Okay, I’m not being morbid or prophetic. I’m a teacher. The end? The end of my 23rd year as a 3rd grade teacher. With the end of every school year, I ponder. I ponder the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the things to continue, and the things to change. I ponder….
Let’s tackle the bad….
The main “bad” would be negative choices by students and bad habits of mine. What bad habit? We could do the unimportant one of keeping an untidy teacher corner. Honestly, “untidy” is an understatement. My “teacher corner” has become a running joke….as it’s only clean/organized for the first few weeks of school. Then….life happens. The bigger would be struggles some of my kiddos have with self-control. However, with this bad comes its own good. How could that be good? Well, my boys who struggle the most will also say, “But Miss Pflaumer loves us anyway, even when we have bad days and make disrespectful choices.” So….they know my love for them is unconditional even though my expectations are high.
The ugly? One word. TESTING! Due to teacher evaluations, we must start and end the year with a quick 10-question test. This test, however, will impact my final evaluation…whether I’ll be considered effective or highly effective. Then, there’s our building’s “new” DOK 9-week indicator assessments. There’s one for language arts and one for math. Each one takes either a full math class or most of a language arts’ block. Then, we have to insert + or – in a table to show mastery of the DOKs for each indicator. Now, those are just the teacher-made-test-mandates. We can’t forget NWEA which we take in reading, language, and math at the beginning of the year and in the winter. Finally, as third graders, we spend a week taking the I-READ test which Indiana says third graders must pass to move on to 4th grade (or at least 4th grade language arts instruction). If a student has an IEP or is ESL then they may be “waived” to the next grade. If not…even if the teacher KNOWS they can read and understand and just don’t test well or focus well….sorry about your luck. Lastly, there’s the ILEARN test which took the place of ISTEP. Now, ISTEP took a part of two weeks twice a year…before spring break and in April This test is supposedly smaller, but it didn’t seem to be based on time “served”. We’ve made it to the final SLO test…then…I think this UGLY beast will be behind us.
Now that the stormy part is over let’s look at the rainbows….
The student who struggles with several academic areas but is close to becoming one of our spelling bee representatives.
The excitement of my students when they made commercials for their chapter book using Adobe Spark.
The extra recesses earned by Dojo points where I play 4-square with at least half of my class… impressing them with my skills and entertaining them with my antics.
The eagerness of starting a new “rock n read” book or the regret of ending it.
The laughs….the hugs….the jokes…the aha moments and the woohoos too.
I need to focus on the positive more than the negative. I need to try (once again) to keep my corner a bit more organized. I want to keep my class Facebook updated more frequently and incorporate Class Dojo Portfolio more regularly.
Teach with joy. See my students as blessings, even on their bad days and my bad days. Remember that no matter what happened today…tomorrow is a new day and a second chance. We all need a second chance, don’t we?