Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Better Outlook

What a difference to end a week of teaching on a good day. So what is a good day for a kindergarten teacher? It's having enough trained parent volunteers to successfully teach the Science lesson in groups of 7 or 8 (How many paperclips does it take to sink a sample of cedar vs. particleboard), it's having time for them to record/graph their results in their Science notebooks, it's having our exceptional and talented P.E. teacher report to me "They had a good day in gym today, no 'time outs'" and then my line leader pipes up, "Yeah, we got to go to ALL the stations!", it's having no spills at lunch and everyone cleans his own table, it's hearing the elation in a parent's voice as he relates that his son wrote his first sentence independently on a whiteboard in his office, it's no rainy day recesses, it's having a parent volunteer on Friday afternoons who is willing to do 'busy work' so that the teacher is able to leave a little earlier at the end of the day, it's a line of children holding bouquets of leaves as they meet you at the door after recess (they toss the leaves as high in the air as they can in unison and with much squealing,just before they enter the classroom), it's a group hug at dismissal time that nearly knocks me off the 'story chair' and it's the quiet calm and the social chatter of my team teaching partner and I as we make sure that everything is in place for Monday.
I also have a better outlook because I believe I have pinpointed why teaching seems to be more energy sapping as opposed to invigorating as it usually is for me. I am teaching the 'low' end in our Literacy Block. Two of the children in the group who come from families that value reading, and could be role models for comprehension and vocabulary building, have speech articulation issues and six of them speak a language other than English at home. This goes against research which says blending abilities is better for learning. How we ended up with this model I am not exactly sure because we (teachers) are really given quite a bit of flexibility in how to group our children/ use our resources. Since discussing (honestly venting) my feelings with the principal (remember he teaches a literacy group too) and my team teaching partner I feel like we are all going to work together towards a solution which would mean 'tweaking ' the groups to have mixed abilities.
I can't wait; in 45 minutes we are calling Anna Rae. Usually we call on Sundays. But this weekend she will spend tonight at her host grandparents so she won't be at the Lize's Sunday morning. I had my friend and co-worker, Sarah, teach me how to identify myself when I call on the telephone. I hope Marion answers first but even if Anna Rae answers I am going to try out my few phrases in French.
Incredible, I have written an entire post without railing about the results of the election. Suffice to say that I am none too thrilled to be BUSHwhacked again!

1 comment:

Tanya Mau said...

What a great teaching summary! And, I'm glad you had a great week...I can just imagine the feeling, and you so vividly described everything! The kids throwing the leaves up is cute and I can just picture Ms.T and the kids in action. Have another great week this week! Good luck with reading groups! Tanya