Sunday, August 14, 2016

Something New

The past three years I've been blessed with the opportunity to grow as an the form of very difficult students and a lot of escalating classroom drama.

So this summer meant a nice break from teaching in the form of complete disconnect. 

I didn't sub.  I worked on long range plans for about two hours a week, but only with a friend.  I read a few books but they were ones I wanted to read.  I spent a lot of time thinking about who I want to be (and a lot of time with Netflix).

As a result, I'm headed into August feeling excited about a new year.  (Exhausted, but excited.)

One of my new things for the classroom this year?

Less colors. 

While bright colors are welcoming and create a warm environment, I think they had an adverse effect on some of my students and only heightened their dramatic personalities.  

This year, I'm going with calming grays and blues.  I'm strongly leaning towards a nautical theme, so I see hints of red and white dispersed throughout the room. 

I'm headed into my classroom on Thursday (after a planning meeting with the other coaches) and am excited to get started.  I will also need to be very honest with myself because I'm still healing from surgery and will not get everything done in one day.

Something else that's new?

I'll be co-teaching with the GATE teacher.  I won't have any SPED students (except possibly speech) and instead of my students leaving for GATE (Gifted & Talented Education), they'll receive their extension services as a push-in model. 

I also just finished this:

I borrowed it from our counselor.  The teacher version has been on back order for what seems like forever, but Amazon tells me it will be shipped out soon.  Some of the stuff wasn't super applicable to the classroom, but there were some good ideas for shifting my instruction.

The biggest take away was choice.  Giving students the opportunity to choose between two options (both of which I'd be okay with) and allowing them to feel control over their classroom and life.  

The second big take away was to get away from the savior complex in which I'd want to solve all of their conflicts.  In doing so, I deprive them of the opportunity to grow and practice creative problem solving.  I'm hoping by setting the norm that I won't be interfering with their small problems will eliminate me hearing about most of their small problems. This doesn't mean I won't listen, this doesn't mean I won't care, it just means I won't fix their lives for them.  Larger problems, like those involving administration or CPS will definitely be addressed quickly and respectfully.  But I don't want to have anymore hallway conversations about the theft of pencils.  It was draining and I don't want another frustrating year like last year (hopefully).

I also saw this book floating around the message boards of my PLN (Professional Learning Network):

So I tossed it into my Amazon cart.  From the reviews, it seems to be just what I need!

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