I believe that I am a very good teacher, and that classroom management (behavior, organization, community-building, routines, etc.) is one of my strengths. And that is largely true. I start off the year by teaching the children all of our routines, hold them to high expectations for behavior and academics, and then teach them step-by-step how to meet those expectations.
While the beginning of the year is exhausting, by mid-October the class has settled into school and my room has become a well-oiled, high-functioning machine. My room is calm, happy, loving, and purposeful. It works great, and it makes me feel great to have gotten there.
However, I have just discovered the flaw in my way of doing things. I expect that from October to June, things will mostly go according to plan. I have failed to accomodate for the possibility of getting new kids in the spring who don’t know any of my rules, routines, or expectations, and who are way behind all the kids I’ve been able to teach since September.
So here I am, completely flummoxed and frustrated, because I have new students who don’t know that they are supposed to listen to me when I say their names, who don’t know that hitting is not reasonable behavior, who don’t know that books are precious and it is not okay to write in them, and who don’t even know how to wash their hands. I am no longer in beginning-of-school mode, and it is overwhelming sometimes to think of all the things I have to reteach.
Yesterday was another bad day. I was short-tempered, and felt terrible about it.