For me, teaching is like an arranged marriage. I’m not quite sure how I ended up here, or if it was an independent choice at all in the beginning. Was it following the crowd? Fate? Dumb luck? But over time, I reached a peaceful relationship with teaching…and finally…true love.
It took eight years, but it’s official…I’m a teacher. I’m an elementary classroom junkie. Looking at someone else’s classroom makes me giddy. I want to know how they organize, how they decorate, how they manage. I love hearing stories about my friends’ classrooms. Teaching has become a part of who I am. I don’t want to be an administrator or a consultant or a rock star. I want to be a REALLY good teacher.
Tonight I watched this YouTube video:
…and it made me positively giggly! I love the calmness of this classroom…the students, the teacher, everything. Is it the small number of kids? Is it the kids’ personalities? Or, possibly, are the teacher’s actions creating the tone of the classroom??? At first watching, I thought the kids seemed sort of…robotic? It seemed like the teacher was barking orders and the kids were trained to respond with a certain word or action, like a dog responds to the word “sit.” Or in my dog’s case, “Outside?” “Supper?” “Treat???” 🙂
But while I watched the video a second time, I realized a few things. The kids know exactly what to expect. A lot of frustration in a classroom comes when kids get in trouble because they didn’t understand what the teacher wanted and the teacher thinks they should have understood. These kids know what the teacher wants them to do, and all the tiny little routines and procedures that are so habitual free their brains to focus on the concept. These particular routines and procedures are great for keeping a large group of kids all in the same place.
And mostly, I had a really hard afternoon in my classroom, and I’m loving all these babies who watch, and listen, and do. I felt inaudible and invisible with my babies this afternoon, and this teacher is not inaudible or invisible!
I have never heard of “Whole Brain Teaching,” but I’ll be trying some of those tricks.
(If you teach in my district, don’t worry, I take issue with the math, too. We don’t teach key words. I won’t teach key words.)
I’m also loving the website Teachers Pay Teachers. There’s a lot of junk, and there’s a lot of old school stuff that is no longer best practice, but there are a lot of teachers creating really good stuff! Plus, we are encouraged to give up our addiction to the cute and colorful to make time for the important, and I think that’s fair. But when someone else has created the cute and colorful, I can have my cake and eat it too, so to speak.
Some moments I feel like I am absolutely DROWNING in my job. But I do love it. Much like a drug. I am a junkie.
There are worse things to be addicted to.