Guys, I’m Killing It

I don’t know exactly what gave me my teacher mojo back but I definitely know that last year was my seven year slump.

I’ve had good things that I’ve wanted to blog every day but my internet has been lame at home and I’m still so tired every day that I’ve gotten behind.

Day 1 and I already knew everyone’s names.

My biggest class is 18 and my smallest is 5.

I’ve tried so many new things already: number talks, Google classroom, Google forms, a clothesline activity, asking students to notice things before we start working, introducing growth mindset, using my Plickers multiple times, and my questioning skills have greatly improved.

Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:

Using a beach ball every Monday at the beginning of class- we hit it while we talk about our weekends and we stop when no one else has anything to share. This has been a GREAT way to get energy flowing on a Monday and to get more students talking and for longer amounts of time. And almost every class will ask me about my weekend too- maybe to just keep hitting the ball longer. =)

I asked our tech person about the possibility of sharing some Chrome books with the two teachers who have classroom sets and she showed up at my door the next day with six that are mine to keep, one per table group. I literally teared up at her kindness.

During my growth mindset discussion with my seniors I kindddddddd of went off on a tangent about being a confident woman and how important it is to make being with yourself a safe place and being successful in the future and etc…..when I finally finished a student said, “Wow, you should be like a coach or something.” {I’ve always wanted to write a book and I think I might have just stumbled on the topic}.

I tweeted about my favorite problem of all time and in my freshman class, the first person to get the correct answer was the student who spent the first week of school telling me how math was not her subject and to please not call on her when she doesn’t know the answer. I said “I thought math wasn’t your thing and yet you were the first one done.” She said, “Well I thought it wasn’t!” She worked really hard the rest of the class period.

I was talking to a group of students when one almost let a cuss word slip; she cut herself off and said “This is why you shouldn’t make me like you so much- then I talk normal around you.” Lol

Number talks have been going well but they really prefer dot talks to anything else so far. Some students are purposely counting them in an unusual order just so they can share their thinking. I’ve had multiple hands go up to share their thinking and it feels like everyone is comfortable with that.

I feel like it was so easy to just jump right into how I want my classes to run- I already feel like I’ve known my freshman students for a long time and it’s such a testament to how being consistent and building routines and procedures can enhance your classroom culture.

I taught the same piecewise functions lesson that I always teach but I started by asking them to notice things about the function and then notice things about the graph. It seemed like the lesson went so much smoother because they made connections all the way through.

It’s only week three I know but I haven’t really had to beg people to work; I feel like I have a good mixture of students that helped make this happen.

A few students have made real efforts since last year to change their attitude and effort and it’s so cool to see them grow.

I feel so blessed to get to be in their lives year after year and to know them so well that I can see change and growth over time. Also after reading tweets and blog posts, I also feel blessed to be in a school that provides me with all the colored paper {and most school supplies} that I want and that my biggest class size is smaller than most people’s small class size.

I still love when students come in and love the way my room smells- I didn’t it was so odd for a teacher to buy air fresheners. 😉

A student asked me how much I spend on all of this stuff and I just appreciated that she noticed the extra that I put in.

This was the first year I didn’t dread back to school time, the first year I had no school nightmares, and the first year {that I can remember} that I don’t have that one class that I’m just dreading.

I can’t really explain how my questioning skills have improved but it’s like I am self-editing in real time- I’ll have my next question on the tip of my tongue and it’s like my brain says ‘Here’s a better idea!” and a more interesting question comes out.

Three lessons that I already had resources for meant I could think deeper about how to present them in a more conceptual way- this is another area I see improvement in myself over time.

I still maintain that Jesus gives me supernatural patience and I can feel the moment I enter into it- helping students one on one I always reach a point where I want to walk away and it’s like this supernatural patience washes over me and I just continue like nothing happened.

I don’t know why but I think it is so cute when students tell me bye as they leave. It’s not every student but it’s just endearing.

I’ve started almost every paragraph with ‘I’ so far but as hard as we are on ourselves, I think we can all stand to brag on ourselves. One of my gifts is making connections with people and I love seeing that come to fruition- this year feels just like a continuation of last year rather than a new start. Maybe it’s not the best thing but I felt like starting school as a tee again- I loved hearing the updates of what all my friends did over the summer and what was going on in their lives.

I feel like finally all of my experience and ups and downs and talents and strengths and weaknesses are coming together and I’m approaching the ever elusive peak of ‘actually knowing what I’m doing’.

My career is on an uphill swing and that is definitely ONE GOOD THING.

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