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.

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8 Responses to “A work in progress: A Slice of Life Story”

  1. jarhartz September 30, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    I love this line and the kiddos you describe: “they are stream of consciousness impulsive puppies.” I love their behaviors and their reaction to being observed. Sounds like an absolutely perfectly real teaching day. Great slice!

  2. elsie September 30, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Thus is the life in a classroom. You just never know what’s happening next.

  3. Ramona September 30, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Love the tenuous connection – it’s easy to get see how quickly your “stream of consciousness impulsive puppies” can get off topic. I’m excited that you get to teach Number the Stars with them – such a wonderful book!

  4. arjeha September 30, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    The uncertainty of what will happen next in a classroom is what makes teaching so exciting. No one ever knows what road a student might go down, however, how we join them on that road and help direct them makes all the difference in the world.

  5. joann hulquist September 30, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I love it – your description of the kiddos is perfect! Am working on the feedback to send you. 🙂

    Joann Hulquist Principal, William Walker Elem. School 503-672-3605 (W) 503-803-3621 (C) ________________________________

  6. Tara Smith September 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    A teacher’s day is always full of surprises. But, your affection for the kids and your patience shines through.

  7. bevbaird September 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Why is it that when the kids are not as on task, that’s when you’ll be observed. They won’t see the great conversation – but the student who acts out. I had a principle who questioned the coats on the floor! lol

  8. Lisa October 1, 2014 at 3:21 am #

    You described my class perfectly! Impulsive, and a stream of consciousness that moves too fast for me. The “tenuous” connections leave me baffled sometimes, but I suppose it all makes sense to them. I heard the prep teacher say to one of them yesterday, “Ok, now bring it home! Tell me what that has to do with our current conversation!” and the kid was baffled. Good to know it’s not my imagination.

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