Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Small-v vocation

Sticks and stones? Sometimes kids can hurt your feelings.

Yesterday was my first time in my observation placement for this semester (the one with third graders vs the one with 4th and 5th graders) and it was INSPIRING. These kids were amazing and their teacher made it look so easy. She must have set up some serious classroom management practices in the beginning of the year because they were respectful little angels. I took copious notes.

In September, I started teaching a class of third graders at the church nearby my university. This is my first year of grad school as I work toward my elementary education masters and I wanted some extra in-class experience. Plus, I loved the 1st graders I helped teach a couple years ago and I was ready for that rush again.

Really?
I've thought of many reasons why this year's CCD class has been so challenging (I wasn't there for the first class, so I couldn't set up a classroom management system; they only see us for one hour a week, so why would they listen to us? And they have the. most. boring activity books), but on Sunday I realized I need to just start the journey from wherever my feet are right now. Every Sunday feels like a struggle for power with these kids and it weighed on me.

This weekend I faced one of my biggest fears: a little kid said something negative about me to my face. Ouch. Way to challenge my faith in myself, kid. Needless to say, I spent some time in the dumps over it.

Yesterday I felt more comfortable with the kids in the class I visited than I do with my CCD class. It could be due to knowing I had a fresh start or because the teacher had such a great classroom environment already set up. However, I think it was mostly due to my own relief.

There. I'm relieved I finally had a bad moment as a teacher. I was worried that would happen and now that it has, I can move on and improve myself. Phewwww.

6 comments:

Lisa Schmidt said...

What?! Some punk is messing whichya? Just wait until I get my hands on that kid and I'll ...

Nice recovery, though. You are a good woman, Elizabeth.

Liesl said...

What is it with that age for catechism? The 4th graders I teach are AWFUL with me... they are starting to get better because I've changed up my teaching strategy, but seriously. They don't listen, they are rude, they are undisciplined, they don't seem to care... and they ask me things that make me want to smack them. "Miss teacher lady, is there a Mr. teacher man that you have?" "NO LEAVE ME ALONE IM GOING TO DIE ALONE AND WITH A HERD OF CATS, OK?!?"

I'm glad you're having good experiences in the regular classroom :)

Mandi @ Messy Wife, Blessed Life said...

I teach K-8, and 3rd is one of my most difficult classes (5th also!). And I actually had a 2nd grader get all uppity a few weeks ago. Since I only teach them 30 min-1 hr a week, it's really hard to get them to take me seriously, and much of their behavior is based on their regular classroom teacher...so I feel ya!

felicemifa said...

Well put! You seem to have a good sense of the two things necessary to survive in the classroom: firm boundaries from the outset, and the ability to make one's self bulletproof. Sounds like you're doing great!

marychapman said...

Seriously, third graders are SO hard. I say start fresh if you need to... tell them you're trying something new for February, and introduce a new structure. Kids are used to people telling them what to do, what the routine is going to be... and they don't know that it's not typical. They'll be all, "Oh yeah! Changing it up in February sounds like a great idea!!"

Thanks for sharing about this moment... I'm trying to remember the times the kids I babysat or was a camp counselor with told me snotty things so that I won't be offended when it happens in a classroom. If it's in front of all the other kids, though, I'm not sure what I'll do!!

I've also been doing a lot of compare/contrast between different teachers and approaches to classroom and behavior management. It's SO interesting... for example, I don't know how my current cooperating teacher isn't as exhausted as I am at the end of the day — her room and the behavior is chaotic to me, but it doesn't bother her! Yeesh.

Let me know if you ever need an ear to chat/rant/question any of this... we can definitely make that happen. :)

Elizabeth Hillgrove said...

@Lisa, thank you! I had to resist the urge to be sarcastic with him, but that was my first reaction. I almost said, "OKAY, KID, YOU COME UP HERE AND TEACH US ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT!"

@Liesl, hahaha. Yeah, I hope there is a classroom management solution to this because I'm open to teaching all grades.

@Mandi, exactly!

@Felicemfa, thanks! I'm still working on the bulletproof half!

@Mary, thank you! That's a good idea.

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