I've now been a grade 3/4 teacher for a little over a week, and I'm starting to feel like I'm getting back into the groove of things.
It's neat coming back as a 2nd year teacher because at this time last year I was frantic, frazzled, and STRESSED. This year, I'm still stressed (as any teacher probably is at the beginning of the year), but I also feel kind of confident. I've been through this before. I got this. (I think!)
Last year I was teaching 2nd grade in Columbus, OH. This year I am teaching a 3/4 split in San Mateo, CA. A little different? Yes. Challenging? Yes. Exciting? Also yes.
Since I'm at a privately run school that works with students needing extra support regulating and deescalating their behaviors, the class sizes are much smaller. My current class size sits at 8 students. If you're a public school teacher, I know you're looking at that number thinking about what a dream I am living. And I am... to a certain extent.
The smaller class size has been wonderful, don't get me wrong. BUT it's easy to feel like there are still 20+ kids in my classroom when behaviors are happening and kids are not regulated.
So far, it's been pretty good. I have an awesome behavior specialist in the classroom with me all day. While my main purpose is to teach, her main purpose is to help manage behaviors and assist in deescalating when a student is starting to not be regulated any longer. We switch back and forth with our duties and have become pretty good at working together in the short time we have known each other.
Having a full-time behavior specialist with me all day, every day HAS been a dream. I can confidently say that every public school should have this resource (if only it were that easy, right?). It would undoubtedly help relieve the burden on teachers AND help the students because more support is never a bad thing.
Aside from getting used to my new environment and all the ways my job has changed and yet stayed the same, I've just been taking the first week to really get to know my new kiddos.
This year our favorite books are Dog Man, Bad Guys, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. We LOVE to read. We love Minecraft and any and all things art-related. We are very interested in science and how things work/where things come from. And we are all better at technology than Miss Radich (I guess that makes sense now that I'm living in Silicon Valley).
My students are so capable and eager to learn new information. I am so excited to see what this year will bring, and I already know these kids are going to grow so much in the short time I will be with them.
There is no doubt this year will be challenging, but I feel confident and supported. I learned so much last year, both from trial-and-error and from my teammates who gave me so many ideas and strategies to try. I'm already learning so much this year from the colleagues at my new school.
A major goal of mine this school year is to get better at updating this blog (if only for personal benefit). I want to track the year and reflect on my teaching and lessons. I also think writing this gives me a much needed chance to unwind after a long school day. We'll see how well I actually stick to that goal!