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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tales about my week.... Who's learning the most? The students or the teacher?

Here's what's been happening lately....

I've been participating in Five for Friday even though I don't have my own classroom this year. But I didn't participate this week. I just feel like I say the same things over and over and over again, so I skipped a week, but now I feel like I am missing my opportunity to share what is going in my educational world. As most of you know, I work in the reading room this year, and there are five units/cubicles/spaces in this room. So it's important to remind students to keep voices quiet, and to remember not to try to rise above the noise when the room gets loud.  You'd think that this would be the hardest thing, teaching littler learners to speak/read more softly or more quietly. But after training last week and having it brought to mind about how some sounds are voiced and some are unvoiced, I realized that I need to get kids reading louder. I am trying to train them to use the "whisper voice" that is actually a little louder than a whisper. It's a lot more difficult to teach this than to teach them to use a quieter voice. But if they have a hard time discriminating certain sounds, using a whisper will make it harder for them since it will actually be the same sound without a little bit of voice behind it. So that is one thing we've been working on.

Guided reading groups are changing. The end of the nine weeks is upon us, assessments have been given, report cards are ready. So this leads to a little shuffling around making sure students are in the group that is the best fit for them. I've been working with students who are either right at grade level or just below where they should be. Except for a few groups that are a little farther below than that. So really, I already work with a broad range of skills. Now I am working with a group that is above their grade level. Whoa. I am outside my zone. But it is one of the very things that got me excited about being a teacher in the first place.... enrichment, thematic learning, yada yada. I am so excited. One of the classroom teachers is running the group right now until I get my feet firmly under me. But Hoooie (? think hog call sort of excited) I am so excited. I love watching those neurons connect and fire in young minds. This is why I became a teacher!

Hold on to your horses. I was talking about change and data. Guess what? I am seeing some super success with students I've been working with! Does my heart good. I think that sometimes I get more excited than they do. No, not true.  Have you ever seen a struggling reader experience that moment or day or more of success? Yeah, my pride and excitement is nothing compared to theirs. But I love it. It does make it all worth it. This is why I became a teacher.

On a side note: I have been struggling with my own child's reading frustration. And I don't know how to help her. I am the parent, not the teacher. When I try to use my "teacher-ness" on her, well, it doesn't work.  I can teach YOUR child to read, but I can't teach mine. She doesn't really want my help with much.  And she gets really mad and yells at me words about how her teacher doesn't do it like that! Sometimes I have to talk to teachers, and see if I can possibly help her at school.  Sometimes that works marvelously, sometimes I walk away discouraged because I am "just" the parent and apparently I don't know what is good for my child. So my hope is that I will always remember what it feels like to me when a teacher acts like a) I am not looking out for the best interest of the child, and b) I don't know what I am talking about. I hope I remain humble and remember that if I get a huffy note from a parent, not to get defensive, but to remember that we are both on the same team.  We are both on the, "let's do the absolute best we can for this child" team. I already know I've failed this one.  And it makes me sad. So I'll try to do my best to remember that my child's teacher is doing what he/she thinks is best for my precious child, and I will try to stay humble as a teacher and remember that each child is someone's pride and joy and they want the very best for that child.

Confession. I try to focus on why I am happy that I am not a teacher this year, and this week is no exception. I don't have to stay at school until 8 each night for conferences and I don't have to go to school on Thursday morning. But here is the truth.... putting aside the fact that I don't get paid for Thursday and Friday, I would STILL rather be teaching. I love teaching.  I love bonding with other teachers over the food that PTO provides in the teacher's lounge. I love meeting parents, talking with parents, discussing where children are at, and so on. I love it all. Right down to the exhaustion. Crazy, right? But true.  I can't wait to get back in a classroom.  I miss it all.

So that is learning in Ms. Horn's world. I hope those kiddos are learning because I know I am!! Happy Tuesday everyone. One more day til my weekend starts! (oh and until the World Series starts.... )

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