Lost in the New Year

It is day two of our new school year – my head is swimming and my feet hurt.   The kids faces and smiles are wonderful.  We made it through day one with everyone still smiling but day two was a different story.  One of the students who has special, needs in so many ways, could not handle two days of new teacher, new routines, new students and no outside support.

We all started the day well but as the minutes move on through the day I could see he was struggling.  I was scaffolding, moving around for support, pulling the large group back to reflect on behavior, having quiet talks with him but…

We had completed day two of responsive classroom and the energy level continued to build, students had forgotten school language and the large number of 5 th grade boys in the room were all seeking to be top man in charge.

My little friend was soon yelling at everyone and then retreated under the computer desk.  I to felt like crawling under the computer desk.  How had we gotten to this point?

It was only a few quick minutes and the melt down was upon us.

So now we step back – reflect and think – I am writing tonight to see what changes I can make to help him and others settle into the new classroom routines and old school routines.   The class will write tomorrow – both alone in their writing journals and together on large charts.   We will reflect about what works in our learning environment and write about what we want to have our room look and sound like.

Stopping and thinking really helps to clear the confusion of the moment but the writing is what brings us to change in action.  When we put those thought on “paper” we need to get to specifics.  The print helps us to see clearly the actions we can take ( or the ones not to take).  Writing is what creates focus and plans.

Tomorrow is another morning – we will begin our day with a smile, some writing to reflect and what new steps we will use to help us all keep that smile going and the learning that goes behind the smile.

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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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2 Responses to Lost in the New Year

  1. Laura LA says:

    Not a great start to the year – but at least you have some great writing opportunities!
    It’s wonderful that you let the kids share in defining what the classroom should look and sound like. It will be interesting to see how your room changes through this process – physically and psychically. Best wishes.

  2. Thank you for your honesty…sometime I also feel like crawling under the table….I have been teaching for 30 years and also sometimes feel brand new. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, to feel brand new, it feels like a fresh start. I know that you are a good teacher and that you will build a wonderful garden for a memorable year.

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