Advice From a Caterpillar

My little flower garden is blooming, new buds each moment! But I also find spiders, aphids, and weeds…

They are non-stop talking, moving, rolling, whispering, shaking, poking, hopping, drawing, sliding, whistling, crawling machines. Classroom management has never been a problem for me and yet I continue to be challenged with this class. They are engaged, they are learning, they are developing and growing but they won’t stop talking!

I have my own far-fetched theories as to why this year’s class has all of the energy of every year past combined. Maybe they come to school too sugared-up from a school breakfast of cinnamon rolls and “orange drink”. Maybe they’re trained by the television and X-Box to need constant stimulation. Maybe I’m just losing my edge and listening to me talk for five hours is not as interesting as I like to think that it might be.

But I believe in them and I belive in what I do. I came into teaching at a time when accountability was the norm and I expect to be evaluated by my results, not how hard I try. Parents want their children in my class because they’ve seen the ones I’ve had before, not because they think I work harder than other teachers. If anything, I’m constantly trying to find ways to avoid working harder by working more efficiently and effectively.

Maybe I am the “NCLB Generation” but I take full responsibility for teaching being my job. If no one learns anything, I didn’t teach, I just stood and talked. I may have concerns about some of the measurement tools being used but I am prepared to be evaluated and I would be deeply troubled if my students didn’t do as well or better than expected (for the record, my class is usually at or near the top of the kindergarten scores district-wide).

I know that there are many who argue with this, they say that there is only so much that a teacher can do. I agree, but I think some teachers aren’t doing as much as a teacher can do. Some need to be taught how to do things better and some shouldn’t stay if they don’t want that responsibility. Tweedledum walks to school alone, no one helps him with his homework, and he was the only one without valentines to pass out (although he’s always remarkably well-dressed). It is not my job to be his mother, but it is my job to make sure that he does not leave my class without beginning reading skills and a uselful set of social skills as well. That’s why I get up at 5:45 each morning and that’s what they pay me for. It won’t make any difference what those caterpillars say, it’s about taking the responsibility, it’s not about fearing the punishment.

–guestblogger Alice in Eduland

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