March 15

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold the audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson.”

This year I have felt like the biggest struggle is keeping my student’s attention.  This is my 20th year of teaching.  I taught first grade for 14 years, I have lots of tricks up my sleeve.  But this year, I seem to be searching hi and low for better tricks and new ideas.

I have pondered why I seem to be struggling in this area this year.  Is it that I am teaching in a very affluent school, and these kids aren’t impressed by my meager normal teacher tricks?  Is it that we have 1:1 devices and they provide a distraction and I didn’t have a strong routine prepared for how we would handle having these devices at the beginning of the year, instead I let the students help me create the routines and protocols? (I thought by including them in the decision making, I was using a best practice, pro-responsive classroom approach) Is it that I’m learning a new reading program and teaching a writing program  at a new grade level, so maybe I’m not coming off as confident and interesting?  Is it because I have an extremely impulsive student in my class who is very bright, and loves to interject into each and everyone of my lessons about what he knows or how I’m wrong (even when I’m not) and he commands an audience because of his confidence?

I don’t know if it is any of these things or all of these things put together, but on days like today, I’m one tired and frustrated teacher.  I have been told that I have the patience of a Saint, but my patience is running low these days.  I’m feeling a little empty.

But, tomorrow I will go to school with my ideas and thoughts prepared!  I will sing to get their attention!  I will talk quietly until they quiet down to be able to hear me!  I will use wait time like a pro!  I will use my reminding and redirecting language!  I will stop rude behavior in it’s tracks!  I will pep talk myself through the day!  And it might just work!  If not, I’ll get to try something different the next day, and I might drown my sorrows in a peanut butter banana smoothie.

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9 thoughts on “March 15

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  1. Sounds like March Madness to me! I think you echoed the feelings of all of our teachers at our school. You feel like by March, they should have this down…expectations, procedures, etc. But, yes, you come back hopeful each day with the gratefulness of having a fresh start and presuming great things will happen for your students, and for you. This is an infectious attitude! Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. I feel your pain. I have been struggling with my students, as well, and I teach from grades 3-6. I try to be responsive and include them in decision-making, but sometimes I worry that it just makes them feel entitled and think they don’t have to listen to me! Nothing to do but keep trying. And buying smoothies! Hope tomorrow goes better!

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  3. I love the attitude: there’s always tomorrow! I think sometimes there are classes that are just … harder… than others! It can be so stressful. Keep up the great attitude — your self-pep talks! You can do it!

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  4. I know how those days can be. Sometimes I spend the next day mainly just trying to connect and do something unpredictable, catch them off guard and with their guards down, try to find a connection between myself and them.

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  5. Oh, this could have been written by me! Couldn’t you and Sally join me here? I have been having similar struggles lately, but I am happy to report that this morning was so much better! I found sharing my post from yesterday, asking them for ideas for what we should do more of/less of, starting the day with positive presuppositions, and using Go Noodle for brain breaks are all helping today (and tomorrow is our last day before break). Know that i am right there with you!

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  6. They are so lucky that your mindset is one that keeps trying and doesn’t just think of them as the concern, although what you write is what we are seeing as well. Hoping that today is magical and attentive!

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