Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Little Indulgence

I borrowed thirteen books by my favorite children’s author Patricia Polacco from the public library.  I may read some of them to my students under the guise of sharing good literature.  Her artwork is personable; her characters are memorable; her work brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face.  When I have the time to read to my students, it shows my human side.  I went onto the library’s website and requested that about eight or nine more of her books be held for me.  It’s been a while since I’ve read her works since my son has “outgrown” the children’s books and moved on to history as his favorite reading topic after a nice stop in fantasy and science fiction.  I never did outgrow them; I never plan to.

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Time to Get Busy

In three months, my young charges will take the STAAR (or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) tests covering mathematics and reading skills.  I will work with some of my struggling students on concepts where needed, and will work with the classes as a whole where everyone pretty much needs the extra help.  I do well once the pieces are put into place by minds equipped for scheduling and planning.  Once I see something and understand how it works, I can implement it with few problems.  I just like having a plan to follow.

I went to see a soccer game that featured three former students.  It was fun to see the guys in a different light since two of them regularly stop by at least once a month to visit and make me feel like a million bucks.  I used to call them “my footies” since they love football (as they would naturally refer to soccer).  We’d check the scores on ESPN to see how their teams would fare.  I don’t have any footies this year that I know of, yet.  I saw some former students playing basketball on Thursday night before heading out to my monthly Bunco game.  They are thrilled when I take the time to attend; I have a marvelous memory to share with them; it is win-win-win!  If you’ve never gone to a concert or game where you have students participating, you must do so as soon as possible.  Even if you only make it to one per student/sport, you have made an impact on that young person’s life.  They know that you love them.  ¡Ciao!

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Same Song, Second Verse

We began the second semester last week, and already I see that some of my students have decided to revert to first semester behavior.  I speak of the “if I don’t do it, then it will go away” mindset.  Indications of late work known as zeroes pollute my grade book.  A student failed my class for the first semester and thinks I am “mean.” Child, you have no idea what mean actually is.  Use the dictionary in my classroom; it is defined as malicious or selfish.  Neither word applies when it comes to my classroom.  I have high standards for my students in my classroom.  This is not mean. I want you to succeed in my classroom; therefore, I have rules about how you conduct yourself. If the rules aren’t obeyed, then you have failed yourself.  Another way to define mean is average.  I am above average; I am not mean.

I have some bright students who test well; work is not their concern.  I’ve been reading several articles on the Internet about underachievers and how to motivate them.  One of the best ideas I saw was to have them earn a reward one day at a time.  This sounds great from a parenting perspective; my time and resources are limited. I still take it personally if they choose to barely scrape by.  I struggle not to let them sit and twist in the wind.  In the latter part of the spring semester, I find myself cutting my losses and letting them fail themselves.  I have to let them fail themselves instead of trying to rush in and save them.  I want them to be independent in their motivation yet still ask for help when it is required.  I want them to grow up well.  Does this mean I don’t care about them? No, I seethe with rage inside, use my firm voice outside, and have one-on-one talks when needed.  My emotional involvement demonstrates my care and concern.  If I truly didn’t care, I would really let them go.  I never really let them go; the school year simply comes to an end.  I find myself wondering how I could have done something better. Like my students, I am a lifelong learner.  I am always increasing my knowledge and desiring to apply it masterfully. ¡Ciao!

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