Saturday, 14 February 2015

Testing the new teacher

I've been spending my Saturday doing some things I love. I had a particularly unpleasant lesson on Friday that went belly up from the start. I remained calm, I dealt with things as they happened but basically the kids were trying to test me out. I'm the new teacher after all and I expect it had to happen. Outside factors conspired to make things just a little more challenging than usual, it was 40 degrees by the time I'd got to class, the room that I was in didn't have a well functioning air-con in it, the wind was blowing and the new portable still wasn't ready so we were in a different room again. (Oh, and it was Friday 13th also but I'm not superstitious.) There's no need to go into detail but lets just say I was thankful when reinforcements arrived and then the bell went. Friday night drinks didn't hurt either.

Overnight I had trouble sleeping. The heat wasn't helping here either and I wasn't thinking about what I could have done better but I was trying to work out what do I do next? When the kids are testing you what do you do about it next? What is your reaction? I believe I need to front up with the attitude that this is the best group of kids that I teach and we need to learn from the events of Friday and then get back into it. In my early days I would have got the whip cracking, used all the student management strategies that the school supports and I will do some of this, but now I have an ideal that I want my students to engage in their learning, not just behave because they have to. I want their maths to improve, I don't want to just get them to do busy work. I want them to learn how to function in a class and work with me to learn together. I have high expectations around this and they know it. I was asked by a student in this class why don't I just quit? I wondered for a brief moment if she was hoping I was ready to raise the white flag but I actually think that even though she was contributing to the mayhem she recognised that she wouldn't want to be in my shoes so quitting seemed a way out. I told her that I loved my job and whatever was happening in this class right now was no reason to quit.

I don't know what will happen next week but I am optimistic. I'll get some help, chat to some key people to understand my students more, the portable will be online this week and we'll change topics and try something else.

So today, I've read my book most of the day and I've spent some time on my jigsaw. I also happened upon #SatChatOc on twitter hosted by @danhaesler and the topic was #growthmindset. I reconnected with an educator that I haven't spoken to for ages. What luck. I called my Mum and spoke at length to a friend who is coming travelling with me later this year. And I went out a got chocolate and ice-cream for supper. I'm tired but ok and another good nights sleep will see me ready to take on the world again. Quit! Pfft! I'm only just beginning.

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