Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One of those days....

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you are doing it all wrong?  Where you thought....these poor kids have the "worst teacher ever?"  That's just about how I felt today. 

I was all excited to start a new narrative writing prompt with my students. After seeing their writing afterwards I just felt disappointed.  Are my expectations too high?  Am I neglecting to teach them something?  Am I leaving out key writing components in my instruction?  Am I not instructing enough?

A little background here...

This is my second year teaching first grade and my second year in a public school.  I have been teaching for 17 years but all of that experience has been in kindergarten in private schools. Let me tell ya'll:  apples and oranges, I tell you.  Not the kindergarten and first grade part- the private school and public school part.  Not in a bad way at all.  In fact,  in a very good way.  I love my public school teaching job.  This has always been my dream and I love every minute of.  However, it was a huge adjustment to change from the private to the public sector.  In kindergarten, kiddos are just learning to write.  Our expectations on first graders and what they are expected to do nowadays has shifted dramatically from when I grew up.  Now I'm dating myself!

I shared the writing my students did with a colleage who has been teaching first grade for many years and asked her to look at my students writing.  Upon listening to her talk about how she teaches writing in her class I realized one very major step I am missing.  I realize I need to model more.  I've always been apprehensive about it.  I worried that my students would copy my work too much if I modeled for them and as a result, the creativity that they are capable of would be lost. However kids, and especially the younger ones, are so eager to please.  They really just want to do the right thing. These youngsters need to learn and have modeled for them the writing process.  I need to begin with modeling how to choose and write a topic sentence and closing sentence and how to incorporate transitional words in our writing.  If I don't model this and show this to them, who will?  First grade should be the opportunity they have to learn these important skills.

Today felt like a bit of setback.  Yet, now I have come to a realization.  I look forward to tomorrow and the days ahead.  I'm looking forward to modeling more and instructing writing more.  It's funny how we are always learning, always growing, and always wanting to learn and grow more.  I'm so blessed to be in a profession where learning and growing is fostered, encouraged and supported.  Through blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, Teachers Pay Teachers, and colleagues, I have learned that teachers are an amazing group of people committed to themselves and others in their own personal growth and the growth and support of others.

I'll continue to share my journey.  I know I'll have many days like this again.  I hope I always learn from them and take them for what they are- opportunities to learn and grow even more.

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