10 things I'm doing (or will start doing) to be a better teacher...
1. Plan better. Since this is my fifth year teaching kindergarten, it gets easy to just flip the page in my curriculum guide to the next lesson and teach from memory. But things go so much better when I plan each week ahead of time and then take a few minutes before or after school to gather manipulatives and supplies. It's easier for me and better for the kids.
2. Stay on schedule. Some days with 5 year olds do not go as planned. But by staying on a lesson schedule by doubling up every once in a while insures that I get through my curriculum by June. And makes sure my students learn all they are supposed to.
3. Use my stuff. I have cupboards and boxes and shelves full of stuff that I could, and should, be using to enhance my curriculum. It's a great curriculum and does a great job at teaching the subject matter. But I could add more to it and make it even more effective.
4. Remember that I'm here for the kids. Teaching is not just a job. Sometimes it feels like it. Believe me. But these are human beings. Little people who are counting on me to teach them to read and write and count and share. I need to keep that in mind when I'm sounding out the word "hat" for the thousandth time.
5. Pray for my students by name. I've done this before and it's quite amazing how it makes me feel so much more invested in their success. I'm asking God to bless them. And I feel like he's asking me to help Him do that.
6. Turn off the computer. Well, actually not turn it on until after lunch when my students are gone and the lessons have been taught. I get easily distracted and can get a little addicted to my online activities. I don't mind using it in the afternoons while my kids are having rest time (like now) or free play time. But if the kids are working, I should be, too.
7. Stay on my feet. I know from experience that if I stay close to my students they are better behaved, do better on their work, and learn more. As soon as I sit down at my desk, I become invisible and they are way more prone to stray from what they are supposed to be doing. If I walk around near them while they work I can keep an eye on things as well as evaluate individual strengths and weaknesses.
8. Keep up with paperwork. Even kindergartners at our school do 1-4 pages of work a day. It can add up quickly if I don't stay on top of it. Plus it helps to evaluate on a regular basis where each child is and what I need to focus on in my lessons.
9. Be more consistent and immediate in disciplining. By this time in the year, the kids know the rules and what is expected of them as far a behavior. The time for warnings is over and immediate consequences need to be given. This is hard. Especially looking into the sweet face of a kindergartner. But it is essential in keeping order in the classroom. And it is even more essential in me keeping my sanity.
10. Have fun. Teaching is hard work. Really hard. But it can be fun, too. What other job would provide me the opportunity to make paper bag owl puppets and play with play doh and get paid for it?! Sure I have to teach phonics and numbers and how to write an "N." But after that is finished, I get to play and share God's love with 9 souls whom he has entrusted to my care for a few of their days.
Wow. That was kind of boring. Thanks for reading all the way through. How's this?
10 things I heard today that I bet you didn't.
1. "Is this the right foot?" Why, no. No it isn't.
2. "They are the 5 bowels." Ummm...do you mean "vowels?"
3. "Table." In response to the question, "What animal begins with the letter 't' ?"
4. "Leaf." In response to the same question.
5. "Lost a tooth!! Lost a tooth!!" Said by I. after biting a wooden mask. She did not lose a tooth. But it was a little alarming.
6. "But she smells." Said by S. who did not want to sit by M. in chapel. M. does not smell. And S. is actually the stinker.
7. "Whooo!! Whooo!!" Said by my whole class right after we made owl puppets. Said loudly. And for long enough that I had to put a stop to it.
8. "How many candy bars did I sell?" Asked over and over and over and over by S. who could not remember that she sold 25 candy bars. To her credit though, we've only learned to count to 20 so far.
9. "Are the brownies done yet?" Asked one thousand times when E's. birthday brownies were brought to school baked a little but still stirrable inside. Luckily we have an oven just down the hall in the kitchen and I was able to save the birthday celebration by baking them a little longer.
10."Teacher ate all the brownies." Said by the birthday girl when she saw the empty pan. I, in fact, did not eat all the brownies. Just one. And it was a small one. But she kept saying it so I had to explain when she was picked up that I only had one. Really.