Saturday, March 10, 2012

Math Work Stations Journey, continues

I am stuck!  I am reflecting on my attempt to implement Math Work Stations and it has been more of a challenge than I expected and I am reflecting on why?  Are there other teachers out there who are struggling?  I want to meet and collaborate with them!  It helps me to collaborate!  I learn so much from others and there is something inspirational and freeing in that moment when I discover that someone is having some of the same struggles!  A sort of 'ah-ha...hey, I'm having that SAME issue!" I have searched many blogs, and, while I find their successes inspiring and hopeful for where I wish I were, there is a piece of me that finds  myself feeling lonely and wondering what I am missing. 
     I also know that when I keep asking 'why', I usually have to face my own self and push to be 100% honest with myself.  Then, I am pushed to the point of naming the problem, which in turn means that I..and only I...can make the changes to solve the problem! 
     There are some things that I know need to change, but, the environment I find myself in does not have me trusting that I will be able to make some of the changes I think would help.  Feeling this way (hands tied), has me feeling I just want to throw my hands up and give up!  wow!  Did I just write that?!  
     I will not give up, I will reflect more, identify changes that can work along with what my kids need and figure out how to make Math Work Stations coordinate with what the data gathering/producing tools measure! 
     If anyone reads this...please leave a comment, advice, etc that might be helpful!  Thanks! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Importance of Positive work environment

I did not have the greatest week...without getting into too many details publicly, let's just say, in all of my 23 years of being an educator, I have never felt the way I felt this week!  As a human being, my natural inclination is to seek out answers and solutions to problems.  I love to figure out things and to make things work well.  This is personally and professionally!  So, with that said, I almost went into a tail-spin of self-doubt!
My experience is a complete learning experience but the negative effect it had on me trickled into my classroom, to my home, to my interactions with others and I did not like's not me!  This (I'll call it what I believe it to be) NONSENSE has me reflecting on our profession and the environment we work in, the effect it has on us and how that effects our students!  I was so negatively affected that I did not have passion, love, a positive attitude and I was stressed out.  I found myself so frustrated and angry, I caused one of my children emotional pain.  As soon as the ugly attitude and words came out the child burst into tears...I felt awful!  I immediately apologized, I hugged her, I told her I was wrong in acting in such a way and I should never have allowed my feelings to get the best of me. I told her I love her and that the way I acted was not about her, it was my bad feelings and me not controlling them.   I apologized to my class for being a crabby teacher.  I told them that I didn't mean for my feelings to get the best of me and I owed them all an apology.  Talk about kids being forgiving!  Hugs, and more hugs...and "I hope you feel better!"  (Me too!)
     That moment, this day,.... does not have anything directly connected to Math Work Stations...or does it?  We did not have time for them!  Part of the pressure I am feeling is the directive to PM math, and Dibels weekly!  My job is tied to the success of my students and  I went into panic mode!  How does all of this 'assessment' ever allow us time to reflect and effectively plan?   I don't feel like I am allowed the time to provide my students the experience of Math Work Stations.  I feel more like I don't have time to reflect and plan for them.  How many other teachers out there are in a situation where they would love to be doing more as a teacher, but, the craziness of all this assessment is curtailing their creativity? 
How important is the work environment to the success of students?  Do schools with positive work environments and happy teachers have higher achieving students?  Have schools had administrative changes that created negative or positive environmental changes and student achievement reflect that?
How do we create and protect positive learning environment so our students reach their highest potential?  wow...
Sorry for the long winded post...but, WOW!  what a week!