Before my co-teacher left for the rewards trip she told me, "Godspeed."
I chuckle now to think of it, as I did earlier when I finally sat down to eat my steak and bean salad in the middle of my crazy-busy day. While I wasn't having an awful day-- thankfully, at this point of the year I know my students and what "teaching" in mid-June requires-- I was tested and tried. If I hadn't expected most elements of my day, I would have had a terrible day. The students were overly-talkative, dramatic, slacking, some slightly rude, one straight belligerent, and a few threw things like paper! I emphasive "threw" because few things are as disrespectful as talking while the teacher is talking or a classmate is sharing his work, and throwing is one of those things. To me, throwing is disrespectful to the classroom environment and all in it.
I don't know how many times I have to tell children that I really do see everything. I just pick and choose what I acknowledge. I digress.
So there I was staring at my lunch, wishing I had also packed a piece of brownie instead of or in addition to my apple, and thinking of "Godspeed." If I hadn't prepared myself in all senses of the word, I would have been done for it. I wore something I feel good in-- a bright, cheery outfit with lots of bangles and two fun rings-- and I wrote an engaging lesson complete with two full *RAFTs AND an extension just in case. I said my affirmations in the school building, not just before leaving my apartment, and I put a smile on my face and vowed to keep it there unless...
As I mentioned, I was tried. I did raise my voice, but then I bought it back down. I took it easy while addressing what really mattered. I waited for silence, or close enough to silence and I held the paper-throwers accountable. I also pulled one of my self-contained moves and displaced a student. I took "her" seat, the one she thought she would still sit in after I told her where she was supposed to sit. She threatened to walk out, was coaxed back in by an adult in the hall, and there I was in "her" seat. I then proceeded to pull the two students she was engaging in off-task behavior, on task.
In between it all, I taught an interesting lesson-- using knowledge of body language to analyze two Def Jam poetry slams-- and I realized that sixth grade is teaching middle school and kindergarten all in one.
*note: RAFT is the paragraph formula we use, and another way to make sure students take their time with their writing. In my case, it bought me time to settle them down and gave those settled something to do. Again,
"teaching" in mid-June.