Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Must Read for Teachers New & Old

As this will be my second year teacher, I know that I do not have all of the knowledge right now that I will twenty or thirty years from now.  I read many of YOUR blogs for most of my teaching insight. However, I want to share one of the most important things that I learned from my own education with you all that I almost disregarded this past year. 

As a first year teacher, I felt like I needed to dive into the curriculum right away. We learned in college and grad school to take your time building a community and establishing rules and expectations, and I could preach what I was taught to the choirs. But when it came to putting what I learned into practice, I could not justify spending that much time without touching any of the curriculum. I remember being eager to start guided reading groups, feeling as though I was wasting away time that I would not get back.

On the first day of school, I felt pressured. When it came to math time, however, I could not get one of my favorite education professors out of my head.  She was SCREAMING in my brain to let my students play with the math manipulatives. I fought the voice as long as I could, but then did what I knew to be right. I put the practice pages back into my filing cabinet, and dragged out the bins of manipulatives.  And what did we do for 45 minutes? We explored.

The whole time, I kept thinking to myself, "Gina, they taught you this for a reason.  Do NOT try to teach them something right now." So, I didn't.  And for a few more days, we explored the manipulatives, building, sorting, and sharing.

Do you want to know something? Not one of my students used the math manipulatives for something other than math learning for the rest of the year. Why? Because I allowed them to explore  before I made them use them for math learning. I tapped into their curiosity and let them be kids. The learning came after.

Was I still stressed about diving into the curriculum? Yeah. But, this year, I'm going to remind myself to take the time to allow my students to be kids, and the learning will come. {I hope one of you out there will point me back to this blog post when I want to dive right in again!}

Alas, I am still in the middle of the ocean, but will be back to my normal blogging schedule (almost every day!) when I return! See ya'll in a few days :)!
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