If I were to describe my week in one word, I would choose “AHHHHH!!!!!” Ok – I guess that’s not the best word choice, but my week was definitely CAH-RAY-ZEE! Last week was probably one of the toughest weeks I’ve experienced thus far in my teaching career. So many changes, challenges, and emotions… I can officially say that I had reached the disillusionment stage on my first-year teacher stages graph. Lol. Thankfully, with all these new changes and challenges also come new opportunities. I’m still trying to get a good handle on things and make a plan to move forward, but I know one thing is for sure… I will be the best teacher I can be! Nothing can stop me!
In my previous post, I spoke about change. Change is everywhere… it is constant. We must embrace change if we are to reach our fullest potential. Our school has been undergoing a lot of change lately. One of the key changes has to do with how we group our students for reading. Currently, I have a group of 16 above-level first graders that I spend the majority of the school day with (approximately 3 hours). Because our grouping model is changing, I was told that I would no longer be getting to work with this group, but instead an entirely new first grade reading group. From what I’ve been told, my new group will be made up of well-below grade level readers. The majority of these students are non-readers that are still working on learning their letter sounds and learning how to decode and blend CVC words. This is going to be a complete 180 degree turnaround from what I am teaching now… I have lots of learning to do, but am excited for the challenge! J
The thing that I’m worried about most is that I’ll be letting down my current reading group kiddos. We have formed such a close-knit bond and have learned so much together! My kiddos keep me smiling every single day and remind me of the exact reasons why I teach. I love each and every one of them and appreciate all the things they have taught me and continue to teach me. I’m going to miss the group I have now, but am so fortunate that I get the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many kids and in the lives of those that need it most! As one of my BFFs said, “Even though those kids who won’t have you as a teacher are at a loss, the new ones just received a huge blessing!” Thank you SB! And for that, I can only hope! J
Thankfully, this week has already begun on the upward mend. First and foremost, I taught a successful lesson on summarizing (a skill that my 2nd grade group has been struggling with – and they got it! Woohoo!) and I made it home before 6pm today (I know – a new record!)! I tell ya… it’s in the littlest things where you can find the most joy! J
Yesterday, we had an all staff meeting where we competed in the Network Olympics. This is an annual event designed to boost staff morale and build new relationships with co-workers that you normally don’t see or get to work with during the day. The staff was mixed up and divided into 6 different teams where we competed in games such as Name that Tune, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?, and Minute to Win It. Everyone on the team got to compete in at least one challenge to try to earn the team points. My challenge, you ask? Face the Cookie. Each player was given a cookie that they were to place on their forehead. Without the use of hands, the players had to use their facial muscles to slide the cookie down their face and into their mouth. And guess what!?!?! I did it!!!!! J
Even though this took time out of everyone’s extremely busy schedules… there wasn’t a person I saw without a smile on their face as we left the meeting. My principal put it best (this is paraphrased, but quoted from the best of my memory), “We are a family. Having fun and laughing together is something families do best.” He went on to say (paraphrased, of course), “It’s in the little moments we find joy. As I look back on my week, I’ve found at least 10 moments where I can say, “This is why I’m here and I’m proud to be here.” I hope that each of you can find these moments every day.” I left that meeting feeling so inspired and ready to take on the world! So, I leave you with this… a small moment where I found joy and could say, “This is why I’m here and I’m proud to be here.”
Yesterday I was given the opportunity to observe another teacher during my first grade literacy block. I gained a lot of new insight; however, I was only able to be with my first graders for a total of 45 minutes out of the day. One of my sweeties came up to me and excitedly exclaimed, “I can’t wait for tomorrow!” My response: “Why is that?” Student: “Because tomorrow we get to spend more time with you!” Me: *all smiles* ...And that right there is one of those moments where I could say, “This is why I’m here and I’m proud to be here!” I am a teacher and am happy to know that I am making a difference. J
Happy day, sweet friends!