Kim’s Blog

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Archive for December, 2010

Changes

A few years ago a book was recommended for me to read – it is called Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson.  At the time I thought “big deal, I’m capable of changes, I thrive on changes, I’ve had many big changes.”  True enough, in a matter of six years I had moved communities, been married, had a child, changed schools, moved to a new house, had a second child and changed grades.  Change was no big deal for me; it was my norm.

As I sit here and reminisce on those years I realize that was nearly ten years ago and since then I have been teaching in the same classroom, living in the same home with the same three people.  Professionally I am confronted with change, changing my ways, my teaching styles, even my beliefs and I don’t really know how to change or even if I want to change.  In many ways I am comfortable where I am at.  Lately though, I have not been comfortable with how my students have been behaving nor how I have been unable to teach effectively regardless of initiatives within our school division. 

Maybe I need to crack open that book one more time and think about what I need to change and how I can make positive changes.  A comment by Stephen King on a previous blog seems to be pointing me in a direction I would like to explore in an effort to make the necessary changes to improve my teaching methods, my interactions with my students, my professional life as well as my personal life.

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Student/Teacher Parallels

I’ve been struggling lately with a feeling of inadequacy when it comes to interacting and teaching my students.  The students I have in my classroom this year are emotional, needy and deeling with huge issues that I’m not sure how I would handle as an adult.  I have beat myself up telling myself to be more understanding, more patient, more whatever and yet in the meantime, I can see the rest of the students waiting patiently for me to deal with the issues that crop up continuously throughout the day.  I feel incompetent as I try to establish a supportive learning environment within my classroom.  

As I was driving to school today, feeling sorry for myself, feeling sorry for my students who come from unsupportive, neglectful and abusive homes, I realized that I was feeling out of control.  And frankly, as teachers, we are trained to control nearly everything.  Throughout my experiences I have realized that I am a control freak.  I have realized that I feel incompetent because I can’t control my students’ responses, behaviors and attitudes.  I can’t control my students’ feelings.  Throughout my Differentiated Intructional journey I am learning that I don’t need to control every learning experience of my students.  I get that.  But it still doesn’t help quell my feelings that I am supposed to be the one in charge, I’m the one who is responsible for everything that happens in my classroom, I am responsible for the learning experiences of my students.  I see it as a double edge sword.

So as I nurtured my feelings I began to think about these children and how I can’t control anything in their lives outside of school hours.  I can’t control what they are fed, how much sleep they get, how much love they receive, how many learning experiences they acquire.  Then I started to think about my reactions.  I am always telling my students “You can’t control how someone else treats you, but you can control how you react to other people.”  Great advice, maybe I should take it!  Then I started to think of my students and some of these inappropriate responses to various situations.  My students can’t control any more than I can how much food they are provided with, what kind of food they are fed, how much sleep they get each night, how much love their parents give them or how they are treated by other people.  I can control how I treat them and as an adult, it is my responsibility to put my feelings aside to treat these precious children with respect, love and caring.  It is my duty and I guess I have to put those issues I cannot control on the back burner.  I also need to realize that just as I want to jump up and scream in frustration, my students feel like they would like to do this too and on many occassions they do!