Anxiety.... someone reassure me please.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by miss-m, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

    Oct 25, 2014
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    Oct 20, 2018

    I am currently freaking out about how much my students have to learn this year and how far behind they already are in first grade. I know logically it’ll be fine, and I just got a coteacher (thank goodness) which will help TREMENDOUSLY with management and getting kids more personalized support.

    But I’m still freaking out. 13 of our 27 students are already below grade level in reading (though 5 are getting sooo close to catching up). 5 of my students don’t speak English and are still working on recognizing numbers and letters. One student is on the verge of being evaluated for sped. We just got new curriculum that I have no clue how to fit all of it into the day. We’ve barely done any writing or science or social studies even though those subjects are so fun to teach and the kids love them. Phonics is only happening now because my coteacher took it on. We want to double dip groups in reading but I don’t know how there is time for that. I’m just... stressed and panicking and I need some reassurance that my kids will be fine and that they’ll learn what they need to learn. And that I don’t have to be a miracle worker, because I feel like that’s what it will take.
  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Jul 27, 2015
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    Oct 21, 2018

    Modern education often seems similar to the Mary Poppins movie (the old one from my generation). The educational establishment has become like Mr. Banks, establishing a multitude of standards that not only must be met but also exceeded. Rather than centering the educational procedures to match the students, Michael and Jane, extensive focus is placed upon content and achievement tests. The head of the bank where Mr. Banks works, Mr. Dawes, has prescribed a detailed curricula, [old definition: a pre-made plan to assist the teacher; new definition: a mega-pre-made plan some teachers are forced to follow]. Perhaps the new age of Kindergarten is beneficial, but I seemed to profit from playing London Bridge and listening to stories about Uncle Wiggly finding his fortune.

    In many schools, Mary Poppins wouldn't be allowed, but if she is allowed to enter, she is much needed today. A spoonful of sugar really does help the phonics, reading skills, and math skills go down. Rather than plowing through the messy room of educational objectives piled one on top of the other, Michael and Jane begin to make sense when the skills become arranged into their concepts and placed back into their proper drawers and shelves. Then they can slide down the bannister with Mary Poppins and begin to truly explore their worlds. As in the movie, students need time to feed the birds. Interestingly, when the Feed the Birds song was first composed for the movie, Walt Disney replied to the composers that's what it's all about. Today's curricula is so jammed packed with pour this into their heads and make them put it back out on the test, Michael and Jane don't have time to feed the birds; they don't even notice them. Michael and Jane need time to jump into the sidewalk art with Bart and Mary, explore the nonsense of um-diddle-diddle, feel the fascination of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But alas, everything in their world has become higglety-pigglety.

    I fear my essay is not encouraging, but from what I read in your post, I would agree with how you are matching the curricula with the needs of the students. You have become their Mary Poppins. If you are allowed by your school system, I might recommend not trying to squeeze each entire curriculum lesson into the day but do as much of each lesson's activities as they are currently capable of handling. My reasoning is that phonics, writing, social studies, and science are also essential ingredients to the holistic comprehension and will help tie all the little pieces of objectives together. This is especially important for the ESL students. Taking science for example, when the students are working in a group conversing about how to proceed with their investigation and writing down what happened, their brains are zooming high speed ahead in languaging. Taking a look at phonics, sometimes I think we need to eliminate a page or two from the workbook/worksheets and include more visual/auditory/large muscle kinesthetic activities. Perhaps the old Electric Company game is needed where one or two students are the phoneme (with letter cards) and other students as phonemes stand next to them to form new words. Mary Poppins did a lot of singing, and songs are an excellent resource for education. I often had my students read song lyrics on the blackboard (I'm an old teacher).

    If we could jump into the movie and ask Miss Poppins, something else she would recommend that I fear is being neglected in American schools who are so pressed for time. Kids need brain breaks. Rather than jumping from one task to the next to the next to the next to the....they need time to let their mind wander. They might chat, doodle, walk around, but their brains are working harder during this time than when they're concentrating on an assignment. This is a necessary step for the brain to restructure all the circuitry inside to apply what's been learned and to be ready to learn something new. I recall an old newspaper comic strip where the mother asked the boy how his homework was coming and the boy said he couldn't fit anything else into his brain. It was a cute comic, but it was also scientifically realistic. There are times during the day when Michael and Jane need to sing "Let's go fly a kite," and as I recall from the end of the movie, even Mr. Banks and the other executives at the bank enjoyed flying their kites, too.
    ms.irene, miss-m and Zelda~* like this.
  4. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

    May 18, 2008
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    Oct 21, 2018

    I don't know if you have to write SLOs or not where you are, but, instead of looking at the situation where they all must be at grade level, instead, see if they can make a year's growth from where they are. (With the exception of students with special circumstances, of course.) This might make you feel a little better about their progress. You will be absolutely fine.
    miss-m likes this.

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