Those are actual words that came out of my mouth, and it was a true statement in multiple ways. In "Stepping Stones," which is what we call our reading block, we read a book called "My Brain." We send home copies of the books for kids to read for homework, and I was one short. However, on another level I really am losing my brain, as it were...I set stuff down and two seconds later can't find it again. And making it through the day--especially last Thursday and Friday--can be the biggest challenge.
"This business of training little humans for life is a mind-boggling process." -unknown
"The best part of teaching is that it matters. The hardest part of teaching is that every moment matters, every day." -Todd Whitaker
I feel like if I wrote a book, I could title it "Adventures of a First Year Kindergarten Teacher: Stress Eating Dove Chocolates, or How I Lost My Voice and My Mind."
I honestly feel a bit like I am failing, both at being an effective teacher, and failing my students. I'm working on progress reports, and I have so many students not on grade level. Some of this is because it's only been 30 days of school, and learning is not always a fast process! Some of this is due to behavior. Some of this is due to language. And some, perhaps most, is likely due to me. I'm still learning, and finding out new things about my school, my responsibilities, and what I need to have in my classroom. I can't look further than a day or two in advance, because I am barely hanging onto my day to day goings-ons.
I feel bad too, writing "N" for growth needed, when I feel like it's my fault. Or, for my ELL students, because it's a language issue, and it's going to be "N" all year. We really need to provide ELL students with bilingual education, because not only is it important that they don't lose their native language, but because literacy in a first language translates to better learning a second. And as for this year, well, it can take 2-3 years to master basic conversational ability in a second language, and 5-7 years to master academic language. So it's okay that my ELL students won't master English skills this year...but they still deserve access to the content, and I feel bad that I can't supplement that with their own language because I don't know Spanish. I worry though, that even though developmentally speaking, I shouldn't expect them to be proficient, because that's unrealistic, that seeing "N"s on all their progress reports will have some psychological effect. So I need to keep this in mind and discuss this with parents at parent-teacher conferences to assuage fears the parents may have.
Good thing I'm ever the optimist, because last week was full of me feeling like a miserable failure. On the bright side, I do know that some of my kids are picking up stuff. We have this alphabet with our curriculum that has a picture intertwined with each letter. We are supposed to go through the alphabet saying each picture name (which has the letter sound ie: apple, bat and ball, caterpillar, dinosaur).