Catching a falling star

Slice of LIfe

March 21, 2012

This experience of posting daily has been great for me (but hard).  It has made me hold true to my writing goal this year.  It have given me insight into the writers life and most important made we really thing about my writing curriculum at school and my students.

I have been out of the classroom for seven years doing district professional development in the area of arts integration.  It was a wonderful seven year but I also felt I had lost touch with students and the realities of teaching.  It does not take long before we lose sight of what a classroom teacher does on a daily bases.

It is not just the lesson plans, the ILP’s ( Individual Learning Plans), the staff committee meetings, the report cards and the parent conferences.  You know the list – it goes on for ever.

But what people do not see from outside the classroom and what the district office people seem to forget is the work teachers do each day to reach each and every child.  The emotional stretch that goes on for a teacher.  The thinking constantly about what will make a difference for this child.  How do I get this child to understand the importance of learning but also the concept or skill being taught?

Today one student and I had a heart to heart.  I know I am failing her.  She is behind in all academic areas, is easily distracted, and is now not trying.  Her comment when asked “why do you come to school?”  was “I don’t know.”   Her home life is a mess – I can’t tell you the whole story.  ( Here is a hint – Mom signed her work undone slip but not in the parent signature location.  Daughter’s comment was sorry “Mom was way to “bubbly” last night so she could not find the right line.”   You get the idea!)

I am working on differentiating the curriculum. I have connected her with support around the building and yet we are still failing.  I am not sure how to catch this falling star.  I watch, think and worry each day.  How do I bring her in?  Get her engaged and trying to learn.  She has quit at 4th grade.   As my classroom moves forward with skills she is being left behind and giving up.

It just can’t happen!   This is the side of teaching that our public and sometimes our administration does not see clearly.  The hours and emotions that we put into helping each child find success in school.   I wish they knew what we really do each and everyday.  What we worry about each night as we plan, correct papers and plot the teaching moves for the next day.

Thanks teachers for all you do, think and worry about!   I only hope I find the answer to help this falling star.  The school year is coming to an end way to fast and I am not sure I can catch her.


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to Catching a falling star

  1. Tracy says:

    Thanks for not giving up on her! She is so lucky to have you. Sometimes the enormity of what we face and what to do about it is so overwhelming. But your heart is where it should be–trying to help your students in the best way you know how. There are no easy answers. Saying prayers for you and your “falling star.”

  2. newtreemom says:

    “I am not sure how to catch this falling star.” says so much about your heart for students. I wonder why our “public” fails to see such dedication and love being freely offered to students by you and so many teachers I know who are just like you, trying, trying to catch the falling stars, and instead sees “a wall of denial” in a failing district (quoted from an editorial)or some other such dismal picture of schools and teachers .

  3. Just being that persistent person checking in with her is important.

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