Exploration and Discovery

Exploration and Discovery
The Outdoor Classroom

Sunday, September 4, 2011

now that i am actually teaching i have less time for thinking about it!

The year is off and running.  As I prep for next week, and make note that we are already on the 4th week of school, I have to look at my map out of the year to see if I am anywhere near target. I know where I need to get the students by the end of the year, and I had a terrific plan all paced out to get us there, and now I see how the scheduling of "enrichment" classes, holidays, field trips, and kids at different levels of comprehension and ability wrecks havoc with the best laid plan. I teach Language Arts and Social Studies core curriculum to fifth graders, trying to prepare them for the rigors of middle school by the time they walk through our portals at the end of the year. Some kids are already there, ready for the challenge academically and socially mature enough to stay focused on their studies while navigating the hormonal landmine that is middle school. Heck a couple of these girls seem ready for high school. But just as there are 10 kids already there, 10 kids working to get there, and 3-4 that will not be ready no matter how I map out the year, that leaves 10 for whom it could go either way. Maybe with the right services and support the majority of these kids will be ready and do fine, but without the services, and counseling, and one on one work they desperately need, they will get discouraged and angry and bitter, and they will stop trying. That scares me and wakes me up at night. What can I do to keep more of those students from following that tide out to sea? I know, rather poetic , but true.
Teaching the material, finding a captivating and engaging way to teach the material, and an effective way to evaluate whether the message has been received is only part of the task at hand. I used to think that was the job, and challenging enough in its own right. But the meetings with Special Ed, the hopes and demands of parents, and the realities of a ridiculously tight schedule all while trying to navigate 33 students from one class and 33 from another through 2 subjects  seems a tad Sysifusian. I think whoever decided to split the core curriculum between two teachers was a genius, I cannot imagine that science or social studies would ever get their due if it was up to one classroom teacher to plann out the week and meet the math and language arts standards. The beautiful think is we can meet our language arts standards through writing about our social studies curriculum...to be continued.