Tuesday, July 31, 2007

here we go again

It's an annual struggle that every teacher must face. You have been with one group of children for nearly a year. You have watched them grow and change. They have improved vastly on skills and constantly amaze you with the level of independence they have achieved.

Your class is a well-oiled machine. Everyone is comfortable with the routine and their place in it. You have your little tricks and you know which ones to use with each child for maximum effectiveness.

Obviously, it's time for room promotions. Your little darlings will move on to the next teacher or the next school. You will miss them, of course. But that's not the main issue. You are actually excited for them to move on to the next teacher and build on what they have learned from you.

No, the problem is that you now have a totally new class. And they aren't at the same level in their development that you grew accustomed to with your previous class. These kids are back at square one as far as you are concerned. They are not the mature and independent little people that you have grown so used to dealing with. They need you to do more for them, because developmentally they have not yet built the skills necessary to do for themselves.

It's hard to adjust backwards. It just is not natural to regress. You have to be more patient as you constantly remind yourself that these kids are behaving normally for their age. Yes, you broke your previous class of these behaviors months ago, but it was a slow process then, and it will be a slow process now as well.

You have to learn a whole new group of kids and find the tricks that work for each one. You have to lower your expectations - at least a little bit, at least for a while.

It's tough on everyone all around. Sure, you are having trouble with it. But so are the kids. They have to learn a whole new classroom, new rules, new routines, new expectations. They have to adjust to you and your personality.

The beginning of a new school term is a very awkward time all around.

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