Whew. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here. A school year ended, a summer passed, and another year has begun. This second year teaching is sooooooo much easier than the first. No more training. No more certification tests. No more feeling like I’m in a brand new start up. We have students who’ve been in Montessori for more than a year! And a tracking system! And the majority of materials we’ll need! Our class guinea pig has even survived for more than three weeks!
However, despite the fact that this year is not nearly as stressful as the last, I’m still struggling with teaching. It is one of those professions in which it is really easy to get beat down because despite how much you want things to be perfect, they never will be. There will always be problems that occur, students who struggle, guidelines that aren’t being followed, and an impossible number of lessons to be taught and progress to be made. Since I’m essentially my students’ only primary teacher throughout the day, it’s hard to not feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for what they are learning and if they are making sufficient progress in all areas. And in early elementary school, there are just so many fundamental concepts and skills to be covered: how to count money, how to tell time, how to read, how to write a sentence, how to spell, how to solve word problems, how to do science experiments, etc. It is our responsibility to give students a foundational concept in pretty much everything imaginable, especially in Montessori.
So with that being said, my inner critic (which has always existed and which managed to get me super far in my own schooling, but which also makes me an inner wreck
sometimes all the time) is constantly telling me what I’m doing wrong and what I should be doing better in terms of teaching. And I don’t think it will ever be quiet. But what I do want to start doing is focusing intentionally on the positive, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel all that positive or seem like it’s trumping the negative, so that I at least don’t feel so bad about this whole teaching thing. SO without further ado, here are small, but beautiful things that happened in my room today:
-The majority of my students came in this morning, stopped by me to get their work plans and selected challenging works to do first thing in the morning. Throughout the morning, many continued to do challenging works, including some works that I didn’t even ask or remind them to do.
-There was a point in the morning where I wasn’t sure who to pull for a lesson because everyone was doing work and no one was wandering or chatting.
-All of my students cleaned up quickly after morning work time and sat down on the rug quietly for community circle.
-When two of my students spilled part of a material on the floor, one of my students (who is near and dear to my heart because she has special needs) stood up from across the room and went over to help them pick up the material. She also was super excited when I asked if she wanted to arrange the flowers a family had brought in.
-One of my second graders helped a first grader practice the names of the continents.
-One of my first grade boys, who had a lot of behavioral issues the first week of school, and still struggles a lot to make good choices, quietly played the Star Wars theme song on the tone bars today (so as not to distract anyone).
-All of my students participated in a game during community circle.
-They all sang the closing song at the end of the day (and one of my first grade boys was even the one to start it).
-One of my first graders who has special needs decided to read a book in Spanish with me today during silent reading and read several of the words correctly. (He speaks English as his first language.)
-That same first grader and my second grader with special needs wrote a story together today about a wax cow named Mr. Fruit Watermelon.
-Three of my second graders found the Least Common Multiple of 5, 8, and 10.
-None of my third graders boasted or acted competitive when we went over a few review math problems at the end of the day. They didn’t make anyone feel bad for getting the answers wrong.
-Several of my students willingly wrote about what they did over break in their journals.
-A few students brought in socks for the Socktober drive that we are doing starting this week.
-Everyone did a superb job practicing our Grace and Courtesy lesson today (opening and closing the door carefully so as not to distract others or break the door).
Really, my classroom was pretty peaceful today. I just need to keep things in perspective when I look around the room at the end of the day and see everyone talking and few people doing work. Just as many encouraging actions are happening as discouraging ones. I just need to keep looking for them intentionally.