Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Classroom Reflection

It's almost time to go back to school, and I see this as an opportunity to reset and change some structures in my classroom.  But before I dig in to what I'd like to change, I'd like to reflect on my learning, my successes, and my challenges from these first 4 months of teaching.

What I've learned:
  • The first year of classroom teaching is HARD for EVERYONE!
  • Classroom teaching is not what I imagined it to's been sort of a wake up call
  • I'm learning and working through so much about myself, not just about the art of teaching
  • I have a need to control that I need to release
  • Lesson planning will eventually start to get easier
  • Giving kids "choice" is not as black and white as it seems
  • Classroom management means more than just controlling the students
  • There are many situations on a daily basis where I don't know what to do or how best to handle a situation
  • Teaching is really trial and error - keeping what works and getting rid of what doesn't
  • I have some AMAZING colleagues 
  • First year teachers NEED mentor's hard to do this alone
  • I'm not going to love every student and every student is not going to love me
  • When I can see my students outside of the classroom, it helps me view them as a regular kid instead of just a student
  • Building a relationship with my students is important and helpful for us to understand each other
  • Kids really do enjoy working in groups, and I need to stop being afraid of letting them do so
  • I need to forgive myself for not being able to do it all
  • I WILL NOT be the perfect teacher, no matter how hard I try
  • I can only do so much.  I can't save the world
  • I need to stop being so hard on myself
This list could go on and on, as I've learned so much about myself and teaching this year.  I still have much more to learn as the rest of this year continues, and even more to learn each year when I teach.  The learning never ends!

My Successes:
  • I've survived!
  • We made a class video using Animoto
  • I did all right for my first time ever teaching science
  • I'm a chart queen!
  • My students are reading and writing for roughly 20 minutes each day
  • My class can travel quietly through the all on our way to lunch
  • We put on a play
  • I've run some small groups
  • I've implemented exit cards and used them to keep running records
  • I use a checklist daily to assess my students
  • My math lessons are improving!
  • I've kept the class engaged through an entire chapter book 
  • We've practiced giving compliments to others
  • I'm improving on always walking around with something to take notes on
  • Lesson planning is beginning to get a tad easier
I feel like there are more successes too, but for the length of time and space I'd like to move on.

My Challenges:
  • Still struggling with management - knowing how to keep the students engaged, respectful to me and their peers, and dishing out consequences (cuz there really aren't very many to dish out)
  • Helping my low students
  • Helping students in general while I'm running small groups or conferences (this is a big one)!
  • Transitions and unstructured time
  • Having homework ready
  • Checking homework & time to review it in the morning
  • Keeping students on task
  • Moving quietly through the hallway after lunch
  • A structured bathroom procedure
  • The use of materials (pencils mostly)
  • Not having so many students out of their seats during instructional time
  • Playing games in the classroom
  • Making mini lessons and assignment instructions clear enough for students to understand
  • Not getting so angry and frustrated with them all the time
  • Interventions for behaviors
  • How often to communicate with parents, especially with behavior children
  • Teaching Social Studies and Science better
  • Having kids use more technology
  • Not prepping everything at the last minute
So these are some of the challenges I'll be looking to solve for the rest of this school year.  Phew!  That was some good reflecting!  Now I need to get myself into planning and solving mode!

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