Writing blog articles is a blessing and a curse. Blessing- expressing my opinion about current educational topics through exposure of my teaching practice. Curse- finding a new topic to write about each month that is newsworthy. So I wrestled with my topic of this article for a week, and I was coming up empty-handed. Then I taught a mini-lesson in Writing this morning which encouraged students to identify small moments in their lives to create great stories about. The lightbulb went off right as I began the lesson- why not write about my small moments in teaching?? What I think as small moments in the classroom, when internalized and reflected upon, are actually big moments for me as a teacher. So I spent the day journaling the small moments that had powerful lessons for me as a teacher. Here they are…….
As I was teaching my mini-lesson in Writing, I gave each student a sticky note and prompted them to write one small moment that occurred to them during the weekend which could become a great story. One of the students couldn’t think of anything, and when I asked him to write about his bike, he burst into tears and yelled at me, “Remember, it’s in storage!” This particular student is in foster care, and he is dealing with a mom in prison, an abusive father, and extended family who are recovering from a traumatic car accident. Reminding him of a small moment which was ripped away from him was very insensitive for me as a teacher. Lesson #1: remember to be sensitive to your students’ histories and feelings when encouraging them to write about happy moments in life.
Later on in the day, another student came up to me. She was jumping up and down and wiggling a very loose tooth. “Mith Moberg, I have a looth tooth,” she excitedly said while doing some primitive tooth dance and smiling from ear to ear. I had to pause and just soak up her joy. Lesson #2– savor your students’ small moments of happiness- what you think is small can be a really huge event in their life. Remember the value of perspective!
Throughout the day, a very sensitive girl had a rough time following the rules and ended up earning negative consequences. She was frustrated, I was frustrated, and it just wasn’t a great day. As we waited outside the school for the parents to pick up the students, she began sobbing about how the day went. She and I had a heart-to-heart about our goals for her behavior for tomorrow, and the wild sobbing ceased. Lesson #3– remember to pull aside the students who had a rough day to remind them of the beauty of tomorrow- perfectly fresh with no mistakes!
Another student cried for an hour about a sore ear. Lesson #4– the nurse is your best friend.
Turkey hot dogs. Lesson #5– note that turkey hot dogs will cause mass bathroom issues later in the day from all students. Turkey isn’t worth it. It disrupts the learning environment.
In reality, I have about 50 small moments I could continue to write about from just today in the classroom, but that would involve writing a book. I know that you, the teachers, have similar and even crazier small moments which pop up throughout the day, every day! What is your most memorable moment which taught you a valuable lesson?
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