Monday, September 27, 2010

Still Alive

Back to school has been extremely exhausting. I am barely up for air right now. I pretty much stay at school until about 6:30 or so each night... changing grade levels every year is really getting old.
Even though I have taught kindergarten before, he first time I only had 9 students. No, that is not a typo. I had nine kids in my class (for a while, it got up to 13 at one point). I could hold hands with all of them at once.
They also came from educated families where reading and education was highly valued. They all came into school knowing their alphabet and letter sounds.
The second time I had kindergartners was in my K/1 split. We pretty much just did first grade because I had high ability kindergarten students who were already reading.
This year most of my class does not know all of their letters, and are FAR from knowing all of their letter sounds.
This year my school district is implementing PLCs (Professional Learning Communities). The way I see this is working together with the people in your grade level to create interesting and engaging lessons to meet the needs of our students. Apparently, it means having a very quick meeting during part of a prep-period (20 minutes) where we see what skills need to be addressed, decided when we will assess the mastery and go.
So now I have 10 school days to teach my entire class all of the uppercase and lowercase letters, their sounds, and how to write them all correctly. Um... yeah.
And just in case you thought that wasn't enough, my school is also implementing the Boys Town model for behavior management. I love this model and agree that it is a wonderful philosophy. Very common sense.
However, I was not expecting someone to pop into my classroom today (Monday) at 9:00 (as the bell rings) to observe how I have implemented the model and to receive feedback. I really didn't want to hear it. Some person from Nevada comes into my room and watches me teach for 20 minutes and she is going to tell me how well I am implementing this new model after being in school for 28 days? In a new building? In a new grade? With ridiculous PLC assessment data due soon?
Guess what! I need to work on positive feedback. No shit. I think at 9:00 on Monday morning, we all need to work on being more positive. I am supposed to provide praise and correction in a 4:1 ratio. So for every criticism or correction I need to be providing four additional praises. Apparently my ratio is backward. Whoops. I'll get right on that... after I teach the alphabet, and sounds, and how to write... in ten days.
Ugh. Sorry so bitter.
Really, I love my new school. I love the people I work with, and I have a great class. Just one or two little turkeys who don't have any social skills. I am just feeling overwhelmed today.
My car has been leaking transmission fluid. Sparky's car has been in the shop for the last three weeks because the computer in his car thinks his car has been stolen so it won't let the car turn on.
I didn't have morning work ready for my class today. I wasn't prepared for today because we went up to Auburn over the weekend. And I have a lot of stuff to do for my master's degree.

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