Saturday, April 28, 2012

all done..

It's almost May, and you all KNOW what that means, don't you?

What? you don't?

Well, it is the official time of year when all of the teachers' brains officially turn to mush, and all of the students  get hyper.  It's the reverse energy principle.

They have officially sucked all of the life out of our brains and bodies and transferred into their feet and hormones.  It's pretty special.

Forseeing this casualty happening (because I'm smart like that), I decided that in February that I would no longer be available to teach at my little school after April 25th.

Yes, I know. I know.  Not fair.  But I gave them plenty of warning, and the Lord has provided a fabulous replacement--someone who actually TEACHES English, not just "life skills" like I was doing this year.

Sure, I taught a little bit of English, but that wasn't my greatest accomplishment.

Other than "survival", my other accomplishment has been teaching the students how to interact with each other and make friends--true friends.

When I first started, there were two students who fought so much that they couldn't even be left in the bathroom together for fear they would beat each other up.  I broke up a fight on the first day of my teaching career.

Although it wasn't my explicit goal to get them to be friends, it just happened naturally.  I just expected them to respect each other and be kind to each other.  We did group projects. They wrote stories together. We had Monday-morning talk time.  We just learned to interact like a family.  I brought them food, and they ate it.  Every day, they would hide in different places of the classroom, and I would "find" them.  And then I would give them an orange or some other treat.

They went on and on and on about every detail of their weekends.  And then we had more food.

By Tuesday, we started English, but there was always room for a story or them to talk randomly about whatever they wanted.

Crazy? absolutely.

Nontraditional?  extremely.

Successful? hugely.. depending on what your goals are.

To tell you the truth, I can say that I had the hardest time defining my goals as a teacher this year.  How do you teach independent clauses when half of the students are troubled and hungry? I couldn't. and didn't.

So, I did what I would do if I were homeschooling them.

 At home, if a child wakes up all tired and grumpy, I made them go back to bed.
At the school, I just had them lay on the floor with a blanket and be quiet.

At home, if a child is having a fight with his brother, I make them work it out and ask forgiveness before going on.
At school, I did the same.

At home, if a child is hungry, I had them eat something before trying to learn something.
At school, I just brought the food and fed them.

At home, when a child is not working to his potential, I let them know and tell Daddy.
At school, I try to understand the child's circumstances and figure out what is actually wrong and talk to the parents and administrator.

At home, when a child is not understanding the material, I look for ways to help them understand it or find someone who can explain it better than I can.

At school, it's the same thing. Only this--I may have to really change my lesson plans and expectations to fit around their level of learning.  I want them to find the sweet spot of actually learning something and not getting overwhelmed because the material is too hard..

So, that, in a nutshell, is what I have done.  And I am done with my teaching career.  I will probably end up tutoring some of the kids next year, but I am not going to take on formal teaching, grading and classroom stuff.

I am going back to being a homeschooling, knitting mommy.

I have the desire to put together a little book with their writings that they've done for me, but I am done for the year.

And YES, I am glad I did it.  But it's time to get caught up with my house, my family, my life here.  And next year, I am (even) taking a break from teaching at the homeschool co-op.  Hoping for a sweet recovery year where I sit with my knitting and visit with the other moms at Hallstrom.  Hoping to resist the temptation to "do something" while I'm there...  We'll see how THAT goes!


Anonymous said...

Good for you!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Should we hold you accountable to take a year off from teaching? (Other than teaching your own kids, I mean.) I want to see photographic proof of you sitting and knitting with the Halstrom moms :D


Mrs. Parunak said...

Congratulations on a job well done! It sounds like you gave those kids just what they needed.

Bernadette Veenstra said...

Such a great teacher. You are very insightful. And, you probably accomplished much more by dealing with the issues first, than by "pushing" through.

Organizing Mommy said...

Oh Julie! You know me TOO well. How am I going to make it through an entire year of not teaching?? Yes, I will put up pictures. LOL.

On another note--I was able to interact with my homeschool mommy friends at the play and I realize how much I miss them!

WOW Gold said...

Such a abundant teacher. You are actual insightful. And, you apparently able abundant added by ambidextrous with the issues first, than by "pushing" through.