On top of the world. It’s Friday and I just finished my first week of actual teaching.
I have 8 brilliant students all with so much potential and the drive to succeed. On the first day I asked all of them if they wanted to go to college; every single one of them not only raised there hand but told me exactly where they wanted to go. I know I can’t say the same of myself when I was in 4th grade… at that time college wanted a reality it was just something I dreamed of doing if I got the money to go. However, these students already know what they want and I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to teach them academic and personal skills that they can utilize in their pursuits.
Alright so back to what actually happened this week. Each day I taught 1hr of math and then taught another 30min-1hr on “culture of achievement” or taught small math/reading groups. My first math lesson I felt terrible. My students behaved fairly well but the content was just not there. It was a lesson on algebra and the way I was teaching it did not click at all….. and my assessment scores showed. Going into my next lesson (and a new objective) I changed it up. I made it clearer to my students the objective and the specific step-by-step thinking process needed to do the math problem. Although my lesson was NOWHERE near great, I already saw drastic improvements in my lesson. This improvement continued and my best lesson by far was this morning. YAY!!!!
I do have to say though behavior management is something I still need to work on. Initially the students could tell my co-lab and I were soft and they totally took advantage of it. But after some professional development sessions on behavioral management I feel like ive gotten a little better. I now practice the art of “behavioral narration” and explicit directions. It all sounds so fancy but really it just boils down to me giving very specific clear instructions for each activity and positively reinforcing the students who follow those directions immediately after I give them. All the students want to be acknowledged so they typically follow the directions shortly after. ITS LIKE FREAKING MAGICCCCC.
You know what else is magic!? Smile notes! I had a few students who were particularly amazing this week (academically, behaviorally, or both), so I wrote their parent/guardian a “smile note”. Basically it is a note explaining how awesome they are in class. I choose to send these because most of the phone numbers the school provided us are disconnected, but I really wanted to reach out to the parents in some way. After announcing which students got smile notes all my other students wondered why they hadn’t gotten one. The next day at lunch they asked “Ms.Kahn is my behavior good enough to get a smile note now”. They recognize that positive behavior is something that gets rewarded at this point. Although smile notes are a good incentive I really want them to internalize that good behavior and hard work should be something that they always do, not to get rewarded, but because they want to do it and because it is beneficial to them and their peers.
Alright, time to enjoy the rest of my friday night of R&R. My bed is calling my name.
One last note I wanted to make: Please do not read my blog if you have negative thoughts/comments. This blog is for my friends/family. Shpanks