Saturday, January 21, 2012

The "Roller Coaster Ride" of Teaching

Many years ago I was one of a group of new teachers who crafted a book of essays about the first year of teaching.  My essay was titled, Riding the Roller Coaster. As I ponder my work today, the roller coaster continues to be an apt metaphor as teaching is a journey of climbs, slides and plateaus.

Following the holiday break, the classroom work was a climb as several new units were introduced including a new class book--Letters to Rifka, the immigration/family history project, reading response writing, division/data and statistics, science rotations and the addition of a student teacher.  Establishing new routines and learning units is often messy as students begin to understand the new patterns and expectations.

Now, it's the plateau.  Students are settled into the new patterns and working steadily with a myriad of tools and formations to create, learn and question. The focus lessons are shorter than the initial unit introductions as we steadily work towards our main goal: the Immigration/Family History Museum.  The Museum will display graphs, analyses, immigration/family history exhibits, stories and more as a way of sharing and celebrating our learning with family members and the school community.

The slide will begin as we scurry to set up the exhibits, share the Museum with others, and reflect on six-weeks of learning.  We'll probably add a pajama day, readathon or film fest as a final break prior to our winter vacation and the next climb: fractions, more personal narratives and reading, reading, reading with the goal being the March State assessments, MCAS.