Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Saturday. 7AM. And I've Been Out of Bed For an Hour...

Don't ask me why.  Well, wait.  I know why, but I'll get to that.  First, let the title sink in for a second.  I am out of bed and have been out of bed for a little over an hour on a Saturday morning - and it's only 7AM!  I don't remember the last time this happened since I've been working.  I'm just so exhausted on a Friday night that I can go to bed around 9 and sleep for a good twelve hours.  But today, I'm up.  Not just up, but rearing to go.

What.  The.  Freak?

If that's not strange enough for you, then let me now tell you that the minute I got home last night I pulled out books and notebooks and calendars and started working.  Ah-ha.  Friday night - the one night of week where I don't want to think about anything work related and I'm sitting on the couch piled up to my eyeballs in books.

What.  The.  Freak?  Again.

So, what's happened in a mere twenty four hours that has lit this sudden spark of determination and weird behaviors?  Well, I'm about to embark on a journey that I've been wanting to take since hearing the words "You're Hired!"

That journey?  Creating entire units and course work for my class. 

To most, I'm sure reading "creating entire units and course work" may set off thoughts of being a lot of work, being a hard task to take on, and maybe even a little intimidating.  And it is.  But, it really is something I've wanted to do for a long time...and believe in to really reach the students in my class.

Being a teacher, you understand that there really isn't a "one size fits all" mentality.  Each child has different needs, different learning styles, different backgrounds and interests.  These all come in to play when deciding the best approach with teaching.

I work with two teachers who are complete professionals.  They've been there and done that for about every learning situation there is.  I admire their abilities to recognize strengths and weaknesses from the get-go and adapt their teaching styles - and they do all of that with teaching the same content.  OK, rereading that sounded a little confusing.  Let me explain...

The two teachers I work with on my team are amazing.  They really are.  I know I wouldn't have gotten through these past couple of months with all my hair still in tact without them.  They have a system that they have both created for teaching.  They have the same resources.  They use the same schedules and lessons.  To watch them while they plan and work together is something quite remarkable.  Regardless of what students walk through their door, they are able to adapt slightly with the same resources and lessons previously created and get the job done.

I tried with all my might to mesh and fall in to place with their system.  But, after weeks of agony and frustration and being at my wit's end I realized I just can't do it.  Maybe it's my lack of experience.  Maybe it's the differences in schooling that I received.  Maybe it's because I'm such a control freak that it's impossible for me to slide right in to a system that's already in place without having any real say of how the system works.  And, yes, I know you are all probably agreeing on which of those options it is - but it really comes down to a mixture of the three.  Seriously.  It does.  All three, not just the last one.

So, after a lot of venting and frustration I came up with the idea to create my own lessons and ways for teaching the content that needs to be covered.  It means swaying away completely from what's happening in their classrooms.  It means putting the textbooks back in to their spots on my shelf.  It means starting from a completely blank slate and putting in many hours to come up with a curriculum approach that works with my teaching style and the needs of the students.  And it means a lot of work, planning, digging for resources... all of the stuff I actually LOVE doing.

I'll admit, I was so nervous to make the suggestion to my team.  I didn't want to be a teacher that walked in and started shooting off my mouth about the way things should be done or giving them the opinion that I didn't like the way they did things.  In fact, it couldn't be further away from the truth.  I wanted to fit in with what they were doing.  I envy their abilities to teach the way that they do.  And, maybe one day I will be able to teach that way.  I hope that for myself.  They are amazing teachers...and I love both of them.  I will be honored if, after several years of teaching, I am at the caliber of experience they both have.

But, right now, I have to come up with a way to do my own thing.  And I am so thankful that they are so supportive of my ideas and plans. 

Today, I am beginning the journey to create my own units of study.  Just for reading.  Thankfully, every other subject is working just fine.  That dwindles down the amount of work that I have to do.  But, reading is a biggie.  It's the foundation of all the other learning.  If my kids don't know how to read, how are they able to do anything else?  And that's my fuel for this journey. 

I don't expect my frustrations to disappear over night.  There will be some adjustments that need to take place.  There will need to be some changing and reevaluating.  But, I am so excited.  I am ready to take on this's all I've thought about since leaving school yesterday afternoon.  Hence getting up at 6:15 this morning.  I am rearing to go. 

And go I will.  For now.


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