I came home today and fell into our bed and slept until dinner time. I am so blessed with a husband who remembers to plug in the slow cooker and makes an awesome sautéed snow peas and garlic! But what a day…
I greeted my students as they arrived today, introducing myself and asking their names as I shook their hands. They were all friendly, and I think it set a good tone of respect. Respect became the theme of the day.
We started out by doing a Learner Profile Reflection. The students rated themselves as to how they feel they show those qualities. We then made table tents to help me remember their names. I had them pass around their table tents to each student. Each one wrote a positive quality they appreciated in that student from a list they had generated at the end of the last semester. It took a lot longer then I thought it would because I didn’t have a good method of tracking who had written on whose table tent. “Plan better” is the lesson.
Later in the morning we focused on creating our Essential Agreement, which I called “2.0” because I am taking over for a teacher who left before the winter break. The students needed to have the idea that I am a different teacher and a different person reinforced, so we are updating the agreement to be between us. They identified “respect” as one of the most important things to include as part of “how we treat each other.” Throughout the day, I found myself asking them “Are we using respect as we listen to Janey?” or saying, “Sam, was what you just said respectful?” They were so responsive to this! They immediately took responsibility for showing respect, and changed their behavior. So maybe it only last for 30 seconds, but they remained responsive throughout the day to that reminder. I am in awe! These students are so brave to take on a new teacher and a new environment, and to respond so well.
My main lead-learner lesson for the day was, “PLAN BETTER!” I had planned for an hour of computer lab time, and didn’t get to the media arts center in time to sign up for the slot I planned. So…a whole hour, I had to make up on on the spot. It worked out well, thanks to National Geographic Explorer. The students had been eager to read the January issue, so we did that instead. Now I’m somewhat terrified that I don’t have the reading and writing materials I need to plan for the next week yet, so I have to do that in some kind of miraculous way in the 45 minute planning time I’ve got tomorrow, plus make photo copies for the math units we’re working on.
I knew there was a reason I resisted becoming a teacher for all those years. This is exhausting and difficult! But, dang… Maybe it sounds cliche, but the kids make it worth it. They were shocked when I told them they were important to the world. Some seem already so jaded and disillusioned, so beaten down. I want them to know I mean it. I want them to know they are “mines rich in gems of inestimable value.” If just one of them gets the idea that there’s diamonds inside of them, it’s worth the exhaustion.