Sunday, July 24, 2016

Squirrel!

On my very first day of teaching, I had a grade 5 class with 17 students.  This class would eventually almost double, but on that day, I was extremely nervous, I didn't know what to expect.  Nothing can prepare you for your first day of teaching.  The classroom was fairly big, with a long set of windows across the back of the room.  I put all the desks in u-shape, so the students could see each other, talk and discuss.

On that day I went in with high hopes, uncertainty and a pit of nerves in my stomach.  They went away quickly though, because as we were discussing classroom rules, a squirrel ran across the window sill.  Every, and I do mean EVERY, student stopped what they were doing, whipped their heads around and watched the squirrel scurry across the window, then we all looked at eachother and laughed.  I learned an important lesson that day, not even two periods into the school year on my very first day of teaching: distractions come easy in the classroom.

This is true for daily teacher duties as well. I often find I move from one thing to another quickly, I have to take notes to remember important events, ideas, and whats going on with the students.  Next week is the unofficial middle of summer, its all gone so fast.  After taking the previous 9 months off for maternity leave, I'm returning to a new school, a new grade, and a new atmosphere.  It's exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same time.  

Distractions aren't all bad.  They can be big or small, they can feel like nothing or everything, a small pebble or a weight on your shoulders.  Sometimes though, distractions can bring on new ideas, new revelations, a new outlook.  I'm starting to feel all the distractions creeping up on me considering my own planning and my professional learning.  These are good distractions though, my interests are growing.  Time is passing and I'm worried I can't fit it all in.  

In particular, I'm questioning how to create an inquiry based atmosphere while covering the grade 2 curriculum and how am I going to handle all the little distractions that come out (especially when you aren't following specific unit and lesson plans).  Other interests I have include: coding, makerspace, self regulation, character trait development, french language phonemic development. I could keep going. 

There are many distractions coming up on a personal level and I will relish in these to take time with my family as summer bids us adieu (Im not wishing it away, just realizing how fast time is going). I will remember that sometimes we need to watch the distractions, stop and laugh (or reflect) as we did on my first day.

How do you handle your distractions, the little and the big ones?

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