Teaching after Popular Teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by readingrules12, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Okay, so teaching seemed great these last few years in this school with one class/grade. Behavior was finally good, I had implemented more fun ideas, and they seemed to be learning more. This year I kicked it up a notch and did some more exciting lessons, and the result??? The excitement seemed to be gone in the students--something was going on. It didn't take long to see what it was. Last year (4th grade for these students), they had the most popular teacher in the school. When she let them know she was leaving, they all cried and threw the largest going away surprise party. Some wrote this year, that was the most fun moment of their life. This teacher was also a friend of mine, so I know her well. She is incredibly kind, helpful, soft-spoken, a good listener, and very "motherly". She did a few fun activities with them, but not a lot...mostly from the book. She never ate lunch with them or did much outside the classroom with them except a fun field trip that they enjoyed. Academically she was about average--challenged them a little bit, but not a lot. I tell you these details as possibly they might help.

    About me. I have taught 20 years, like to challenge the students, do fun activities, and I am a bit more strict than she is. Being a guy no one would call me "motherly".


    Now, I have had the students for over a quarter. I have never done more science experiments, fun projects, and other activities. Last year's group absolutely loved school and the projects we did. They didn't get to do as much as we are doing this year. I know this year's group enjoys them as they complained the Monday we didn't do a Science experiment. So what is the problem?

    My students this year can not talk about how they miss last year's teacher. I had her stop by one time after school, thinking that might help (end of September). The children went crazy and many were crying with joy. While I thought this might help, it didn't--nothing changed. Many of the students--especially the girls act depressed, and when we do writing they just write about how they miss this teacher.

    I thought this problem would eventually blow over and so I haven't worried about it too much. Fifth graders are often an open group with their opinions, but they don't complain about anything I'm doing. They just miss this teacher, which I can understand.

    Not sure what to do--is this something that I should just ignore and forget about? My concern is that it seems to be effecting their enjoying 5th grade and doing quality work. They are awesome about getting their homework done (same story last year) and they complete assignments in class. I had parent teacher conferences--100% of the parents showed up and said that everything is great, and they had no complaints. When I talk to a colleague she says I'm doing fun activities with them, and not to worry about it. I don't think they always need to enjoy school, but this sadness...well it's new to me and I am not sure if ignoring the issue is best. I am interested in your thoughts and suggestions. Should I ignore it or is there something that might help them?
     
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  3. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 30, 2011

    They wouldn't have her for a teacher this year even if she was still there, right?

    I'd do my best to ignore the behavior. They are going to have to get over it. Life moves on. Encourage other writing topics. Try not to compare yourself to her. Do your best, and make sure you are giving the kids what they need for success.
     
  4. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Maybe you just have a quiet group. I have subbed in rooms where the kids are just thrilled over tiny things and I have subbed in rooms where the kids just never seem enthusiastic over anything. They're just more reserved. If it were me, I think I would go on and stop mentioning this other teacher. I would also try and put it out of my mind entirely. I'm sure they really enjoyed this teacher but there are things that they will enjoy about having you too!
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    That's what I was thinking...even if she were still in your building, they wouldn't be in her class. It may seem obvious, but do they realize that?

    I also agree that you should ignore the behavior and they need to move on. The teacher I replaced was very popular with the students. My first day when I brought my groups to my room, they kept asking, "what happened to the teacher who used to teach in this room?" (In my case, they would have had the teacher again). She left unexpectedly mid-summer when she found a new job, so at the end of the previoius year she'd told these students she'd be back and would be their teacher again. This teacher also let them play a board game at the end of every lesson if they were well behaved, which is something I personally disagree with. So the kids kept asking why they weren't playing games and telling me that had always been the rule. I explained to them that they were coming to my room for a lesson, and that we might do fun activities, but we weren't going to play board games. The students are missing things in their regular class to come with me, so I certainly want to make sure they're doing something important and learning 100% of the time in my room. Long story short, they definitely got over it. I'm now in my second year with these kids, and I can say without a doubt I feel most of them love me even though we don't play board games :) They've adjusted to my expectations, and I would say pass the first half of the year I had no issues with them whatsoever in regards to the "new expectations" of the sped program.
     
  6. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Nov 1, 2011

    I'm following a teacher who was amazing at making each child feel important and ok with whatever they were and however they learned. The teacher did a great job at building classroom community. The kids were able to share their passions and choose projects that interested them. The kids were confident and happy.

    The problem? It all came before the academics. So now I have a group where the kids are a year behind, yet at parent conferences I keep hearing about how much happier the kids were last year and how the teacher "reached" the students.

    So not only do I need to cover two years worth of academics, but every child needs to feel they are the most loved and special. I'm nice and the kids like me, but I am strict and am not a 30 year veteran like the other teacher. I manage my class more, where the other teacher had a relaxed style (while not putting up with misbehavior). I don't know how to follow all that!

    You never know how a group will behave. Just do your best. I am teaching, teaching, teaching, and trying to make it as fun and engaging as possible. It's hard when the kids had such a different experience last year!
     
  7. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Nov 6, 2011

    As Waterfall said, they will adjust to your expectations. I had a similar experience when teaching in another state. By second semester, all will be water under the bridge. Hang in there :) You'll do great!
     
  8. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    It's still early.

    And chances are next year's teacher will be feeling the same way about you. :)
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Nov 6, 2011

    Thank you for your replies. This last week has gone really well, and I can see that this situation was only temporary. I can see that all of you are correct in your advice for me to ignore this situation. It is working. I can see that I just needed to give it a bit more time. Thanks again.
     

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