Sunday, March 4, 2012

Some Very Important Questions

As I said last week, I had been kind of taking a step back from overworking myself for a few weeks. My goal this week was to try to come out of that and make my lessons for next week really shine and to really get back into being the hard worker that people say I am. I did manage to work pretty hard on what we are doing next week but I was extremely tressed about it and worn out by Friday. I'm struggling with finding some kind of balance where I feel like I'm doing it all at school but still manage to have some sort of life outside of school. My problem is that I recognize what I need to do in order to make my teaching better but I just run out of time and energy. Am I the only one that is seriously bothered by this? I know that not everyone is a perfectionist and I really don't consider myself a FULL-ON perfectionist (I am a little bit of one though) but if you know how to make things better and you don't do it because “there isn't enough time” how do you manage to feel okay about it? Maybe I just really need to come to terms with the fact that I can't do it all. But I don't want to!

Okay I'm done pouting.

Anyway, I came into this year being fully aware of some of the areas of teaching that I needed to improve on (mostly math and writing) so I decided to try to work pretty hard on those areas. However, I came into this with the experience that I had with my students last year who were a totally different type of learners. None of them were struggling with reading, so I didn't have to put much energy into that but they didn't immediately catch on to math concepts so I had to work extra hard on that. That's how I came up with the areas that I needed to work on. However, after working with the students I have this year for a little bit, I am beginning to understand that I shouldn't be looking at the areas of teaching that I feel insecure about, but the areas that my students really need extra help on. These areas would definitely be reading and writing. My kids are amazing at math (I'd like to think it's because of me but it's just because they really are naturally good at it haha) so I am really beginning to focus on improving my guided reading.

My goal over the next few weeks is to really dig deep and find out:
What is it that each student needs in order to move to the next reading level?
What are the students' concerns with their own reading? (I've found that asking a student what they think they can improve on is probably more enlightening than any kind of assessment you can give)
What are some specific reading strategies that each student needs to be taught?
How can I accelerate my low group's progress and enrich my top group?
What are some things I can do with my literacy stations that would be more beneficial than what I'm doing now?
Who are some really great teachers that I can observe in guided reading that would help me?
How can I make changes in what I'm doing right now without throwing my students' routines off too much?

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me. But I think that I'm going to have to shift some of my energy from planning in the areas that my students' don't need as much help in and really focus on some things that would be more beneficial to them.

On a lighter note, I have my spring break trip planned and booked! A couple of the girls from work and I will be exploring Savannah for a couple of days. I am so excited! It is a much needed vacation and I think it will be the perfect time of year to explore the area since it's miserably hot over the summer. Yay! :)