Sunday, January 25, 2009

Teaching: For Better or For Worse

There have been many ups and downs my first year of teaching. There are good days, where I see a light go on in someone’s eyes. When they understand something or enjoy a really good lesson. Then there are days where I think we all need a break from each other. This week had a little of both.

First of all, due to the poor air condition, it was an inside day Monday through Thursday. The students did not get a much needed time to run around and be kids and get their energy out. Therefore, I did not get a break to sit down, prepare, and have a little quiet. Thursday came around and they were getting so restless, recess began and several of my students went to go to the bathroom and get a drink. A perfectly logical thing to do at this time, well they weren't as quiet as they should have been.

I was aware of this and sent one of my students to go round everybody up. Around the same time a teacher decided that she would come and yell at them to go back into my room. Then she came in and yelled at me for a minute when she got tired of yelling at them. Later that day I saw a note on my computer from the boy that I had sent out to bring everyone back in (see I had it under control...). It said, I just thought you should know that the teacher said that you don't care about us and that you are a bad teacher. (I also overheard her make some negative comments to another teacher on Friday about me).

Well if that doesn't make your day... I don't mind if she tells me to my face, or if she, or someone else, doesn't like me. Just don't go telling my students something you know nothing about. I do in fact care a lot about my students, their learning, happiness, and lives in general. I want what is best for them and for some of them that is me. I am not the perfect teacher for everyone, who is, but I think I have made a positive impact on a lot of my students. Oh and I am not a bad teacher, I have improved a lot this year and am, at least, much better than I was a few months ago. I am working hard and will continue to get even better. So there!

I figured I would end this post with the good. Thank goodness there was some of that too. Every week I spotlight one of my students. They get to bring in a poster, I say nice things about them in front of everyone, and then the class gets to ask them a few questions. One of the questions was, if you could have anything in the world what would it be? He thought for a second and then said, "Mr. Horan to be my teacher in 5th grade." A few of the students seemed to think that would be a good idea as well. I would love to have more students like him too, we can wish cant we?

I also have a student that has had a rough time since coming back from Christmas break. He has caused a lot of disruption and made life rough on a lot of us. We have tried a lot of things and nothing has worked, until Friday, he was amazing! I have tried to use as much positive reinforcement with him and to praise him whenever I see even the smallest thing he does right. It seemed to work on Friday and he was so happy. Not only that, but I was able to tell his Dad how well he did. They both had huge smiles on their faces as they walked out of school.

Last of all I have a student who was referred to resource. Before he was able to start, I had 40 days to work with him. Where I was supposed to really focus on him and see if there was anything I could do in class to help him progress. The 40 days came and they now think he will not be able to make it into resource because he is doing to well. It feels good to see someone progress and know that you and they worked hard together to accomplish something great. His mom says that he is always talking about me and how much he likes being in my class. He has grown so much this year! Hopefully he will be up with the rest of the class soon.

I could share success stories about so many of my students. They are amazing! I will keep trying to do what I can to take my students from where they are now and help them improve, even if it is slowly. If I can do that I feel like I am a success. Am I a perfect teacher? Far from it, am I perfect for some? I like to think I’m close. Will I be an even better teacher next year? For sure! So for anyone who knows nothing about me, except that my students are noisy in the halls sometimes, I’m not going to let you get me down.


Jessie said...

Dave, what am I getting myself into with this el ed thing?! It sounds like you really are a great teacher. It must be pretty stressful though, but rewarding too I guess.

brittany said...

Dave, I'm sorry the other teacher is giving you a hard time. She obviously doesn't know you, because you are such a great person!

amyjo2denise said...

Dave. you don't take crap from anyone! She was obviously (PMS-ing) is also obvious that you are a great teacher! I don't know if you remember 4th grade, and I don't, but I do remember those teachers who make life a little more fun, a little easier to live! I imagine you are one of those teachers!

Don't let some grumpy teacher get you down.

Becky said...

I loved your comments and I know you are a great teacher because you are willing to learn. Keep up the great work!