Saturday, September 18, 2010

The ones that stayed behind and my new outlook

I went to happy hour with some my former colleagues from my old school. It was great to hear about the students and how everyone was doing. I realized as we were all reminiscing and sharing about the school that I am in a completely different world at my new school. I felt bad sharing when they asked me how things are because it's just not fair. They received the news shortly after school started that the principal was leaving. That makes 3 administrators in 4 years (not counting the string of APs who have come and gone). They weren't happy or sad about it because, while they were dissatisfied with the principal, we all were, they don't know what to expect. My new school is in a district where principals have historically retired from their positions after many years of service. One less thing to worry about.

My first grade colleagues at my old school shared with me that they are dealing with class sizes of 30+ with rosters still not finalized. My roster was finalized in early August and almost everyone showed up on the first day. I have not even had a child arrive late yet. They began sharing about the behavior of children, peeing on purpose all over the rug to spite the teacher, choking other students during recess, cursing out adults, etc. At my new school, I have the best behaved class of my entire career. I was setting up the play centers and realized we didn't have enough blocks for the 8 children who had chosen that center on Friday (I had planned to have 2 separate block areas). They all wanted to play together so I allowed them to just to see what would happen. They played so nicely together, sharing, talking, and interacting. They even cleaned up as a team. I also haven't received a single complaint from my VERY capable and loving school aide.

I have this feeling that this blog might take on a new tone this year. I have always wanted to do research in my classroom and have engaged mostly informally in conducting research over the years. This year, I feel like this huge weight has been lifted and I can actually focus on my instruction. My first goal is to assess my students for their language levels. Since I am teaching in a sheltered immersion ESL class this year I want to find out the levels of all my students, those classified as ELLs and those who have passed the LAB-R. From there, I want to make goals for them (both language and academic), and work on creating a model of intervention and enrichment in my class with a focus on language. I'm so excited!

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