Sunday, March 4, 2012

Penny for your thoughts...

 Does anyone ever ask you why you have to do so much work for your class since you “just do the same things every year”?  I get this question from time to time and it’s almost impossible to explain. I hope I’m not alone in this. 

     The best explanation I can give to myself and others is that every year is different.  If not for the changes in state and county requirements (***insert big sigh here***) then it’s the children. Every year brings with it a new unique bunch with their own quirks and skills.
     I wasn't always a teacher, at one time I did the Monday Friday 9-5 thing and I was miserable. I knew in the pit of my stomach I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do and I wasn’t where I was meant to be. Thankfully, I figured it out and I’m now proud to call myself a first grade teacher.  

You would think now that I’m 4 years into this that I would just pull out what I did last year and be done Ha! Yeah right!
It’s just not that simple.  Each class brings new challenges and new joys. Right now the challenge I’m facing with my current class is honesty issues.  I have a handful that consistently lie to me about mostly meaningless things.  I’m not sure why this is happening and this is a new problem for me.  My classroom atmosphere is based on the feeling that we are a family and we are to respect and take care of one another. This break in trust is taking its toll on the entire class...I continue to wonder what I have done differently this year that may have caused this.

     This is what has me reflecting on why each year is different and why what worked last year doesn’t always work this year.
What I think it comes down to, is my students are real people with real emotions, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses.  They will face challenges this year that they will need my help to overcome.  It is my job as their teacher to figure out how to meet them where they are.  If I rely on what worked once without stopping to ask myself if it’s still working, then I’m no longer teaching and my students are no longer learning.    


  1. Reminds me of this post a friend just put on myfacebook...

    Thiats what we should hear all the time!

    Sorry for not linking it... Copy and paste... So fun!

  2. Completely reasonable - Also, we learn things every year and come up with better ideas. If we never learned anything, than our experience would be a big waste of time. It's just not the kind of job that every year is the same. People outside of the classroom can't really picture it, I think.

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  3. My husband asks me that ALL the time! He is always wondering why I spend SO much time planning and creating, when I taught the same thing last year, and the 4 years before that! It's hard to explain to non-teachers. I haven't used the same plan once so far. My curriculum is mostly to blame. In our district we adopt new programs too often. Everything is new every year!

    First Grade Brain Sprinkles

  4. Every class sure does have their own personality don't they? What's an issue for one could very well never be a problem for another. It's one of the things that makes teacher both challenging and rewarding. I know there will never come a day when I've arrived and know it all.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  5. Also it's just plain fun to shake it up a bit from year to year :)

    Grade ONEderful

  6. I have been teaching the same grade for 8 years and there are days were I feel like a first year teacher all over again. My husband also wonders why I spend hours 'planning'. The answer: each year is different, each class is different. Whatever worked for one, certainly does not work for the class right after. I evaluate myself each and every day and doing the same things every year sounds plain boring and not good enough for me or my students.
    Don't be hard on yourself. Asking yourself these questions only prove that you care that mouch about your kids :)

  7. Ugh, yes I have heard that question! I will say that teaching the same grade for 10 years has made life easier, since I have more materials available to fall back on. But yes, each class is different! And teachers who aren't learning and improving each year kind of worry me, to be honest.

  8. Besides the kids, state requirements, district mandates, schedule, curriculum, staff members, responsibilities and basic objectives changing...{wait, there's more?!}'s just laziness to do the same thing year after year. I did it once when I was contemplating leaving teaching to do something else. And it was my least favorite year. It is NO fun to do the same activities, especially when you know they aren't all that great or the kids don't really love them! We build on student interest and experience. Unless all of the kids are the same - or we have no intention of improving ourselves - there's just no option to rely on what we did once. Thanks for sharing...we're all right there with you! :)

    P.S. I gave you an award. Hope you'll check it out!

    Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

  9. We get this a lot too! But things are constantly changing - especially our kiddos! Each year is completely different and for that, it takes a lot of planning. Oh, and we absolutely love your blog so... we nominated you for an award. Come on over to our blog to check it out!

    ~Katie and Rebecca
    First Grade ABCs

  10. I feel the exact same way. Some days I feel like I need to just stop doing what I have planned to do because the kids just aren't getting it and then pull out something new!

    Love your blog site....

  11. Randi,

    I love following your blog and reading your sweet posts. I started using some of Ron Clark's "essentials" that I found here from Hope King:

    I have them blown up and laminated and hanging in the front of my classroom.

    #10 sounds like it would be good for your class: "No matter what the circumstances, always be honest. Even if you have done something wrong, it is best to admit it to me, because I will respect that, and oftentimes I will forget any disciplinary measures because of your honesty."

    Also, I nominated you for an award! Come check it out at my blog!

    Lessons with Laughter

  12. I agree. My hubby doesn't understand and it gets very frustrating trying to explain.

    I gave you an award. Please come on over and check it out.


  13. I have a Top 10 Award for you! Come on over and check it out!
     Chrissy

    First Grade Found Me

  14. Randi, I agree with Kristin. Every year, I do a different theme, try new things, re-arrange my classroom, add new things, etc. It gives ME something to get excited about, and we are excited so are the kids. I think this helps us to be our best too. I can't imagine doing the same things over and over again year after year. I don't think you would be effective.
    Maybe your guidance councelor could do some character ed. lessons? Or you could choose a student of the week and choose students who are showing exemplary behaviors.
    By the way, it was the same Erie, PA where my husband was hospitalized. Where are you from? We live down around Bradford,PA.
    Thanks for your comments on my blog. He is progressing a little each day.
    Farming the First Grade Crop

  15. I love this post. I'm a pre-service teacher and so I have never been asked this question BUT I think I am witnessing a teacher suffering from burn out and it's heart breaking to watch. This is a post I will most likely return to to reinvigorate myself when I am fully certified. :)

  16. We can always do something "better" and we push ourselves to be the best for our kids! And everything education is always changing! :) btw happy to meer another RandI :)



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