At the end of the day, when the final lesson plans are scribbled and the materials are pulled together for tomorrow's day, I have to sit back and contemplate a very important question:
What did I do today that will make a difference tomorrow?
Without this moment of reflection, I am likely to breathe in slowly, close my plan book, and leave for home still spent from the day's challenges. I'll feel more drained, possibly even mistreated, or worse, ineffective. I'll hear again and again the curses, the whining and complaining, the moments of dispair and retreat.
But when I focus on the good in my day, I am reminded why I do what I do, and for whom I am focused.
Today, Tuesday, the day after our President's Day holiday, I....
Strengthened my rep as a person worthy of my students' trust: When first grader Belle came into the classroom this morning in tears, scared about getting in trouble at home and with the principal because she brought a (broken) cell phone to school, I arraigned to be able to get down to the office and get all the details. I was able to get a colleague to cover the class, find an administrator, figure out the facts of the situation, and come back to Belle and help her understand the problem and the consequences. By attending to her worries as soon as possible, I probably held off a major tantrum, lots of anxiety, and loss of learning time. Moreover, I reinforced to Belle how really important she is to us. She is closer to knowing for sure that we will do all we can to help her understand, make a plan for improvement, and accept her consequences.
Used information from an informal assessment to plan and teach a strong lesson on number patterns on a 100 chart: I noticed last week that Belle and Mike had big time trouble really understanding the value of double digit numbers to 100; the numbers in sequence appear random rather than part of a pattern. I pulled some supplementary materials, talked to a colleague, and came up with a set of fun activities to help these two really get a handle on that all important "number sense". That feels good.
Held 3 reading conferences using phonics based, research proven materials: With the support of the LD teacher, I have been using a series of leveled mini books for guided reading and reading conferences. For 3 of my kids today, these books and the individual time I was able to give them made a difference in their skill levels and their confidence levels. I closed the folder at the end of the conferences feeling wonderful! Moreover,the kids felt like readers!!!
So tomorrow, at days' end, no matter my schedule or my after school obligations, I will again take that quiet minute to identify the best parts of my day.
It keeps me coming back.