judge me):  I was really bad at Guided Reading my first two years.  Really bad at making time for groups, and really bad at making them interesting.  I was lucky if I met with one group on any given day.  This was mostly due to my Centers routine.  It just stunk.  I’m not ashamed to say that because….insert Daily 5 this year, and our Guided Reading is fabulous!  (Also, just to defend myself a bit, my previous kiddos DID make plenty of progress in reading….just without much help from those small groups.)  Now, I meet with 2 groups each day, plus do individual reading/writing conferences.  In a week’s time, I meet with my two lower groups 3 times, and my two higher groups 2 times.  And the instruction is super awesome.  And I love it.  And they love it.  And we all feel sad if a special circumstance prevents me from seeing a group.  And I know this day’s entry is very long, but I’m just so excited!  Now I’m done. :)

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