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Friday, June 30, 2017

My First Year in First Grade

Hi! I am still alive! I know it has been a LONG time since I posted. To say it was a challenging and overwhelming year would be the understatement of the year. I would also say that it was most meaningful year of teaching, to date.

I was both nervous and excited to be entering the classroom after 6 years of teaching intervention. It had always been my goal to be a classroom teacher. Becoming an intervention teacher was really unintentional. I do not regret those 6 years at all. They helped me be successful in the classroom by providing an instructional foundation.

As someone moving from out of state, I will say that I was slightly unprepared for the dynamics of the community I was entering. I had worked in Title 1 schools my entire career. As an intervention teacher, I usually worked with those students with the most disadvantaged economic conditions. However, I did not have experience with the level of poverty that I faced this year. The school had 100% of students on free breakfast and lunch. I don't think I truly realized just how different this is than a community with 60% of students on free and reduced lunch. The difference is very stark, in case you are wondering.

My students faced a number of obstacles, including a lack of resources and unstable home lives. In my mind, I expected a certain dynamic in classroom management from a povery stricken community, but surprisingly that is not exactly what I experienced. My students wanted to learn and they were mostly willing to work hard. In fact, half the class made it to the middle of second grade reading benchmarks. They did amazing work, and I am extremely proud of them. What surprised me, was their emotional underdevelopment. I did not expect to be explicitly teaching self control, kindness, and mindfulness in the classroom.

I was fortunate to have had 6 years to hone my teaching skills as an intervention teacher, because I was able to give the necessary amount of attention to teaching valuable non-cognitive skills. I never expected to teach my students yoga or meditation, but that is exactly what I did. GoNoodle was such a valuable tool for this. 

I'm finally starting to feel alive again, dare I say well-rested. I am optimistic that I will share more experiences this year, but I make no promises. It was a successful year for me and my students, but it was also all I could do to keep my head above water some days. I am hoping for a little more balance this year! Enjoy your summer, teachers. You earned it.

1 comment:

  1. The beauty of a blog is that it sits and waits patiently for you until you are ready to meet up a again! I'm so glad you shared your experience here. You're an awesome teacher and how lucky were those kiddos to have you as their teacher. Have an awesome summer. Yes, you deserve it!


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