Everyone always says that the second year of teaching is always easier-- to some extent I agree and to some extent I totally DISAGREE.
I realized early on this year that if my students were going to be successful I needed to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be vs. the teacher I thought I was suposed to be. I knew that I wanted my classroom to be organized chaos, I wanted my students to make their own choices and accept the consequences that came with those choices. I wanted my students to love coming to my class.
My classroom is LOUD and I am perfectly ok with it. This year I realized that as a teacher I thrive on the organized chaos my lessons tend to create. I want my students up and moving and talking and creating because that is where the magic happens. My first year I was afraid that I couldn't handle the chaos. This year I threw caution to the wind and welcomed the chaos with open arms--and it worked. Yes, I spent 30 trillion hours picking up their trash off the floor, and straightening desk, and repeating "have you lost your ever loving mind" but they learned and they had a little fun while they were at it.
Consequences-- they are a part of life just like death and taxes and everyone having a love/hate relationship with Taylor Swift music. I learned that if I didn't give my students boundaries and consequences no matter how much I knew they didn't mean to hit so-and so with the marker they threw across the room or they forgot their essay in their other binder which is (insert made up place here) they had to suffer the consequences. My goal has always been to use my class as a class where student don't just come to polish their reading and writing skills, but they come to polish their being decent people skills as well.
|Nope, were teachers NOT students... or sisters|
My second year of teaching I decided on 2 goals
1. teach the PERSON
2. teach the STUDENT.
8th grade is such a rough year. It is where the "high school threats" start, "real" relationships start "real" heartbreak happens, friends are made and lost and made again. It is really a defining year. I think that is why I love it so much there is something so sweet about getting them right before they enter the all consuming world of high school that makes them listen just a tiny bit more than any other time in life. Ultimately I needed my students to love coming to my class not because they loved English (although that would be a plus) but I needed them to love coming to my class so that they were open to my encouragement, pressure, love and acceptance whether it was their best or their i'l get 'em next time.
My first year I learned about the navigating being a teacher and surviving. My second year was all about the students and their needs. Their needs to have a teacher that is willing to try something that is not accepted, to make them learn from their mistakes and love them beyond words even when hitting them over the head with a textbook seems like a better option.
Now onto year three.
You can find my reflections on Year One HERE