Today the new bookcases arrived! They were ordered this summer. My students and I celebrated. The simple pleasures in the life of an educator!
I couldn’t sleep last night and was super nervous today. It was all good! I was just anxious to see my students on the first day of the 2016-17 school year. I know that how you start the year is crucial. So many thoughts were running through my mind about how I want to structure the lessons. Mainly, how can it make it engaging and educational?
I am still teaching 7th and 8th grade reading (two classes of each). This year will be my best ever! I started each class today with students setting goals for the year. I asked them to journal the following: “The three positive things I expect to happen this year are________________.” In just a few moments they were all able to easily list three things.
The majority of the responses were, I will:
- listen and pay attention in class
- make new friends
- get better grades
- respect my teacher
- get sleep at night
- come to school on time
- promote to 9th grade
- do better on tests
It was refreshing to have so many students acknowledge what they positively needed to happen to have a successful year. The best part is – I did not have to TELL them – they TOLD me!
My nerves have calmed down and I am looking forward to DAY 2 – tomorrow.
As a mother, I feel fairly confident about preparing my teenage son for adulthood. I consistently warn him of the pitfalls that teens face which land them in adult situations too soon. I say, “You are 18 now, you can not date girls that are younger than you.” Another popular one, “No, you can’t drive without a permit or license!” Of course, I go on to explain why and what the consequences are if he chooses not to listen. Most importantly, I provide “real world” examples. Most times, he listens.
After reading and pondering the debate about teens lacking adult reasoning capacity, yet being held to adult consequences, I realize my responsibility to educate my students as I do my son. There are many ways I can do this; such as incorporating real world scenarios in my lesson planning which leads to having candid discussions when there is an opportunity.
Recently, a group of girls were planning to “jump” one of their classmates after school because of gossip and misinformation. I decided to get them together and facilitate a ‘sitdown’ meeting. I believe it was successful because of the level of awareness I brought to the table. We discussed their intended actions as well as the potential consequences. Given time to process it, they decided to work it out. Today, they are all friends and doing well. They continue to meet with me because they appreciate the opportunity to have an outlet.
It is researched and scientifically proven that the teen brain is not mature enough to help control impulses or respond rationally; which means they often make snap decisions or judgements and act on them to their own detriment. Parents, teachers, and other community members exposed to these teens are obligated to pay attention, be available if needed and continuously educate them about potential pitfalls.
Photo Credit: Marcos Gomes
Now sometimes you get a student who you think deserves to be taken down a couple of pegs, to be put in their place, and public humiliation might really teach them a lesson. But I believe it is only a skilled few who can accomplish this with enough finesse that they actually help that student become a better person. And isn’t that what our goal should be, ultimately? If we are true masters of our craft, shouldn’t we be able to effectively shut down a disruptive student and maintain our own dignity? Shouldn’t we model the behavior we want to see?
~Jennifer Gonzalez, Cultofpedagogy.com~
On my road to becoming the best teacher I can be -this reminder to be careful in how I respond to my students is essential to my success! To read the article this quote was excerpted from go HERE.
According to Dictionary.com, here is the history and origin of the word GRAMMAR:
late 12c., gramarye, from O.Fr. grammaire “learning,” especially Latin and philology, from L. grammatica, from Gk. grammatike tekhne “art of letters,” with a sense of both philology and literature in the broadest sense, from gramma “letter,” from stem of graphein “to draw or write.” Restriction to “rules of language” is a post-classical development, but as this type of study was until 16c. limited to Latin, M.E. gramarye also came to mean “learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes” (early 14c.), which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of “occult knowledge” (late 15c.), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.). A grammar school (late 14c.) was originally “a school in which the learned languages are grammatically taught” [Johnson, who also has grammaticaster “a mean verbal pedant”]. In U.S. (1860) the term was put to use in the graded system for “a school between primary and secondary, where English grammar is taught.”
I remember what it was like in my adolescence to go to school with a heavy mind and heart. Anticipating the mysteries of adulthood – desiring freedom.
As a teacher, if I am worth anything, I must have EMPATHY for my students. On some level, I must be mindful and identify with my student’s feelings, thoughts, and attitudes.
All it takes is a bit of inquiry. It’s worth it.
Photo Credit: EKG Technician Salary