I logged in tonight to post something, but then I forgot what it was! That's how things are going lately! There are a gazillion things to do, yet nothing seems to get done. I did manage to get the trash out for tomorrow and I have dinner in the works! Go me!
We had a staff meeting today and our staff meetings are now about 15 minutes of staff meeting stuff and the rest of the time we are supposed to spend doing vertical collaboration. Last month, the first grade team met with Kinder. I was gone, so I don't know how it went. There was only one teacher from our team there, so it couldn't have been super productive. Today we had to meet with 2nd grade. Our second grade team is very head strong and they feel that everything they do is great and wonderful. They had very little positive to say about the kids they have this year from us, and in fact they are trying to find a way to move some kids back into 1st grade. Sorry, we are over our limit on kids as it is! But, it is disheartening to hear them talk about the kids the way they do. For the last 6 years, the kids, as a whole, have never met the lofty expectations the teachers have for them. If they are at grade level, they should have been higher. If they are below grade level, they should have been retained. I'm sorry, but retention isn't the answer for all kids and sometimes, maybe even a lot of times, it doesn't work. It's just frustrating to listen to them complain about all the kids, especially the ones who are the really good kids who work hard and are capable of learning as long as they are taught!
And this is the conclusion that I have come to. While I am not the best teacher, I try to be the best I can be. I have changed things up over the last couple years and have learned some new things to help me help my kids. I try not to be the paper pusher, and I'm getting better about that. I do my reading groups, though they are not as effective as I'd like, but I do my groups and try to do them 4 days a week. I try to pull kids out when they need extra help, but I haven't been able to find the time this year. I try to make learning fun and bring out the manipulatives and try not to bore them to death with some of the things we do. But then I see what others do (or don't do) and I wonder why I work so hard. I try not to kill a forest a week with worksheets, but for some, they think that is the key to learning. A 20 page homework packet doesn't make the kid smarter, but you wouldn't know that by the praise the other teachers get for doing such a good job getting the kids to grade level or "proficient" based on some test that is now out. We were talking today and I thought maybe we were just jealous that the others get the praise, but it's not that. I am more upset that they get praise for not going above and beyond, while we are doing a million things to try and get the kids to learn.
But then I have to ask myself - would I be happy if I did my job half-assed? Nope! I have to give 100% everyday and do what I can to help my kids learn. Once they leave me, they are no longer my responsibility. I can care for them, and talk to them and hope the best for them, but they are not on my roster and are no longer under my direct instruction. I can hope others see what I see, but if they don't, I can only do what I need to do to make sure my kids are learning in my class and that I am giving them the best I can. It's a good reminder as we get towards the end of the trimester and are beginning to get stressed with the amount of work/testing/teaching we have to do before report cards and we are satisfied with the progress some of the kids are making. I need to make sure I go in everyday and try just a bit harder to do a little better than I did the day before. I too get complacent and want to do things the easier way. Sometimes easy is good, but other times, it pays to do things a little bit harder and then reap the rewards later!
With all this in mind, I need to go and get ready for tomorrow. The dishes are waiting for me, the clothes are piled high on the couch waiting to be folded and my daughter is in the middle of a Junie B book! Here's to a great end to the week!