Today my teacher came back… It was both good and bad. The positive part being that I was able to lighten the stone in the bottom of my stomach that formed about Tuesday of last week by telling my teacher everything that went on. The negative part was that I had to tell my teacher how terribly things went. I thought I was going to get sick all night last night and all through my drive this morning because I knew I had to tell her everything that happened. Tomorrow my teacher and I are doing our benchmark conference that was supposed to happen before spring break but got put off. I am nervous because it is nearly the last one and, after last week, I feel like I am not doing well. My advisor observed me today and she wrote the same comments that she has written every time she has observed me. She pointed out that I need to get the attention of all of the students before I talk or give directions but if I made sure every student was listening I would be calling names for the rest of the day because once I take my attention off of one student to get the attention of another student the student I was talking to first starts talking again! I feel like I am back playing chicken round up at summer camp and leaving the coup door open! I hate that on paper I haven’t really improved. More than anything I feel disappointed that I have learned so much and seen how well certain things work but cannot seem to replicate it.
I nearly lost it after school today when I was asking my teacher what I should do. I was two seconds from tears but I managed to hold it together. I am not 100% sure I will be able to hold it in tomorrow. It makes me feel sick that things are not going better. I know my classroom teacher gets it but it doesn’t make me feel any less like I can’t do it. I want so much to live up to my own expectations and the expectations I think others should have of me. Everyone is too easy on me and how will I ever get better if I don’t push myself and if others do not push me to better every day.
Everyone continues to tell me not to worry. My brain kind of gets it but my stomach is still keeping me up at night over it. I just cannot get it together. It is embarrassing that I can’t keep six year olds quiet long enough to give them two sentences of directions. What’s worse is now my teacher is at the school testing incoming kindergarteners and can simply pop in at any moment to check up on the students. The terrible thing is they are always out of control and every time she walks in the students get quiet and sit still. I know there is no quick way to get things under control the way she has them but I still feel like I should have figured it out by now. I have four weeks of student teaching left and then I am on my own. How on earth am I going to be able to do this on my own?
The teacher aide in my classroom keeps telling me things were not as bad as they have been when there has been a sub for that long and it helps a little to think that I am slightly better at this than someone who does not know our classroom procedures, routines, and discipline system at all. Being slightly better than someone who does not know how our classroom works is okay but really is not great. I just keep thinking that soon I will be on my own and I can hardly make it for a week by myself. The aide told me that I will keep learning and that making mistakes is how you learn but I cannot figure out what mistakes I am making! If I could pinpoint something that was wrong, I could focus on that and work on it. My advisor suggests that it is my inability to get the students’ attention before I teach but goodness I cannot get them to stop talking! Some of them are not even talking to each other, they are just making noise!
I cannot figure out what to do when I run out of consequences. When the student is already off the clip chart, I do not know what do or say. Obviously, moving their clip has not deterred their behavior. I wrote five red notes home today! Some of those students are ones I have already written notes home for. My classroom teacher reminds me constantly that even when I am firm and get students in trouble they will still like me. I am not very concerned that they like me; all I want is for them to not talk when they need to hear directions! Maybe that is the problem… Maybe I should be concerned about if they like me…
I have said it before and I will say it again, my classroom teacher has whatever that ‘thing’ is that separates great teachers from the just plain good ones. More and more I am realizing that she has that quality, especially now that I attempting to do this without her. I still have trouble thinking that she was ever not perfect like she is now. She makes it seem easy. I hope that eventually I will figure out that “thing” and be that fantastic at the one thing I care about being good at more than anything else.