Today was such a roller coaster day at my school!
The kid I’ve been working on sight words with was able to help another kid with the words today which I could tell boosted his confidence. Then we played a sight word competition game, and he won because the word he happened to get was one of the ones we’d been practicing!I was beyond proud of him, and I know it really made him feel good to be one the same level as his peers even though his reading is a few grade levels behind.
Then my lesson happened. I didn’t bring all my energy, and the kids were squirmy and unfocused. I didn’t anticipate that my students would have trouble with finding the historical time period of a text, and instead I focused on the easier aspects of setting. They were chatty, and I was tired. Their assessments came back with an average of 70% mastery…. not enough to meet my 80% benchmark. During the lesson, my school’s curriculum specialist came to visit, and I thought that I was going to get reprimanded later for sure because my class was not as in control as I would’ve liked. My direct supervisor also came in the room, and I felt like a chicken without a head, running around the class trying to keep order. I was exhausted by the time the kids walked off to lunch, and I was really disappointed in my performance during the lesson. My kids deserve to be held to a higher standard. I was at the lowest low of my institute experience so far.
I sulked for about 20 minutes until my supervisor asked me if I wanted to debrief about her observation of my lesson. I told her how disappointed I was in myself, and how I regretted not keeping tighter control over the classroom. I reflected on my mistakes, and vowed to come back stronger for Monday’s lesson. She told me she was impressed with my teaching, and although I might have felt bad about the lesson, she told me that I am her strongest teacher. I smiled, but insisted that I still have so much work to do, and want to be more effective. She helped me brainstorm a few ways I can continue to develop such as thinking about what my students’ misconceptions about the material will be before I teach it, and writing more structured differentiation into my lesson plans. She said that most teachers aren’t at that point yet, but I should continue working to get even better. I left happy, but resolved to improve.
Then my school’s curriculum specialist came to my room and announced in front of everyone that she thought I was a very strong teacher. She thought I did really well and talked with me about ways to make the content more rigorous and challenge my kids more content-wise. That made me feel really good because she would not have been so forward if she was not genuinely impressed.
I had to go to a regional meeting tonight, also, and when it was time for shout-outs, the institute director called me out for my planning and effort to help kids learn tough vocabulary in our read-aloud. I was embarrassed as my entire corps turned to look at me, but also very honored that others thought I was doing a good job. I hope I can continue to live up to and surpass everyone’s expectations for me, but most importantly, I hope to surpass the expectations I’ve set for myself.
At least for now, I embrace this emotional roller coaster called TFA and will continue pushing to make dramatic gains with my kids.