This week the instructional day was shortened due to parent-student conferences. Change in routine can be disruptive and uncomfortable, but it can also create an opportunity for growth.
First, the simple– PE was done at the start, rather than the end of the day. A large part of me hated the idea. Another part of me said, consider it an experiment. We’d talked about the possibility of exercise before class. Would it be beneficial? Get the blood flowing so to speak.
The cool but sunny weather was perfect for stretching and a 10-minute walk, jog. Afterward, we entered the classroom noticeably quiet. Almost calm. Was it the exercise? Later in the week, I asked students for their thoughts.
There was a fair amount of, “Yes! It’s much better than the afternoon when it’s hot.”
There was a lot of head nodding and “it feels good” comments.
As well as, “Can we still play games on Friday?
Exercise doesn’t come up as one of those strategies for teaching reading and writing. But I know my focus is greatly improved after exercise. This disruption in our long engrained schedule was a good thing. Time for a change.
Now, the complex — During parent conferences, students shared their writing process and product. From what I could determine, this was joyous. Students had outdone themselves with revision. Comments like, “I thought I was done, and then I realized…” warmed my teacher-writer heart. Students would read their work aloud, see a needed change, and on their own, fix it with their parent beside them. Students shared their blog posts. Some boasted of being a top blogger. Students read their reading responses and commented on how they did it.
Parents asked: What can I do to help my child?
That’s easy. Read with them, read their writing, talk to them.
Parents asked: Are they where they should be?
That’s tough. I believe where students should be is on a trajectory of consistent growth. But that’s not what the parent is asking. And, I understand. It’s every parent’s concern. These kiddos are going off to middle school next year. That’s a scary time. They’re worried. Will they make it?
For a short period in a child’s life, a teacher defines a child’s learning space and has a hand in how they develop as a learner. That’s a very big deal.
Which leads to the most difficult question: Are you (the teacher) doing enough?
I ask myself that question all the time. But do I ask it with the focus on that one child, their child?
Painful questions, but an opportunity to be a better teacher for their child.
This week I celebrate the unexpected growth that can come with change. Read more celebrations here on Ruth Ayres Discover Play Build link up.
6 thoughts on “Celebrate: Change”
I know you had a long week and you’ve come away with a positive attitude. Recharge your batteries with some me-time this weekend.
Your questions for yourself are pretty powerful here. Are we the best teacher for each child each day? Such a complex ever changing question. Morning exercise seems pretty powerful. I appreciate the opportunity to get my students out at different times of the day,
Michael Opitz (perhaps with Michael Ford, can’t remember), has research about the connection between exercise and reading progress.
That early exercise feels good to me. Older students don’t have recess anymore so starting with shaking up the body helps. I always felt energized after the conferences, and love your descriptions of what the kids said and did. Movement forward, the next step, however one describes it seems an answer to me. I know every teacher feels stretched to do more, especially when the kids are going to leave for that larger next step. A lot also depends on the choices the student makes, asking questions, listening to the teachers’ expectations, etc. As you wrote, Julieanne, “complex”. Have a restful weekend!
The brain needs change to keep growing. Interesting thoughts on P.E. times. Development is so different between kids. You are such a caring teacher. Unfortunately not all teachers reflect on each child to determine the right path for that student. I would want my child in your class.
I just loved the story of that morning outing…it’s freezing here, or else I’d try that with my kids for sure!