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A work in progress: A Slice of Life Story

30 Sep

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They warned me they might show up, but when my principal and her supervisor came to my class to do an observation, I couldn’t help wishing they’d gone elsewhere.

My kids this year have good hearts, but they are stream of consciousness impulsive puppies. Some of them are a lot of work, which is why we have 2 classrooms of 22 instead of 3 classrooms of 29. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve come a long way in the 4 weeks I’ve had them, but a few of them still have a long road ahead.

We were sitting in a circle during reading differentiation time when they came to observe. I have about 15 kids in my group, all of whom are reading at grade level. We were about to begin reading Number the Stars and I was surprised, but pleased, to find to no one had read it before. I was giving them background information about the book. One boy chimed in about the fact that his ancestry was Lakota and how their land had been stolen and turned into Mount Rushmore.  I joke with people that the  kids in my class put their hand up and say “I have a connection” but it is often a very tenuous connection. Here was living proof.

As we looked at the description of Annemarie and Ellen, trying to build a picture of the two girls, we were discussing the words stocky and lanky. We had come to some conclusion about the words and I mentioned that one of the most impulsive boys in the group was lanky and he stood up and mimed a slam dunk. Another boy had to be asked to remove himself from the group until he could participate positively. He did rejoin the group on his own later and did a better job.

Needless to say, I was sweating while my principal and her supervisor  were there. I wonder if they laughed, because there were some really funny things said, too. After they left, the kids wondered why they were there and what they were doing. I told them the truth: they had a new online tool to use for observations and wanted to practice. The funny thing was, the kids thought they were the objects of the observation, which of course they were, but they didn’t see ( or had no idea) that it was a performance observation of a teacher.

It might not have been my best teaching ever, but they got to observe a  slice of my teaching life, warts and all.

Randy Ribay

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