Three Reasons Why My Classroom is Joyful

celebrate link up

My class of fifth graders are a true joy. I celebrate them daily. I mentioned this to my former principal and friend and she asked me why this class is special.

I came up with three reasons.

Reason One: I think classrooms are a chemistry of personalities. When it’s right, it’s sort of a Goldilocks occurrence. The just right mix of leaders, followers, givers, takers, tolerance, forgiveness and caring that allow people to live together. To share space and understand everyone’s little differences; to pick up something without being asked;  to say thank you or I’m sorry all because that is just what we do. This isn’t a perfect group of kids, but they are kind in their core. There are learning disabilities that can lead to tension, but in the end, students ability to reflect on behavior and what matters has led to general peace.

Reason Two: Stress levels are currently at an all time low.  Historically, my students’ idea of school has been mixed in with the need to perform on a test, and it showed.  As a class, they were noticeably anxious. I made it a point to get them to relax, take a breath and just be aware of where they are as learners. I want them to learn it is ok, in fact necessary, to make mistakes.

Why so relaxed? It all started because the test isn’t happening till 2014-15 school year. That gave me the courage to simply teach towards the spirit of the common core. While we have discussed the new expectations as a class, nothing has been done because it will be on the test.  I have been able to simply teach; looking at where students are as learners now, and moving towards where they need to be. I have been able to allow for growth and set backs without worrying about the test. I just worry about instigating learning, figuring out how learning occurs and fostering a positive self-aware attitude toward learning.

The final reason: In a word twitter.  Because of twitter I have discovered things that have had immediate impact on my class: Genius Hour, the Global Read Aloud, Skype, and kidblog. These new projects have changed the fabric and flow of my classroom.  Aside from these very tangible things, there are countless strategies, ideas, charts, lessons that have originated from twitter, twitter chats, blogs and follow-up emails.

The most important impact of twitter has been relationships: the giving group of educators who make the difference in my psyche as I enter the classroom. The positive vibe emanating from the twitterverse is formidable. Bad days occur. I have moments of feeling like I am the worst teacher in the world. Before twitter, those dark pits took time and a lot of energy to get out of. The encouraging voices on twitter and relationships I have built because of twitter have pulled me out of those funks quickly. Twitter has changed me. It doesn’t allow me to wallow in that dark place. It reflects hope and possibility on me and in turn I reflect it on my students. It’s no surprise they are a joyful bunch.

4 thoughts on “Three Reasons Why My Classroom is Joyful

  1. Three reasons to exude joy! Classes are a bit of a challenge, but it takes just the right touch from the teachers to mix all the factors together to create a community of learners.

  2. The joy you feel is reflected back in your community of learners. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The community we experience on blogs and Twitter (I’m a newbie here) blesses us daily.

  3. It is strange how the chemistry of kids can set a mood for almost a full year. It doesn’t happen often that “kind to the core” becomes the dominant trait in a class. The low stress, no test situation happens probably even less often that positive classroom communities. Your last reason I can relate to from blogging perspective. Twitter is still a puzzle for me. Have a great new week!

  4. So true – speaking as a high school teacher, I can add that the combination of students in the class can have an incredible impact on the atmosphere and learning, even when you’re teaching students with roughly the same academic profile, same course, same day. Some groups are just easy as can be, eager, ethical, pleasant, funny – and other groups just lack that cohesion, trust, comfort. We make it work somehow as teachers who accept and appreciate every student and class, but the variability is considerable. It’s also sad to hear that the testing, or lack of testing, has so much impact on the class for a full year. Please know that it’s not that way everywhere. Teachers need to fight for policies that are reasonable, sensible, and create favorable conditions for learning every year.

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