Kelly and I are back for part 2 of our blog series on having an effective student/mentor teacher relationship. Make sure to check out Kelly's point of view on her adorable blog as well. Word on the street is that she is giving away some freebies from her TPT store.
Ok, I will be honest and say that I have no idea what Kelly Anne is going to talk about in her blog post about co-teaching this week. I thought about flat-out asking her or waiting until she posted, but I decided I would just talk about starting the year from my view-point when I was student teaching and then see (just like all you will have to do) what Kelly has to say. So here it goes….
Last week, Kelly and I talked about our first thoughts of each other and getting to know each other in the weeks before school. It was great… It was bliss (besides that whole west nile thing)… It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship… and then… those fifth graders showed up on the first day of school. Don’t get me wrong, our fifth graders were A-MAZ-ING, but I was freaking out. I was just standing around while Kelly did all the important stuff, but I was still nervous that whole entire day. I’m still not sure how long it took for the nervousness to go away, but it did eventually. And if you are a student teacher out there, I swear it will get better…. I mean, at least until you have to take over the class… then it just happens all over again :)
Anyways…. Back to the first day. Kelly was brilliant. And let me tell you how I know she was briliant, not only with the kids, but with me as well.
I am embarking on my very first day of school as a teacher tomorrow. Yep! Tomorrow! Eeek! I am however in a different set of mind than I was last year, because I am embarking on this journey in my own classroom and without Kelly (WAAAHHHH). But by having to do this on my own this time around has made me think back to Kelly during that first few weeks and let me tell you something…. She was incredible.
She created a beautiful community with her kids from day one. I still can remember how the kids came in will ALL their supplies and Kelly just told them to put everything down, to push their tables back, and make a circle on the floor. The very first thing we did was a community building activity to get to know each other. Next, we organized supplies, and then another community building activity. Then we had a short “brain break” outside, and then another community building activity. From day one, those kids were already starting to work like a team. Not only did she start to form a team within her classroom, but she found ways to include me in activities so students would start to view me as a classroom teacher and role model as well. Speaking from someone who is a complete control freak, I can’t imagine giving someone else this type of role from day one. But she did.
That is one of the most amazing things about Kelly. She would put me in rolls for my sake, not for her sake. She had more faith in me than I did and would just say “Ok you’re going to do morning meeting” (baby steps) and then moved onto “You’re going to teach for four weeks instead of two” (this girl is convincing). She would suggest, not tell me, what I should do. She would allow me to try new things, so that I could discover what did and didn’t work for me. She let me be on my own (In her classroom! With her kids! Who get tested on this stuff!) for weeks at a time so I could figure it all out. (Did I mention, this was only her third year of teaching? The woman is a saint, I tell ya!) And most importantly, she was so supportive and positive from the very beginning. I know it had to be so hard for her at times to leave me and eventually I did have a minor (or maybe even major) breakdown with some classroom management issues. It was hard! But again, Kelly was so supportive and helpful (even though she probably wanted to be like “I will take it from here kid.”) She helped me sort it all out and I learned so much more from the experience than I would have had she not supported me like she did.
The greatest part about the whole process came from when I FINALLY handed the class back to Kelly. And it wasn’t just because I was done teaching those darn kids! :) It was because I was able to watch Kelly with a whole new outlook on teaching. Before I took over the class I had no idea how many decisions a teacher made in a day, how many decision CHANGES a teacher made in a day, how difficult it to manage a classroom of 24 fifth graders and then actually get them to learn something in process.
I was able to watch all that she had done before, but with a whole new outlook on teaching. I think this is one of the things that makes student teaching (and eventually co-teaching) so powerful. We read literature, go to conferences, borrow (ok, basically steal) ideas from other educators online. And all of that works, but one of the best resources teachers have available to them is other teachers. Just think our best resource is in the exact same building that we spend most of our lives.
I was lucky enough to spend a whole year, as opposed to just a semester, learning from one of the best resources out there. A teacher, and friend, who allowed me to steal, change, admire, and implement all of her beautiful ideas that will impact me for the rest of my life. Ironically, that part of my life starts tomorrow. It probably won’t be as beautiful as Kelly’s first day last year, but if there is anything I learned from Kelly is that we take those moments and we learn from them. And if all else fails, I will just call Kelly :)
And of course, don't forget to check out Kelly's point of view. (I'm headed over there now to see what she posted hehe). Click here and head on over.
And since Kelly is being so awesome and giving away some freebies from her store, I will do the same (I learn from the best). The first 5 people to comment on my post before Tuesday night will get my back to school community building packet for free. Just leave a comment with your email address and I will send it to you! See, we still make a great team :).