Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ya gotta be flexible . . .

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about students I have taught over the years, experiences with children and colleagues.  For around ten years I taught reading as my main contribution in the field of education.  At first it was small reading groups from first, second, and third grades plus the business of directing the instructional aides on site. I chose my own curriculum.  Next it was the addition of a fourth grade block of English Language Arts instruction using the Houghton Mifflin reading series for 12  remedial students who had reading challenges, in addition to my regular reading groups.  That year I learned a program called Phonics for Reading which I implemented to help these students receive instruction where there were gaps.  

Next, fifth and sixth graders  were added into my schedule for me to teach English Language Learning strategies using another program called Santillana.  A couple of years later I found myself teaching a scripted program called Corrective Reading (Reach) with groups of 4th and 5th, and 6th -8th.  This was my biggest challenge yet.  With 45 children in the program, we rotated them every two weeks.  It was during this time that I uncovered some strategic bullying going on amongst some students.  This was dealt with immediately by the administration and caused some consternation and anger on my students part with some of it directed at me.  But I weathered the storm.  My first experience teaching kindergarten  was also last year when I taught two programs new to me, Writing Without Tears-penmanship and K-PALS, a phonological program.  

This year is a turnaround for me with straight fourth grade and several new programs to implement:  Treasurers reading series, Kevin Clark's Sheltered English Instruction, Olweus Anti-bullying program, Peaceful Playgrounds, and EDI learning strategies, Accelerated Reader to boost reading... and the beat goes on.  I am getting more and more computer literate and have learned how to enter students grades in an electronic grade book system and am now asking and reporting absences on line.  This is my first year teaching students who are at grade level in eight years.  Most of my career has been in the realm of remedial instruction.  

Right now we're in the middle of writing California Mission Reports and learning about minerals and rocks.  My students have high interest in these subjects.  They are an energetic group.  I'm catching on to how fourth grade works and am seeing some successes.  My students are second language learners except for two students  I do miss teaching my favorite subject, reading.

Well, if I am a little tired or stressed, now you know why.  But, it still is a worthy occupation.  

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