For years I have been a lurcher in the shadow of the open internet. I have been able to agree with a blogger with smile or exit a page in disgust basically unnoticed. I never imagined I would attempt to put myself out there, bare, unguarded, completely vulnerable.
Well today I step out of the shadows and jump in trembling with excitement or possible severe fear! So this is my very first attempt to blog so please be kind. I have been sitting here thinking about all the possible things I can write about. I have several avenues to reflect on. Ideas and thoughts of concern, excitement, disbelief, motivation, realization and hope. So which is the direction? Well, indecisive as I am I will just start writing and see where it takes me.
I guess I should start with who I am... I am a teacher of first graders. I am a mother of a son, a daughter, and a dog who believes he is a cat that I accept as a child. If you followed that you must suffer from the same creative thinking I do. Last but not least, I am the wife of the smartest man I have ever known and I really mean that.
My week started the normal Monday, busy and crazy, but also had some high points. As I often do, I had lesson plans nice and tidy ready to go. There were objectives posted and the room was clean, desks were wiped down. Every Monday is a new start for me. I was a weight watcher for years and I would weigh in on Monday, that was always like my reset point. So I guess the thing I think about is the need for the reset is vital. If you don't reset your habits you will continue to get the same product. I guess if your product is perfect then you don't need to worry, I have yet to reach anything close to perfection.
Monday was Columbus Day. So we started by reading about Christopher Columbus. As I got started with my real aloud I looked around to see 25 pairs of eyeball looking uninterested and disconnected. At this point there was a choice: continue reading and push through, or close the book and insert a real life application. So I jumped in and started with an application lesson. We looked around the room. " Imagine that you are locked in and not able to leave.” I told them. Even better, “ We started school on August 19, and today is October 12. That means if you were Christopher Columbus you would have been on your boat sailing that whole time. or in our classroom the whole time . What are we missing in here?"
Well the conversation got pretty silly from then on. First they decided we would starve to death, then they realized there was no refrigerator. After that the restroom situation and lack of shower facilities. It was a powerful conversation, they were engaged, smiling, being silly for a second... Well they are 6. I was having fun and they were having fun and they will remember not that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, but that a long sea travel 600 years ago would have been unpleasant, hard, gross, and most importantly if you got hungry there was no McDonald's to go to. Had I just stuck with the perfectly fine, perfectly factual, perfectly normal read aloud, I would have missed the opportunity to share a real world connection with history. After we had our crazy chat we went back to the book. This time as we read facts they were attentive, excited and wide eyed! That is how I love my little firsties to look.
Had I stuck to the tidy lesson plan I would have robbed my students of a truly authentic learning moment. The lesson learned! Teach where you can connect and be real. Days like this happen often, I do not go back to my lesson plan book and rewrite my plans, mostly because I can not get 2 seconds at this point in the year. There may be another reason though; maybe I would look ineffective or unorganized to anyone looking at my plans.
I didn’t really have an idea where I was going with this. Perhaps I just needed to write this so I could see for myself how much more important it is to be flexible, gauge my audience, and look for active engagement.
Do you have these moments? I am so afraid I will look like I don’t know what I am doing. Do I dwell alone in the world of "am I good enough?" At the end of each day I just want to know I did all I could to make a difference. Sometimes to make that difference I may need to allow my teaching to be interrupted.