Thursday, September 06, 2007

First two days of school report

So far, so good. I had a kid stick his nametag to his ass and go, "Mr. Grant, I NAMED MY BUTT!", but other than that it's been pretty uneventful.

My team was almost completely changed this year. There were 4 first grade teachers last year. 2 of them moved up to 2nd grade, the other is doing a K/1 combo this year, and so that leaves me in the driver's seat with three good people who have never taught first grade before.

It's a different world down here in the primary grades. Last year the three newbies were in 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade respectively, and (ha!) they actually thought they'd try to do some worksheets and assessing on the first day of school. That's when I shared my first day schedule, which is roughly an hour of recess, and hour of eating, and 4 hours of talking about what we do and how we do it.

"You don't do any real teaching on the first day?" one asked me, with visible shock.

"Well, it's not academic teaching, per se," I replied, "But it's the teaching that you have to do to get through the school year. Please trust me on this if you trust me on nothing else--every second that you spend now on teaching rules and procedures will pay off in hours of instructional time that you don't lose to behavior as the year goes on."

They're also discovering that first graders don't exactly transition the way that big kids do. In 5th grade, for example, it's theoretically possible to come in from recess, put on your PE shoes, and get to the gym in a 3 to 5 minute time period.

In first grade, that's a good thirty minutes. Oh yes. Once, in a drunken moment of weakness, I told God that I would rather the parents taught their kids to tie their shoes than read with them, and I'll still admit that there are days when I have to grit my teeth really, really hard, because when the Knotless Horde descends you have a better appreciation for how those 300 Spartans felt facing the Persian empire.

"TEACHER! I can't tie my shoes."
(sigh) "OK, honey, come here...."
"Teacher, I can't tie my shoes either!"
"Wait your turn, please."
"Teacher, I can't find my shoes!"
"Stop. Just, stop. First, it's Mr. Grant. Second, your shoes are over there by Bobby's desk where you left them. Third, have Suzie tie your shoes, because she knows how and I don't want to. Meh."

(The meh is very important. It may not be found in Webster's, but a simple meh can communicate more than you'd think)

The good fight continues, now until June.



Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

I don't know how you do it. I consciously made the decision NOT to get certified for Kindergarten after subbing it so many times. It drove me crazy how long it took to do a very simple task, like pack up backpacks for he bus. Oh good gracious I was going nuts! At least my 7th graders can manage that in about 2 minutes, not 30!

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very funny! We need shoe-tying foundations, eh?


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7:02 AM  

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