I have invited you into my classroom through this blog for more than a decade now. I hope that in all the posts about things that work, you’ve also seen the posts about things that didn’t work. The posts about having to erase all the plans and start again. The posts about real life.
My class is currently in the BeReal app craze and about three times a week, our alert goes off during class time. Rather than try to fight it, we are embracing it and we are all #beingreal together. Whether we are in the reading lounge, mid lesson, or doing an assessment. Whoever notices the alert first says “BeReal” and we send our picture. There is even going to be a yearbook page this year!
It made me think that I don’t take enough time on the blog to just #bereal. So here’s the real real on last week:
On Monday, Spanish 4 began to design their sustainable farms for the assessment on Wednesday. We had Tuesday off for election day. Pros: We had some amazing farms, I heard a ton of the new vocabulary and a lot of students embraced sustainable farming practices and sustainable proteins. Cons: The day off let kids who didn’t finish forget about the presentation day. Also… presentation day was the day of the dress rehearsal for the fall play so there were several who were missing and had to do a make up on Thursday. Not ideal. The farm presentations were great in the first class, SO MUCH SPANISH. The second class is the end of the day. They were tired, they required a lot more oversight to stay in the TL with their discussion.
Spanish 3 is wild this year. They are very high performing. I finally feel like we’re getting back to pre-pandemic proficiency levels… but in one class I have a front row who talks to each other during the song of the week, during my instructions, during EVERYTHING… and in the other I have a student who chooses to stand or sit in the back of the class rather than in their seat and three whose iPads are never charged so they always “need” to be sitting around the charger… We’re a dual enrollment college course and sometimes I struggle to not be frustrated with it all, but then I miss a day and these are the first kids to say WE MISSED YOU SO MUCH! WHERE WERE YOU?? I just remind myself that their learning looks different than the ones who “do school” in the traditional sense. (But still… AAAARRRRGH)
I have one Spanish 2 class that barely talks to me and the other is always ready to participate in everything. It makes it so hard not to compare them. It’s like when you have are teaching sibling of a former student and you have to bite your tongue so you don’t say “you’re nothing like your sister”. 🙂
Do I have trouble with cellphone use? Not too much. I do not have desks and chairs only make phones hard to hide. Do they beg me to do their BeReals… yes… so I compromise. If we can do the BeReal or do a quick Instagram based homework task, they keep the phone out of sight the rest of the hour.
Do I have trouble with kids sleeping or putting their heads down in class? As soon as I put up the tables for a writing assignment, YES. But when we are just in chairs, there are only a few. Yesterday I had one completely asleep in his chair and we were taking bets on how long he could sleep at a 45 degree angle leaning to the right before he went overboard. 🙂 He woke up and laughed. Come to find out he had something health related going on. There’s usually a story there… Last year, I had a Spanish 3 who slept every. single. day. He was working until 2 am. He just couldn’t stay awake. Spanish was the last thing on his mind, I am sure. When he WAS awake, we celebrated his presence, and when he wasn’t, we tried to be understanding.
If you watch videos of me teaching, remember that when the camera is on, the kids know they’re being recorded and they want to look like superstars. When the camera is off, they are humans. They have impulses and teen hormones. Our lives are a circus in room 305.
This has been a wonderful year. I just love my students and the progress they’re making down the proficiency path… but that does NOT mean it’s a perfect year. In order to #bereal, I have to admit that they talk over CNN10, one student goes to the bathroom for 15 minutes 3 days a week, a student who I had really hoped to reach this year dropped out, and they know exactly how to push my buttons a lot of days.
I am an NBCT which designates me a “Master Teacher”… but in teaching there is never mastery. We have to constantly be willing to grow, change, learn from our peers and our students, and be open and honest about reflecting on our practice. I hope that through this reflection, you can see that classrooms are NEVER perfect. They’re always a collection of imperfect humans doing their best every day.
Thank you so much for being real!! So hard to not cross the line from being inspired to being overly critical of myself in comparison to Superstars like you! Nice to be reminded that none of us is perfect! 😄💕
I have a lot of ideas, but at the end of the day I am trying and failing/trying and succeeding in the classroom every day too! I think that is one of the things that has helped keep me “experimenting” through the years. If there were a magic formula that made school life perfect, we could bottle it and be bazillionaires!! We train to teach students in a sterile environment, but the real world is like an ER. There is all kinds of trauma and so many other things pulling their attention. We have to learn to roll with the punches and not take it personally when things are not going 100% our way!! I ALSO have days when I get too critical of myself. Should I make them all sit up straight and stare straight ahead… and then they vote me most influential teacher in the school and I’m like… nope, honor them right where they are. The Spanish is secondary to their social and emotional well-being. Give yourself TONS of grace and then that will trickle over to them as well!! That may be the top key to classroom success?? Bottomless boatloads of grace. 🙂
Thank you! Such a pleasure to read your blog. So appreciative of your candid reflection!
You listed so many issues that I have too. It made me feel less alone. Thanks!
Yep! Sounds like my kiddos on any given day. (I gotta find out more about this #BeReal.)