Teacher’s Diary: The first three weeks
It’s July 25, 2016. It is the start of a new school year. I have taken a fifth grade position at a brand new school in Phoenix, AZ. I have been in trainings and meetings for this new school district for the last week. Am I prepared for what is in store for me yet?
I have just completed my first three weeks at a new school. So, far the experience has been a great one. I think I may be actually getting a grip on myself in this role. I feel like I am finally getting the hang of teaching and protecting students and showing them love and kindness as well as a firm belief. I guess sometimes it takes a while to find your place. Man, I hope I’ve found it.
The First week of the school year started on a Wednesday. We were actually told not to begin any academics that week due to the fact that it was a short week. Plus, we wanted the students to get comfortable in the classroom. This means that we did a lot of “Get to know you” activities where the students answer questionnaires, and participate in activities that involve being out your seat and meeting the strangers around you.
One the First day of school I wore a red cape that the librarian loaned me and a multicolored mask that I created with the school staff the week prior. It seemed that one action helped make the students feel more comfortable as they entered into the new school. Students would walk in with a shocked look in their face, unsure if they were in the right room. Parents probably questioned my teaching credentials, yet they were also very amused by the uncommon ice breaker.
I spent the first three days just explaining and going over routines, procedures, and expectations. I also took the opportunity to get to know the students and allow the students’ time to get to know each other, due to the fact that this is a brand new facility.
The students are beginning to break out of their shells; slowly, but surely. They are beginning to talk more; many are beginning to test the rules and the teacher’s responses. Obviously I expected this behavior sooner than later. Anytime you put new people in a new environment there will be some individuals that are looking to find the boundaries and try to push them to their furthest extent.
We, as in the fifth grade team, started creating lesson plans as well. Up until this point any academic movement in the classroom was at the hands of the individual teacher. Personally, I was only working on review materials from fourth grade to ease the students into the work expectations and the amount of work that we would be doing.
On Thursday night I stayed with my team and worked on a folder for a substitute as well as lesson plans for the next week. We were there until eight pm! The substitute folder was meant to go to the office for just such an incident where the teacher was absent and unable to prepare for the substitute. The lesson plans also took a long time due to the fact that the format that we were using was new to us and we had to learn it in order to properly use it.
Everyday I begin the morning with preparing for the students: I print out and copy paper and set up power points and set up our points chart. I also pray for myself and the students before they show up. Setting up this routine is going to be critical to the success of this school year. If I slack in the area of preparation and prayer than my school year will be so much more difficult that it should be. (Believe me, I know.) I pray for the class because I want to students to be impacted in more than just an academic way. I want them to realize that they are loved and cared for and that they are important to me, the parents, and most importantly God.
It was a pretty average week; the students tested limits, looking for an accurate response from the teacher while some students were given classroom jobs and tasks to perform, nothing special. We finally began diving into the academic aspect of the classroom and I must say it has been a success.
On Wednesday of this week a student came up to me and asked if she could write one the board. I automatically said, “No.”
She asked again.
I said, “No.”
She quickly explained that it was something for me. So, of course I said, “Yes.”
“Mr. G, you are the best teacher. Keep on teaching, please.” The board read as I starred at it at the end of the day.
It felt great! We hadn’t been in school long, but it’s good to know that I’m helping a student learn. It felt great to be in an atmosphere where students value their teachers and have respect for them. It felt great to have that beginning feeling of belonging.
My motivation is to work harder. My motivation is to try more. My motivation is to keep a smile on my face and also to put a smile on theirs.
LET’S KEEP ROCKING!
Anthony K. Giesick
Actions are taken everyday that help make this world better and I just want to share them with you.