I can't say it enough. I can't. So I'm going to shout it out to the blogosphere (forgive my "shouting" in advance, please):
I LOVE MY CLASS!!
What a difference it is to be a teacher at New School. Holy crap. Mrs. Principal is so much more organized, together and amazing at keeping us informed. I feel like she really values communication -- at least in what I have seen from her thus far. It makes such a difference when you feel valued and respected.
It was a little bit of a rough start for the children at the start of the week when we transitioned to silent hallways and lunch but my class is rocking it out! I am so proud of them because I know it is hard to be quiet like that. On Friday mornings we have PE first thing. We start school at 8:20 and have PE at 8:30 so it's a bit of a time crunch in there.
The way our school is set up, our students line up by the back playground doors. There is a huge glass-enclosed staircase leading down toward the doors. So pretty much our students can see us coming. It amuses me greatly when I am coming down the stairs and hear the kiddos say "here comes Mrs. Sunny! Get in line, shhhhh!!!"
Today's task was to get from downstairs, up the three flights of stairs, to our lockers, hand in homework folders (I collect them in the hallway and then quickly put them in our room on Friday only) and get down to the gym on time. These 29 fabulous friends of mine did this within that 10 minutes and in dead silence. I am not joking or exaggerating! They didn't utter a peep the whole way, even with the hustle of turning in folders and things. I was absolutely amazed at their self-control. Then when I picked them up from the gym, the PE teacher told me that they were his best class of the whole week! It was quite hilarious because he said "maybe I became a better teacher as the week went on" and I said, in a playfully sarcastic way, "maybe it's me!" The students all laughed and a few said "it's definitely you Mrs. Sunny!"
I just love them. They are so much fun, they have beautiful smiles and personalities and I know after a year like last year that I am one lucky teacher to have this amazing group of young people to spend my year with. They do get a little chatty in the afternoon but I work them to the bone so I have forgiven it a little. I know they are tired by the end of the day. I have kept to the few consequences I have had to put on them and they realize that I mean what I say so they aren't trying to push the envelope. Even my two "naughty" students I was warned about were perfect saints today -- not a single issue out of either one of them! They are lined up alphabetically but this is not a good mix at all so except when going down to lunch I don't allow them to stand together. Today, one of them says "but I can't stand by X because we just get each other in trouble". I can't say how proud I was that he is realizing he controls his behavior and was trying to make good choices.
I brought home a bag full of stuff again which I hate to do but again, it's the beginning of the year and it's expected. I am excited to have a little time this weekend to relax but also to dig into the MAP data we've gotten back on our students so I can start to put together my data packets on each of my students. It is so vital to me this year to really take a look at the "whole picture" of each child and help each one to make their own learning goals for this year in reading, writing and math. Since I have already given several assessments and we're doing our DIBELs and district writing assessment next week, it'll give me a much better overall picture of where each kiddo currently is.
One of my ELL friends told me yesterday that he doesn't read and write English well. It kind of broke my heart a little the way he said it. He is such a sweet kid. I'm definitely going to work hard to help him this year so he feels more confident in his ability.
If this week is any indication of what my year is going to be like, I'm in for the best year ever. When I was a student teacher there, I thought the kids there were rough and rude and blah blah (even though I ended up just loving them later)...but after spending 3 years teaching at Former School, I realize how clueless I was before! I can leave my door unlocked throughout the day and nobody touches my things. No one messes with my stuff. Every pencil still has an eraser on it! (Usually by the end of the day they were handed out the erasers were non-existant at Former School.)
I really just do love my class thus far. I'm sure we'll have our challenging days sometimes but what an amazing start to the year!