Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finding the Enjoyable Moments

Some days it's nice just to think about the times I laughed with my kiddos.

1.  As I stood in the hallway waiting to pass out lunch cards to students coming out of the bathroom I heard an eruption of laughter from the boys bathroom.  Since I have a very strict set of hallway and bathroom procedures in place and the principal was walking toward us down the hall, I quickly walked into the doorway of the bathroom ready to lay down the law.  But when you walk in to see a third grade boy rubbing his head and staggering back to his feet you just wait for him to explain.  And when he informs you that someone must have locked the door and then crawled back under, which caused him to head-butt the door on his attempt to enter the stall, you have to giggle too.  Quickly followed by the reminder that it is best to open doors with hands not heads, of course.

2.  It's never too fun to have a walkthrough, it does give you a bit of a rush, but at the same time I really just enjoy the uninterrupted moments with my students.  It is really not fun to see an administrator walk in while you are struggling to make a Smart Board activity work the correct way.  However I brushed it off and allowed my students to laugh with me by stating, "Well Mrs. P this number is just not dragging the way it is supposed to so we are going to have to think on our feet!"  The kids really enjoy when something does not go as planned!

3.  I always love funny kid quotes and almost daily have them as my facebook status, but this one is good enough to share twice.  "Hey Mrs. Davenport!  Don't only boys have Jack Apples?"  "You mean Adam's Apples?"  "Yeah, that's what I meant."

Gotta love the laughter!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dysfunction with a capital D

It seems that the third grade team at my school is plagued with dysfunction.  No matter what steps are taken to prevent it.  On a team of 7 teachers only 2 are from last year's batch.  This is due in large part to the administrators weeding out what they would call "unprofessionals".  If you were unable to collaborate with colleagues and show that you could properly manage a classroom then you were unable to stay on the team.  Of the 5 that are no longer in third grade only one is still employed at our school.  That says something for the tremendous amount of pressure the third grade team is under. 

For background this is our 2nd year of not making AYP.  So the focus is all about raising those ridiculous test scores.  Last year's team worked really hard despite all the dysfunction and managed to raise math scores 11%, but Communication Arts went down a few percentages.  Basically we were told to revamp the math curriculum to make even larger gains this year while establishing the same results in Communication Arts.  What this entails is making a 10 point assessment for every one of the Missouri Grade 3 Grade Level Expectations.  Math was the focus of our school last year and the second grade team I was on was wonderful because we would divide up the GLEs for the quarter and get all the assessments done in 2 evenings.  Then we were able to backward plan for each concept.  So call me crazy but I had assumed the third grade team I had been moved to would have had all math assessments finished.  Which is why I felt comfortable volunteering to write the lesson plans, pacing guide, and curriculum map for that subject.  I like math and with assessments already done my life wouldn't have been that difficult.

But assessments are sadly no good.  Another teacher (who was on my team last year) is also planning with me for math but it is still a huge task and a minor irritation.  We have basically had to do the same job twice for 2 different grade levels, only this time we are not members of a team that functions like a well-oiled machine. 

Enough of the pity party.  I have told myself that I am not going to be a complainer this year.  (Only my poor hubby can tell you I'm not making adequate progress toward that goal either!)  Not that I was a complainer last year, in fact I don't think I did complain much until I was told I was moving to the third grade.  I guess maybe it was my attitude that set me up for failure but I am trying to overcome. 

I love teaching and I love kids.  I know that I'm there in that classroom everyday for a reason.  I'm going to keep my eyes on Christ and make sure that his plan is what I'm focusing on accomplishing.  If I do this everything will fall nicely into place.