Friday, February 24, 2012

Sometimes, You Close the Door and Cry.

Sometimes, love hurts. And on days like today, it hurts a lot. 

One of my students is a bit of a late bloomer. She's been struggling since the beginning of the year, and I've been working with her individually every single day for the past three months to help her be a more successful academically. After all of the time, effort and data collection (that's always the hardest part, really...keeping track of everything I do), I had finally completed all the requirements to have her referred for extra pull-out support. I left work Tuesday on a high, excited that my little girl would finally be getting the support she needs. 

That was three days ago. Today, I got a phone call in the middle of class to let me know that my little girl, the one I'd been working with for so long, the one  I'd had to keep and report so much data on, the one I'd FINALLY gotten referred after all of the backflips and handstands I had to do to make it happen...that little girl was gone. 

Just like that. She left. 

It was all I could do to hold it together until I took them to music class. I was beyond distraught. So much time, so much energy, so much work, and now she's moved to another district. That means not only is she no longer in my class, but because she's not in the district anymore, they may not have or request access to her records. So her new teacher may just have to start from square one. Also, I don't think they have bilingual schools in her new district, so she'll be even more behind because of the language change. 

It's times like these where I wonder what it's like to work in a district where this kind of stuff doesn't happen constantly. A district where the class list you get in May stays exactly the same til the following May and kids' phone numbers always work and their addresses stay the same all year. I bet it's nice...

I held it together as long as I could, and then I just had to shut my door for a while. 

To those who know what it's like to work so hard for so long and have it all fall through your fingers in a day...stay strong. You are not alone. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Teaching comes in many forms, and for me, that means coaching in addition to my regular classroom time. I have a co-coach that works with me at group practice, and he's been gone for the past two weeks. It's been tough without him, but I'm managing.

Last year, we tried holding workshops where we'd take the large group, split it into two parts, and work with the kids separately. I tried doing it myself last week and it ended up being difficult to manage and less than successful. Determined to make it work, I adjusted my strategy today and made practice more interactive and engaging for everyone, and the team members who were excused early actually seemed sorry to leave! Better still, we were able to finish in less time than usual.

I was talking with my mom about how I was feeling quite efficient and productive after practice and how it was a big improvement on last week. She replied, ”You're really good at reflecting and adjusting.”

A high compliment for a teacher! After all, isn't that what we do every minute? We gauge how well our students are understanding and responding to what we are teaching them and we adapt accordingly. We reteach, demonstrate in greater detail, stop and do some jumping jacks, shift gears, simplify or increase challenge, add scaffolds and support. We are constantly taking the pulse of our class and making adjustments accordingly. To do it well is to do our best.

Thanks, Mom.