My job is so rewarding when something super challenging is presented and my kids actually begin to understand it when I give them a variety of strategies.
We're learning to count on with change (dimes, 1 nickel, and up to 4 pennies), and it's really tough. There's a lot of math involved, and these kids don't exactly have a lot of help at home, and because of what I'm doing, they're getting it! I'm actually quite proud.
I look at other classrooms and other teachers, and I think to myself, "If you would just have a firmer hand and a better management of your time, you wouldn't have so many problems, nor would you have to stay late, come in early, or come in on the weekends." Being a teacher is my job, but it isn't my entire life.
I get so irritated watching someone flit around, not letting students work and be independent. How are you supposed to teach them to do things for themselves, when you won't let them! I sit sit quietly as my kids sit quietly, each absorbed in what they're doing. Then someone flits by, walking endless laps around them, distracting them by stopping to help when no help is needed. The other class is loud, and doesn't listen to the other teacher...it's very frustrating. I can't pull small groups, because I am constantly having to ask the other class to get back to work. So, instead of being able to help those who need it at that time, I'm forced to just set a good example by working quietly, getting up to help my students when needed (when they raise their hands), and ignore the fact that my classroom management skills are being ignored.
My kids know exactly what they're supposed to do, and if they need help, they know to raise their hands and I will come to them. Stopping them from working to tell them how to do something they already know how to do is just going to make them dependent on someone to tell them the answers. How is that preparing them for life outside first grade?
Stop coddling the students and make them do some real work.
In other news, I made my students their own journals, and we started that today. It's a tough concept for some of them, but 30 minutes at the end of the day where they are just writing and drawing about a topic of my choice is actually really peaceful. It sets a nice tone for the end of the afternoon, and was relaxing for me. I played some classical music while they worked, and most really enjoyed it.