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.