Only two weeks back at school yet I feel as if I’ve been there forever. I have slotted right back into school life and I’m loving it. My class is full of interesting little characters and I am enjoying the challenge of having to deal with all their little quirks and problems. This week I have dealt with a lesser privileged child’s urge to take what does not belong to her. Our school counsellor is helping me to deal with all sorts of problems we have with this little girl. I now have her on a behaviour modification programme and when she earns enough stars for good behaviour she will get a reward. She needs to learn that she can’t take what she wants – she must earn it.
There were also fun moments this week. It was terrific fun when we played a dancing number game for bonds of 7. I wrote a number on each girl’s forehead – (with easy to remove white-board pen), took them outdoors and they had to find their partners to make 7. 4 had to check that she and 3 really made 7 and it was so cute to see how they discussed this and used fingers to make absolutely sure they were right!
How rewarding teaching Grade 1 is. The girls have been at school for only five months. They are just starting to read simple reading books, they can build three letter words, they have a small vocabulary of high frequency words and now it was time to make up their own sentences. I started them off by putting muddled sentences on the board and getting them to sort the words into a sensible sentence. The next day we discussed finding words in the classroom and they were all able to tell me where they could find grandma, bake, swing and several others. Other places they could find words were in their dictionaries, on their THRASS charts and they could use their phonic skills. Then I sent them to their places to try and compose their own sentences. I had two moms to help direct them to the ‘word hunting’ places. Now this is the rewarding part of teaching – every single one of them could write at least one sentence on her own. Most didn’t want to stop and kept coming up with delightful compositions. Maybe only another teacher can understand the thrill you get when a child reads her first little book and writes her first sentence on her own! I was ecstatic! And of course the reward is even greater when you read, “I love my teacher!”
I ended the week with a huge revamp of my classroom. It is a tiny room and needed some clever organising. This afternoon I moved the teacher’s desk onto the teaching mat area but was still not happy and felt sure there was another way of arranging the furniture. My friend Margy, who is also an ex-teacher visited me this afternoon and I told her about my woes. Now Margy has good spatial perception (a weakness in me) and she offered to help me with a fresh design. It was almost 5 o’clock when we returned to my classroom and she immediately had some excellent suggestions. I won’t go into detail but believe me when I say we had to do some major re-organisation but an hour later I was delighted with the change around. There is also a bounty of teaching aids and games in the classroom which I need to get to know and decide what to use in the coming weeks. Later this weekend we will do a bit of sorting out in that department too.
I am really looking forward to the next week – although it will only be a short one – June 16th being a public holiday and the schools have the 17th off too.