I finally get to see my kiddos again tomorrow! I'm excited and, strangely, a little nervous. The beginning of our year together was rough. I have many strong personalities and behavior concerns in my classroom, and I wasn't handling it well. Tears were shed on a semi-daily basis. I was trying everything people suggested. My principal visited multiple times. Our curriculum coordinator visited a time or two. Unfortunately, both men said I was doing everything they would have told me to do. I was working so hard, and I was so disappointed that it wasn't getting any better.
I broke somewhere around the middle of September. I left school on Friday, after a tearful meeting with my principal, and buried myself in my failure. I woke up on Saturday and decided to go for a run. I ended up running almost 7 miles (the longest I had ever run!) without noticing. My brain was spinning with all that had happened. During that run, I told myself I had to buck up. I had to make some changes. I can't change the kids, but I can change myself.
Starting the next week, I decided to finally be myself in my classroom. I stopped trying to be what other teachers told me to be. On Tuesday we had our second first day of school. I referred to it as such to the kiddos, and they latched onto the idea quickly. We reviewed all of the rules and expectations for our classroom. We practiced and practiced and practiced. We talked about why we have to act a certain way during certain times. I also started using Class Dojo (which I absolutely swear by - nothing can get my kiddos to change their behavior like this fun little app). I spent more time trying to build relationships with my students by having lunch with them on Mondays.
Before long, my class was changing before my eyes! Suddenly, we could sit together on the carpet and do a group activity for 15 minutes without losing control of our bodies and actions. We could walk through the hallway without talking and touching each other. We could independently. We could work quietly!
It changed my life. That sounds dramatic, but I'm absolutely serious. I look forward to each day now, and I love my students!
Back to the question at hand though, what is my goal for the rest of the year. I mentioned I'm a little nervous about tomorrow. Most of that is because I have no idea what the kiddos are going to be like tomorrow. They might come in ready to learn and function appropriately in the classroom environment or they might come in like they did at the beginning of the year. We had a few issues before break with poor choices, but I'm hoping that's in the past and we'll move forward.
This is my goal: to move forward. By the end of the year, I want to create a happy, functional classroom community with my class. I want them to be friends and to have good friendship skills. I want them to think about the people around them and about what is right and what is wrong in any situation.
Wow! That feels like a huge goal.... It might be. I'm up for the challenge though! Bring it on, class!