First Year Reflecting..

First Year Flashback Linky Party

It is almost that time again – the beginning of the school year.  I am counting down days now instead of weeks.  I am going into my 3rd year of teaching – already!!  Where does the time go?  In a moment of retrospective reflection I decided to take part in the ESOL Odyssey Flashback Linky Party.

1.      What age group and subject were you teaching?

My very first job was teaching Grade 1’s while covering a maternity leave term.  This was super exciting; my youngest daughter was in the other grade one class and I would get to see her throughout the day, and it was just down the hallway from my son who was in Pre-K.  However, having only subbed and student taught in middle years the thought of teaching kids who didn’t know how to read was very intimidating. I was blessed to work at the same school my youngest 3 attended, but also where we attended church. 

2.     What was your first classroom like?

My classroom was a modge podge of colorful materials left by the teacher whose room I was covering, and things I had “borrowed” from pinterest. Interestingly enough, I shared a room with the other grade one class and our classroom was divided by a collapsing wall during the day.  At the end of most days we took down things off the boards and walls, and tucked away all teaching material and personal touches to allow the church to use our rooms in the evening.  You would always come a little early in the morning to re-set up your class. I no longer have to do this since I transitioned to the High School campus – but I honor all the elementary teachers at the school who put the time into taking up and down their classes. 

           I taught an adorable group of Grade 1’s who were, by design, at all ability levels.  It
           was an enriching experience for me, I really had to learn to differentiate.


3.     Were you given supplies or materials?

I was left a bunch of material to work with.  But, being such a type A personality about things, made most of my own and replied on some great TPTers to get me through the things I didn’t have time to create. 

My favorite things to teach were:
When we read Charlotte's web I dived into learning about spiders and we worked on these amazing Spider Lapbooks I created.  I allowed them to make their own so they were not as pretty as mine were - but they got the joy of making their own book to take home!  
I also really enjoyed teaching Math Tubs and Guided Reading.  It is amazing to watch little minds go from guided to independent work and see how excited they are when they master a new skill or concept.

My third - chronologically and not by preference was the unit we did on plants and living things.  I used the resource by Linda Kamp: Life Cycle of Plants and supplemented it with a  few of my own ideas :o)
My grade level partner had taught four of my kids by this time and was a great support.  She allowed me to use her spelling program and guided me along the way.


4.     What was the hardest part of your first year of teaching?

The hardest part was slowing myself down enough to really enjoy the experience.  I was so preoccupied with making sure I did my very best to help develop those little minds that I often lost sight of the forest for the trees. Second, but just as important was organizing.  Working in someone else’s space with their things was hard because I was constantly trying to get her systems to work for me instead of developing my own. 

5.     What was the best part of your first year of teaching?

My class LOVED science.  I adapted parts of the Grade 6 and 7 curriculum down and every Friday we worked literacy, math, social, and science into a full day activity we call {Friday Fun} (the lessons for 9 of the best of my Friday experiments are linked here ).  It really taught me how much their little minds could infer and connect given opportunity.  We talked about surface tension, chemical and physical changes, force and motion – things that seemed beyond them and they proved that not only could they repeat what we learned but apply it in new situations!!

6.     What do you know now that you wish you knew that first year?!!

Organize immediately.  Do not think – “I can do it later” – because later you will have something else to do!!!

Your Turn! Join the Linky!