Well, my kids have survived the 'Miss Nelson is Missing' treatment (also known as the Viola Swamp switch-a-roo for those of you who know the book) and I have to say that we're all the better for it. I really do want what's best for my students and, overall, I think we've had a terrific year together. Perhaps I shouldn't have complained so publicly when I've not blogged about all the wonderful things that have happened this year. My school is fantastic - super support from administration and families, my kids are smart and pretty fun to be around, and the schedule is hard to beat. (In fact, it's another holiday today! Yeah, I'll take the second 4-day weekend this month!) I think one reason the discipline issue has arisen is that I've brought a different scale of comparison to my classroom. One of my biggest struggles now is kids calling out the answers without raising their hands. Coming from years of working with kids where fist fights, horrid language, and theft were commonplace, I have thought that discipline was a non-issue here.
But the fact is, I should have been asking for more from my students. Not just for the sake of having an orderly and quiet classroom but because they would truly benefit from it. Since writing the 'crack down' entry, I've been starting most mornings with a chapter of Proverbs. The comparison of the wise and the foolish has been all the motivation I've needed to want more for my students than I've been asking of them. 15:2 Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.
There are only five weeks left in school. And I haven't even been counting down. (My first year of teaching, I knew how many days were left when the count was still in triple digits.) Maybe what I'm getting at is that I want to be a great teacher. And if I can't do that here with absolutely every advantage imaginable, then I'm just not seeing the breadth of kids' potential. So if my last school post sounded angry or like I was hoping to just punish the kids for making me look bad, my thoughts on the matter have evolved a lot in the last week.
Just wanted you to know.