- What My Second Graders Have Taught Me- A First Semester Reflection - January 1, 2016
- Letting Go of Perfectionism in the Classroom - September 11, 2015
- First Day Jitters - August 24, 2015
- Red, White and Back-to-School - August 13, 2015
Well, I can officially say that I survived my first semester of teaching. I’m not sure that if I had climbed Mount Everest I’d feel much different. Averaging about five and a half hours of sleep a night, I have to thank Starbucks for helping me through the days where caffeine was my only hope of survival. I guess it’s fitting that one of my students gave me gift saying, “Miss Laudan, what’s in this bag happens to be on your desk every morning and you can’t live without it!” Hmm what could it be? Yes, a Starbucks mug and gift card!
As I sit here and reflect on not only the past five months, but also this past year filled with student teaching, interviewing for jobs, accepting my dream job, and then preparing and starting my first year, I’ve grown in more ways than I could’ve imagined. Although it’s only been a little over a week since I’ve seen my students, I miss all fourteen of them. I often wonder how their Christmas was, if they got everything on their list and what fun stories I’ll get to hear in a few more weeks. I miss them running into the classroom each morning because it’s another exciting day in second grade. I miss their enthusiasm for learning regrouping addition and subtraction, even though it can be challenging. I miss their curiosity for who our mystery reader for the week is. I miss their questions about how Santa makes it around the world in one night. Their imaginations are limitless and in the process they have made me not only a better teacher but also a better person.
Each day I hope to teach all of my students something new, whether that’s in academics or in how to live a life filled with compassion, joy, and selflessness. At the beginning of the year, I would stress that my phonics lesson planned for Monday didn’t get finished because of a fire drill, or that my students are behind in the letters in their handwriting book. However, with the help of supportive teachers, mentors, and loved ones, I’ve come to learn that at the end of the day what matters most is that I showed each student love and that they will to go home and say, “school is fun, look what I learned!” I’ve come to realize that the phonics lesson WILL get taught, whether it’s Monday or Friday, there are just some things out of my control and being flexible is crucial. I thank teaching for making me more flexible in not only the classroom but also life in general.
For the past few months, I’ve been compiling a list of things my second graders have taught me. They’ve taught me much more than this list, for example how to love more, give more, and be there more. Whether it’s a student who is getting bullied, doesn’t feel well, needs a band-aid, or simply wants someone to listen to their story, teachers cover a lot of other professions throughout the day. And that’s what makes it the best one out there.
Although our title as “teacher” or “educator” indicates that we are to be the ones supplying endless amounts of knowledge, in reality our students can teach us just as much about life and how to handle situations that do not always go as planned. Below you will find some seven and eight-year-old advice that can be applicable to us as teachers. You will also find life lessons that can be found each day, not just inside the classroom walls but outside too. All it takes is a teacher who is willing to step aside and let the students teach YOU!
1.When the Smart Board suddenly refuses to work or play the video you were so excited to show, simply re-name it the “Dumb Board”. Trust me, it almost makes you feel sorry for it.
2.A note that says you’re a student’s hero can go farther than any paycheck could.
3.Phonics really should be spelled with an “f” and there just is no clear explanation to why it isn’t. As my kids would say, “The English Language is just so strange!”
4.Giving is so much better than receiving. This can be seen when students beg to leave class on their birthday to hand deliver a piece of cookie cake to the principal and secretary. And we always save the biggest, best and most frosting infused pieces for them.
5.That it’s worth eating school lunch on “walking taco” day. I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat out of a Frito bag? You would think the students had won the lottery, and in their eyes they just did.
6.f you say you’re going to do something you better do it. Students are pros at keeping their teachers in check. Sometimes better than the teachers themselves.
7.Patience, patience, and more patience. Save it up so on that ONE day, when even caffeine can’t save you, you have some extra waiting.
8.Storyline Online is a lifesaver for those last ten minutes of the day when you’re trying to check planners, hand back papers, and just get the students out the door.
9.Say yes whenever you can. Except when they ask you if every day can be movie party with ice cream and cookie cake (and we do get cookie cake quite a bit). J
10.That “single” actually means you don’t have any brothers or sisters. Like “single child”. Get it? Apparently I’m single.
11.When you go out of your way to attend a soccer match, flag football game, or gymnastics meet, there just is no better feeling than getting to high five your students afterwards and tell them “Congratulations, I’m so proud of you”.