Sunday, May 18, 2014

Looking Ahead (A Little)

This is the time of year when I turn green with I look at the blogs of teachers who are almost done with school and I have a month left. We don't have a month left because we had too many snow days. We had 5 (more than we've ever had in one year in all 8 years I have taught but less than our cut off of 6). For some reason this year, we just go longer than all the other districts around us. I am not sure how that happened. My own kids are done June 5 and I am not done until June 12. *sigh*

I have been a bad bloggy buddy lately anyway since I've been busier than ever but even when I do peek, I get jealous that  some are almost done. I wish I was. It's been a long year. The year started out really promising but as the curriculum got harder, my students started to give up. :( Nothing I have done has motivated them to get back on the proverbial horse. On paper they have made progress (roughly 14 point average gain in math and 12 in reading which is above the yearly average of 8-9 points)...but their ability to be critical thinkers, to be doers because they want to be and to create learning opportunities for themselves is no where near where I would like it to be. It's discouraging. 

This group of kiddos just don't seem to get that THEY are 100% in charge of their learning. I know some people will disagree with me but I have done enough research and worked with the lowest of the low and some VERY bright children in my 8 years....and I have watched some very ineffective colleagues teach very smart children...who learned despite the environment they were in. My students think that because I am the smartest person in the room (simply because a. I'm older than they are and b. I went to school a lot longer), that they will just "pick up on" what I'm teaching. Sadly, that's not how it have to take charge, you have to engage, you have to TURN ON YOUR BRAIN AND USE WHAT YOU LEARNED. I let my kids take a science test and use their notes because it was a hard test....and only ONE child got a B. One. A handful of D-s and the rest were Fs. I don't know how you can fail a test you had notes for!

I have said multiple times this year that sometimes...I wish I had stayed in 1st grade at the other school. Not because I don't like my kids or my school...but because 1st graders want to please you for the most part. There may be a few instances of apathy but I very much doubt it is as rampant as it is at the 4th grade level in our school. It kills me. I am a learner...I wouldn't be going after my doctorate if I wasn't. I L-O-V-E academia. I can barely get most of my students to pick up a book without threatening them :( 

On top of that...our incoming class of 4th graders will be....challenging. To be fair, only maybe 8 of them fit into that category. But because of the behaviors and some lack of follow-through with behavior plans and things, these kiddos think they run their classrooms. Uh, SO not happening in my room. Sorry dude but you better get that through your head like yesterday. I don't want to have to be a big jerk but I'm are 9 years old. You don't get to talk to me like you are 30. Not going to happen.

I know, for the most part, these kids just need a firm and consistent hand. They need someone who WILL follow through on what they say they are going to do but will also love that child and fight for him/her with all they have. I can be that person....but do I want to bang my head on the wall to accomplish it? No. 

I'm coming to a point where I feel restless. Do I stay? Do I leave? Do I wait it out? It doesn't help that gossip and rumors have run rampant and people have tried to get me in trouble because I am more vocal when something displeases me. It's not cool. I don't want to be a part of that. I don't know what to do.

I have plans for myself professionally that do not include my current district. Or any current district. I have goals that I will achieve no matter how long it takes me to get there. Alas, I'm not sure where I am at this moment is the place I should be for a variety of reasons. 

In some respects...I can't imagine not being in my current district or school. There has been a lot of great change since my first year of teaching. (There have been some really ridiculous things too that fortunately didn't last too long.) Alas...I'm not sure that my vision aligns with some of the things I am being asked to do. With things I foresee coming down the pipe that I already know I will be 100% against because they simply are not good for children. 

I have to look ahead. I have to think about the long term. Where do I want to be in 2 years? 5? 10? Is where I am now going to help me go where I want to go? Perhaps if my answer is no, then I need to think on that and make a change now before it's too late.

The Caffeinated Teacher


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