Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I have an interesting situation in the classroom this year. It's somewhat unlike any other situation that I've faced thus far in my slightly-more-than-four-years of teaching.

The other day, my students and I were talking and one of them referenced the special ed. classroom in the 5th grade hallway. We talked about how we all have difficulties with some aspect of learning and I thought we would move on from there. Instead, one of my students raised his hand and explained that he used to be in a "classroom like that." After some probing I learned that he had actually been placed in a classroom for students with behavior disorders for several years before he came to our school.

Now I have had many students exhibit signs of behavior disorders, but I could almost always attribute them to another problem that a student was having that manifested itself in part through poor behavior. I don't think I've honestly ever had a student whose actual problem was simply behavior. My student is bright and high functioning, social and has several friends. He is just (very apparently) bent towards bad behavior.

The thing that strikes me the most is that he obviously tries to fight it! This is not a kid who wants to be bad, but he can't honestly seem to help himself. In fact, in our first CARE meeting of the year he talked about what a great influence his dad is (he helps him study and takes him to church) and how his goal this year is to get better grades and be better behaved. He is not currently meeting that goal...but he could be a lot worse than he is. I am pretty sure that what I see is actually the reigned in version of the child.

I love and respect this kid for fighting against his natural inclination. As I watch the internal struggle, I can't help but be inspired. If I only worked half as hard to be better on a daily basis as he seems to, I would probably be doing alright.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Boring Back to School Post

I feel like I always get more inspired to write about teaching while I am actually in the midst of, well, teaching! I hope that the inspiration sticks because I've actually been missing writing...even when I don't realize that I'm missing it.

The beginning to this school year has been a ROCKY one. Let me just say that I have NO right to complain this year. I am, for the first time in my life, teaching in the same school, in the same classroom, in the same grade, with virtually the same professional team. On top of that, my class is TINY (10 bilingual students) and we are finally back on the 5th grade schedule so the kids even get to socialize with their peers once more!!!

So yeah, anyone reading this is more than welcome to yell at me for having one negative word to say.

That prefaced, I am unbelievably sluggish (and dare I say more than a bit unmotivated) at the beginning of this school year. I should probably go back and read some of my old first-day-of-school posts in order to feel better about myself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they are full of hope and optimism for the new year and they will just further discourage me.

I'm not sure what it is exactly. The potentially comforting part of it all is that almost every person that I've talked to recently has spouted out almost the exact same sentiments. Am I always this far behind at the beginning of the year? I know that there is a lot more to get done with schedules and paperwork and all that fun stuff, but I feel like that's all I'm doing lately. That's when I like teaching the least, when I feel like I'm "wasting" my time with the administrative stuff when I should really be able to hit the ground running devoting all of my time to coming up with creative instructional tools and interacting with the students.

I attribute part of my sluggishness to the fact that I had foot surgery at the end of last school year. I spent the summer trying to heal and I think I did a pretty good job of it. I graduated physical therapy AND started work with a personal trainer to build the strength back up (yay me!) It isn't a coincidence though that I feel like less of an educator this year in regards to the foot though. I know it needs rest but when I am sitting, I feel like I'm not engaged with the kids and it makes a huge difference.

This isn't a particularly inspiring way to get back into the blogging world, but for now I'll call it a baby step. In fact, every piece of work that I choose to do on my Sunday afternoon instead of going out and socializing will serve as just one more baby step in getting caught up and feeling like I'm truly ready to start the year! Good luck to those of you who are busy doing the exact same thing!