Shhh! Secret Success

I'm sitting at the computer, dead tired. But this tired is a much different tired than last year... Last year, I was defeated-tired, fed-up-tired, exasperated-tired, and even depressed-tired. This year, I'm tired from having done my job, and having done it well.

I'm amazed at how different this year is turning out to be! I have ten 2nd/3rd graders (nine in the classroom; one is mainstreamed full time) who are very ... low... in every way. Two of them are non-readers, and one of the non-readers only knows 20 out of 26 letters of the alphabet. Then why do I feel so good about things at the end of the day? As I thought about it, I realized that these are two different classes.

Last year's class was competitive, rough, petty, hyper, sensitive, and even catty.
This year's class is sweet, friendly, CALM, and cooperative.

As my aide pointed out, this year's class is a joy to teach. And if you're thinking this is a honeymoon period, you're wrong; I checked with last year's teacher and this is how they are all the time. LUCKY ME!!

But the real kicker in my attitude/energy level/motivation/emotional well-being, is that I made the executive decision (shh, don't tell!) to teach my kids what they need to learn, whether or not that corresponds with the reading or math curriculum the state of California and our district has adopted. Revolutionary, huh? No longer do I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall every day trying to teach reading skills my students aren't ready for. Instead, I feel GREAT about what I'm doing, because it's working, and for the first time in my career, I'm seeing some growth!! YEA FOR ME!

My non-reader finally read the first five sight words from the Dolch list today. (the, and, to, he, a). We've been working with these words for three days, and I finally pulled him aside for some good old-fashioned "drill and kill". We spent five minutes seeing who could say each word on a flashcard first. If he could read it, he kept the card, and if he missed it or I had to remind him what the word was, I kept it. We went through all five words like, eight times before he finally got them all but when he did ... we cheered!! He was SO excited and SO proud! He got all five right three times in a row, and I am not kidding you when I say I literally had tears in my eyes. Seeing his beaming, freckled face under his white-blonde hair was all I needed to remember why I am a Teacher.

4 comments:

2 bees said...

Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!

Hannah said...

This is really nice to hear. I'm glad your class is so much better but I'm also really glad that you are sticking it to the man and doing what you think is best :)

2 bees said...

Yea! Stick it to the man...

2 bees said...

Beautiful!!! You've "hit your stride" as sports people say...of whom I am not one, but it sounds fitting for someone who has persevered and accomplished something good!
Love, Brenda

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