“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.