Monday, April 02, 2007

A good day of teaching...

Is worth only about 3 bad ones, but still... (hey that's more positive than I've been about teaching in a while - so take it or leave it!).

Today I was grading papers (that huge backlog that I got from being out sick on Friday - yeah, fun), and I came across one from this girl who, well, she really struggles to write well. She had an arrow at the bottom of the paper, saying "Please turn over Mrs. Kieras." So I did, thinking she'd just written the rest of her open-ended question response on the back. Instead, I found this cute little note saying, "Dear Mrs. Kieras. Thanks for having us read The Outsiders. I would never have read this book if you didn't have us read it, but I learned so much from it. I'm really glad you had us read this book."

Awwwwww. That was SO touching! I mean, WHEN, just WHEN does a student THANK You for teaching them something!? Well, for me, this was a first in my 3 years so.... I was so touched. (especially since I just last week had to give her a stern talking to about her work ethic! That made the day even brighter that she didn't hold it against me).

Today was also good, because I had to give a lesson on "what to do during a lesson." I kid you not. The students laughed when I said that, but... they really needed a reset with what I expect during class... things like sitting up, focusing up front, etc. They were getting a little sloppy so... they were actually VERY receptive to what I had to say, and I for once managed to say it in "love," Not frustration. I hope that tomorrow, they remember what I said. :)

Another good thing today, was the sub from Friday left me a nice note thanking me for how organized I was, saying it made her day easy and the classes a joy to teach. And then today she told me that she could tell "you're really structured, because all your classes were so good and the kids knew exactly what to do." WOW, I was SOOOO psyched to hear that. Last year I used to come back to TERRIBLE reports from the subs - it was such a relief to see the kids really behaving and doing what they know I expect! YAY!

To top it ALL off, the cherry on top of the day, we had a productive staff meeting. We had to watch a video of a teacher (one with a grating personality and poor skills) and then grade him. Then we discussed the grades (which ranged from A's to F's!) and talk about why we were all over the board. I LOVED it - I think our school needs to do more activities like that and have "courageous conversations" about what makes good teaching and hold each other accountable for quality teaching in our classrooms. I think the atmosphere at our school is too negative and too lax - with the talent at our school, we could all be doing better and contribute positive feelings to the environment (and I am the FIRST who needs to be more positive!). So... it was really amazing to have a staff meeting where I felt like I had to articulate and define my standards as a teacher to the rest of the staff. I felt like I grew a little bit today.

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