My 8th graders just finished reading the book Ties that Bind Ties that Break, which revolves around the old tradition of Chinese foot binding, and they loved it. It’s a very simple read, and that’s exactly the type of novel I wanted to start the year off reading. Nothing controversial, too difficult, or too expensive to purchase. I assigned them a mini-project to research a bizarre or unique tradition or ritual from another country and do a two minute presentation with some form of visual (powerpoint or print out). They start presenting today and were fantastic! It’s such a cool feeling to sit in my big ‘ol leather chair with a set of rubrics and watch my kids present and do well. They thoroughly enjoyed listening to their classmates, and overall it was such a fun day.
I have also started a blog for my kids, and they are required to post once a week. They must post a well-developed, thorough paragraph that analyzes and/or asks questions of something we have covered in class in the last week. They have submitted two weeks worth of posts, and have done so well! They are having a lot of fun commenting on each others’ posts, and praising the idea of the blog in general. My kids can drive me crazy, but I absolutely love them!
I always secretly wondered if I’d have an issue finding the perfect boundary line between being approachable and being their friend, which I do not want to be. I firmly want to be their teacher. I think I’m really starting to find it though. We laugh like crazy, but they really listen when I need them to. Being sarcastic has been KEY. I am strict when I need to be, but for the most part we have a really great routine down. They are rewarded with personal reading time in my reading chairs, candy, “tickets”, and bonus points, and these positive reinforcement methods have worked like magic.
Yesterday was the first day I came home from school stressed and tired, and I can’t believe it took that long. I TRULY TRULY credit my amazing professor at Bama, Dr. Lisa Scherff, with all of my successful techniques. She taught (and currently teaches) her students so much, and any future teacher that takes her courses should consider themselves BLESSED to learn from her. The textbooks we used in her classes have been my ROCK for developing successful lessons.
Have I had some major screw-ups in the last seven weeks? YOU BET!! Will I change things around when I teach them next year? No doubt about it. My experience thus far has been NO WHERE near perfect, but I’m a happy teacher and ready to go back tomorrow. I think that means I’m doing okay. The support of my co-workers has been phenomenal, and I’m so thankful for their patience with me as I have learned the whereabouts of St. John’s!
To my teacher friends from Bama – I think about you guys ALL THE TIME! I am so curious how everyone is doing, and I really hope everyone is finding some fun in their first year teaching job! Keep in touch!