I just finished my first week of school! I can't wait to share some of the fun things we did this week, but today I want to talk about "keeping it real" on our blogs. If you are like me, you often read teaching blogs and think to yourself:
"Is this for real?"
"Darn, I felt good about my classroom until I saw that second grade Pinterest picture with chandeliers and light up desks."
"How did she manage to complete those craftivities, math projects, reports, and science experiments in the same week as parent-teacher conferences, a Halloween party, AND report cards?!"
As I reflect back on my first week of school, I think it's important that as bloggers, we keep it real. We naturally want to share the GREAT things that are happening in our classroom in hopes of spreading inspiration, help, and ideas to our followers. That's a good thing, because if we are not blogging to inspire, help, and share, then we shouldn't be blogging in the first place. :) Sometimes, however, I want to send an honest message that says:
Truth: I had a rough few days during this first week of school. I have 25 first graders who are SO sweet. They really are wonderful and have the funniest, cutest personalities! I already love them so much! I KNOW it's going to be an amazing year but many of my new firsties are struggling with expectations for walking in the hallways, keeping their hands to themselves, and using the restroom. They are going to be a great class but they are going to take a bit longer to get into routine than some classes I've had in the past. They are AMAZING in the classroom, but my expectations for the restrooms, hallways, and lining up are very different than what they were used to in kindergarten. So we are chugging along. My week went a lot like this:
We talked about what we look and sound like in the hallway. We modeled the correct, incorrect, and correct way (again) to walk in the hallway. We practiced walking in the hallway (with absolutely no agenda or place to be at - just walked to practice). We talked about what we look and sound like when we line up. We practiced lining up. We repeated lining up for lunch 6 times one day. We modeled, modeled, modeled the correct way to behave in the restroom.
Press the REPEAT button and that was my week. On Thursday, I had a moment of, "What if they NEVER get it?!"
But guess what? They did. It is not perfect yet. But Friday was a million times better. They walked in a straight line. They used the restroom quietly and quickly. They were respectful and silent in the hallways. It was a true sign that we were going to be a-okay, folks!
Taping calendar numbers to the floor with clear packing tape helped them know where to stand in line. It also gave each of them their own personal "space."
I'm sharing this with you because we have all felt like this before. We have all been frustrated or worried that our kids will not be able to get into "routine" during back to school time. Sometimes it's because we forget what first graders are like in August and September. Sometimes it's because no matter how amazing you are at classroom management, you'll have those classes during your career that are just "tough." I blog to share ideas, but I also want my blog to be a place that teachers can come to and think, "I'm not alone in this struggle either." Blogging is just as much about sharing as it is about supporting one another. If you ARE struggling to get your kids to meet your behavioral expectations, I will tell you that constant modeling and practice are the two key aspects for success. You may need to put off some academic activities that you had originally planned in order to do so. That's okay! :) We often need to move slow in order to eventually move very fast later in the year. :)
Fellow bloggers, I'm challenging you to share some struggles you face in your classroom. Followers, I'm challenging you to rise above the world of Pinterest and know that you are an AMAZING teacher who does not need chandeliers and light up desks to prove it. ;)
Later today, one of my little sweethearts got up out of his seat during an activity and started walking toward me. My first thought was to repeat our WBT Rule #3: "Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat." But before I could spit the words out of my mouth he hugged me, said "I love you," and then returned to his seat.
How could you NOT know this is going to be a great year?! :)