Monday, February 16, 2009

When the going gets tough, teachers get tougher.

This is the longest stretch in the year for teachers and students alike. From January until early April, we have no meaningful breaks. The weather stinks. It's either indoor recess for bitter cold or damp and mucky playground because it's too warm. Behavior takes a downturn and gets worse, not better, until spring is in the air for real. First semester report cards go home, March parent-teacher conferences happen, and all is not well with the world.
I dread Monday mornings. I learned not to expect my class to have a successful Silent Sustained Reading on Monday mornings - for a number of reasons. My class usually learns keyboarding in the computer lab on Monday mornings, but that's getting less and less successful, too. Last week the time that should have been 30 minutes of keyboarding ended up being less than 15, with me spending most of that time straightening out keyboard covers so they couldn't cheat and redirecting kids who were distracted....over and over and over.
I reached for my goal word for the year and took action.
We will no longer go to the lab on Mondays. I will keep that time reserved for my class, but we won't go back until they earn it. They need to learn keyboarding, it's in our curriculum, but not on Monday mornings. I've added a lab time midweek when their attention is usually better focused.
I predict a bit of shock on their parts. I hope for a little positive peer pressure from those who do behave well. If they refuse to pay attention to those misbehaving, it may help. When they can successfully complete a Monday morning keyboarding session, the reward will be Monday morning Free Time in the lab.
It'll take a while, but at least I feel like I've taken action.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Earth Muffin said...

That's the way we roll! I've been there myself, actually I'm in the trenches of that right now. It's difficult, but worth it in the long run. Good luck!

2/16/2009 9:29 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, the midyear slump. Good luck getting over it.

2/16/2009 9:30 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Sounds like a great plan and a smart teacher who knows when and how to shift gears when the situation calls for it!!

2/16/2009 9:31 AM  
Blogger Lisa Sharp said...

You won an award on my blog. :)

2/16/2009 9:48 AM  
Blogger Margaret Cloud said...

Maybe switching will help all the way around, it must be tough being a teacher now a days. Hope your weekend is going great.

2/16/2009 1:31 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

Oh my dear - I know how hard it all is! At least we get spring break at the college level - in March. Personally, I think February is the cruelest month.

2/16/2009 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Kristin T. (@kt_writes) said...

I love having this peek into a teacher's world, even if it's not a very fun world for you right now. :) In spite of the parent-teacher conferences we had last week, I still feel like there's often such a disconnect between home and school. It's nice to know that teachers are dealing with seasonal moods that somewhat mirror the challenges we face at home. (My fifth grader has been bouncing off the walls lately. Spring won't arrive soon enough!)

2/16/2009 10:43 PM  
Blogger Angelina said...

What's weird is it feels like my kid keeps getting days off for Presidents and inschool teacher days.

I could never be a teacher because I have no patience but thank god you do!

You sound like a great one too.

2/18/2009 9:28 PM  

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