beginnings · decisions

Reflections on a Rough Patch

OK. So, today I experienced a rough patch with one of my classes.
It made me realize how important it is to be patient and to make measured decisions, not just occasionally but every single time.

I’m not sure how things started to get out of hand or when I started to get impatient. I was giving instructions for a school-wide writing assessment, and I thought I was being crystal clear in my directions. I was taking pride in the fact, or so I thought, that I was being pro-active by anticipating all potential confusions. Then, the questions started coming and they didn’t stop.

I watched myself getting more and more frustrated by a situation that was quickly getting out of control. And, I was left to wonder what had gone wrong.

So, here are my take-aways from today’s experience.

  1. I gave too many instructions in a short time. 
  2. It would have been more effective if I had asked the kids do a think-pair-share after giving two or three instructions.
  3. I should have started the writing assessment right away. Allowing students to read independently before the writing assessment deflected attention from writing. Although the kids will have more time to finish tomorrow, it would have been better if we had spent the entire period on the assessment.
  4. Finally, I assumed too much, which is the worst mistake I can make, especially at the beginning of a new school year. We all need to ease back into school and some kids need more time than others.

Tomorrow I will walk into my classroom and try to get it just right…again. After all, as I wrote a few days ago, there is always room for new beginnings.

Atacazo · beginnings · Cotopaxi · recommitting

Beginnings

I had good intentions.
I was going to blog at the end of the summer.
And, then again after the first day of school.
And, finally, at the end of the first week.

But, none of that happened.

These last two weeks – one for teacher PD and working in classrooms, and the other, our first one with students – have been so incredibly busy that I’ve had precious little time for reading or writing. Despite the fact that this summer was somewhat unusual because I didn’t do as much reading and writing as I normally do during the summer months, it was still much better than these past two weeks. In addition to the typical start-up load of going back to school, I now have a longer than normal, albeit temporary, commute. This means I have precious little time for much of anything that isn’t essential.

Nevertheless, today is a new day. 
A fresh start. 
A second chance. 

As I look out the window of my bedroom I am greeted by brilliant blue skies, majestic mountains, and two volcanoes – Cotopaxi and Atacazo.

Cotopaxi 

We can only see a bit of the top of the volcano pictured below, so we don’t know if this is in fact the volcano we are seeing. However, this is my husband’s best guess from looking at maps of volcanoes in Ecuador.   

 
Atacazo

So, I take a deep breath and recommit to making time…no, I recommit to setting aside time to read and write so that I can continue to be a model for my students – someone who reads and writes on the way to becoming a better person and a more effective teacher.


My students and I have already started on a routine of independent reading and read aloud. They are beginning to expect this routine and are starting to plan for what they’re going to read. As they get into the habit of reading and writing at home, I am excited about the possibilities of what our classroom will look like once we’ve got a full reading/writing workshop up and running.

So, here’s to beginnings. 
They offer us another chance to get it right.
To connect with others.
To make a difference for my students.
And, if I can make just one connection, then I’ll know it was all worth it in the end.