Five Lessons I Learned from Having "That" Class

Monday, June 8, 2015
   
     Let me give you a little background history on my school year. The year before,  when these kiddos were in 1st, I would hear the horror stories from my friends in first. We would go get several margaritas after school because 1. They need to loosen up after a stressful day 2. I just like margs! Then it was my turn. A typical day in class included at least 10 minutes of silent lunch for the whole class, a few kids in workroom for recess, a couple of kids taking home spelling words to write 10 times each, a dozen tattle tales from three students, constant redirection from me(interrupting my small groups), and maybe on those super lucky days all corners in my room filled with noses while everyone else had their heads down. Of course after all that, I would still get I <3 Mrs. Rigsby notes on my desk every day. I felt like I was so mean to them all day long, and they tested my patience from the time announcements started to the time the last one left for the day. Why did they even like me!?
     I did have some really great, perfect students in class that followed directions, paid attention, tried their best, didn't rush, didn't bug me to death, students who I will miss. Then there are the others. Oh the others... This was the most challenging year of my 3 years of teaching(I know you veteran teachers are just laughing by now!)
1. Classroom Management:
Boy oh boy did I get some amazing classroom management experience. Since I had some prior knowledge of this group, I brought back my clip chart in connection with Class Dojo. This way students had a constant visual of their behavior. Some days, I would forget to even use the clip chart because they would have been on black, and no that color doesn't even exist! I would print out page after page of extra math practice, the most boring I could find. I would send home spelling words to write 10 times each(some grades went up for this reason). Students would write apology letters to others whom they had wronged, over and over. With some, it never seemed to help.
This was me... all year long, but wouldn't you know it, waiting worked! Picking out one student to receive a prize really helped straighten the others up. Yes, I used my candy basket to my full advantage! As I am preparing for next year, I'm still hoping to retire the clip chart once again and be full on Class Dojo. I'm also revamping my procedures for the first week of school too. Maybe we need to take a little longer to practice those procedures before I think they've "got it." We'll see!
2. Big Red is a LIFE SAVER:
Big Red is the best drink in the world. For those of you who are thinking, "What is this magical drink?" It is the most sugary, caffeinated drink I have ever had. I don't drink coffee, I drink Big Red. 
If I have a Big Red before lunch, it's been a rough morning. The caffeine boost gives me a little more patience and energy to handle my class. It sure was a life saver for me and my kids this year. If I was getting a little too snappy toward my kiddos, I would send one down to the pop machine room (yes we are a super healthy school) to get one for me. Days like the day before Christmas break often started with a Big Red before kids even set foot through the door. The worst part was the kids knew it!! They could tell I was getting a little grouchy and would ask if they could go get me a Big Red! LOL 
3. Teachers need timeouts too:
When I have redirected the same student 10 times, when I have heard the same tattles over and over(and all of this in a 3 minute time span), when I have had enough: I step out into the hall for about 30 seconds and B R E A T H. This little time out works wonders. It gives me a chance to gather my thoughts, calm down, and prepare to go back in to the world of my classroom. Some days the third grade teachers would just laugh, but don't worry gals, they are all yours now! ;)
4. The "buggiest" ones are usually who need love the most
I had a few gals that always came in "sick." As soon as they stepped into the room, it was," I don't feel good Mrs. Rigsby." or they would have something to complain about or tell me about, each and every day. Throughout the year I discovered one helps take care of her baby sister though the night. Another has an unstable home life and the only stability she had was school. The other was mostly ignored at home because mom was too busy with her younger brothers. They weren't bugging me to be annoying, they were bugging me because they wanted to talk to someone who would actually listen. I would try my best to not be annoyed(or at least not act annoyed) and to actually turn around to face them, instead of keep working on whatever I was doing. 
5. Now I am ready for anything!
This group has taught me that I can handle all types of situations that could come my way. Student gets sick at the lunch table, I can handle that. Angry student pushes a desk over...pshh I got this! I feel fortunate that I got this semi crazy group early in my teaching career for a couple reasons. First of all because it can't be any worse...right?! And second because I am now prepared for whatever could come my way! I feel like I made great strides in my amount of patience, classroom management, and in my ability to notice when I need to take a deep breath and count to ten!  I cannot wait to see what next years group of second graders will teach me! 



2 comments:

  1. I have been teaching for about 15 years and I am convinced that it happens every 3 years!!! It seems about every 3 years I will get a rough and rowdy group that will just about take me down! Then the next two years will be smooth sailing. Before you know it that third year is up on you again! Of course this could all be in my imagination, but the teachers in my hall and I have had the discussion about the "Every 3 Year Curse"! ;))

    Jamie

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  2. I totally earned two years of smooth sailing after these guys! LOL That will prepare me for the dreaded 3rd year again. I'll be sure, in three years, to let you know if that is the " Every 3 Year Curse" is happening in Southern Indiana too! Thanks for stopping by!
    :)

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