Teaching in Kansas City, one day at a time.

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 04 2013

Baby Steps.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won’t find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.”


I failed on this today. Majorly. Not on all accounts–my outfit was slamming, but on all the others… today was abysmal. I wasn’t agreeable, I screamed at my kiddos, I criticized my life choices, I found fault with my teaching, I tried to regulate a class of 24 screaming children. Today was a  battle and I lost it. I am tired. I need to improve myself as a teacher and stop getting so frustrated with the students; It’s not their fault that their teacher is an awful classroom manager.  If I was better at my job, they would be able to learn effectively in a safe environment. I just need to focus on how I can change me, because that will be my key to serenity.

I went to a meeting tonight, I so did not want to go. I felt sick, and the meeting was  on the heels of a poor review from my UMSL professor. It’s like, I know, I’ve heard it from the MO state grant observation people, from my principal, from my MTLD, from my real time coach, from the other teachers, from the curriculum experts, from another woman who observed my class, heck even from my dad,— My classroom management sucks. At the very least I can be courteous and treat my students like human beings, they are not less than human just because they are tiny. I can continuously try to improve myself each day and not find fault with how I’m teaching, instead find growth opportunities and seize them.

7 Responses

  1. Sally

    By the way…..never say you failed. Impossible , one child is all it takes and the fact that you care confirms you are making a difference.

  2. Sally

    Sorry for typos!

  3. Sally

    I have taught for KCPS. Last was an except ed class. The prinicipal was awful, 0 support. Fired a certain type of teacher, 10 to 12 of them. Onewill probably never have to work again. That principal is gone and everyone did the happy dance. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP! This is KC. No accredidation, no admin support. Your support believe it or not, will come from the kids. They did not choose the school, district, etc. Gain respect and control FIRST. Then, teach each child with love, true love. I loved my kids. Even one who punched me in the face and wanted to bring a gun to school. I loved him. I asked him what he did after school. He said, ” go to my room while daddy gets high, eat bologna, sometimes with bread, get beaten and go to sleep”, Wow……I cried, and cried, and cried. Then one day he came to me and said Ms……, “my daddy stopped getting high and he don’t beat me anymore.” Grateful for answered prayers. Guess what? I had third thru six, spec. ed, all areas from behavioral to physical. I prepared and tested the kids for MAP. I was gone by the time they announced results but my para, THE BEST PARA, called and told me our kids were the ONLY in the school that showed improvement! Special Ed with a teacher who taught gen ed! Believe in them and believe in yourself. Challenge them, praise them, reward them. EVERY Friday was Fun Friday. We would have popcorn, candy and pop while watching a movie at the end of the day. They earned it, EVERY week, they had to and always believed they would. Tell them they are important and kind and loved. TELL them EVERY day to make sure when they wake up in the morning to look in the mirror and say, “I am important, I am loved, I am kind and this world NEEDS ME!!! They will believe! Promise.

  4. In case you wonder who this person is who is worried about you and just read your whole blog-here is my blog, all SEVEN years of it. Man, it’s been a long time. I don’t think it will be very relevant to teaching elementary school in terms of content, but if you contrast my first year to any other year you’ll see that things get easier. Take it one day at a time, and don’t worry about it being this crazy forever.


  5. I’ll be thinking of you :) My mom is always telling me to make gratitude lists so your blog is resonating with me. I think you two are in the same program, but hard to be sure exactly from just a few blog posts.

    I so so hope that you will take care of yourself. Part of the reason the class is crazy is because you need time to learn classroom management strategies. I was not good at that my first year, but it DID get better over time. However, a big part of the reason the class is crazy has to do with things beyond your control. Throughout my entire TFA experience my mom was telling me to say the serenity prayer “My God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    My first year teaching there were things I could have changed, and eventually did. However there were also things i thought I could change that in hindsight I realize that were not under my control even though I thought TFA had told me they were. (I ended up in a PhD program for math education so I really think working with my amazing professors who have been teaching math for an entire career has helped me see what was and was not in my control.) I made myself so sick and depressed blaming myself for things that really were not under my control. I hope that isn’t happening to you.

    I can see you have plenty of courage to change, so say a prayer for yourself to accept the things you cannot change and forgive yourself for those issues, and for wisdom to know what these things are. I hope you find someone at your school or in your life who has years of education wisdom to help you figure that out. Please forgive yourself for getting frustrated with your kids-you are right that it is not their fault but it isn’t all your fault either. You AND your kids have been put in a really tough spot.

  6. M

    I am really looking forward to next year. When I can start off with better procedures and some semblance of a routine. I’d say about 6-7 of my kiddos actually have behavioral issues and about 16 of the kids in my class are on board and want to learn.

    Phew, this is exhausting!!

  7. Meghank

    This was exactly what I thought my first year, and then the next year when my class went on to second grade, the experienced teacher in that grade had the worst trouble with them. In third grade, too, they still had a lot of issues. They needed counseling, and one-on-one help, which they never got.

    You might just be unlucky with the particular group of kids you’ve gotten, who might need more supervision and smaller class sizes than they’re getting.

Post a comment

About this Blog

Teaching for the first time… praying we all get out alive

Kansas City
Elementary School
Elementary Education

Subscribe to this blog (feed)