Friday, September 9, 2011

A Lot of Changes

So... this blog has been long neglected, but one of my best friends Eunice recently started a blog about her teaching experiences in New York, and she inspired me to get back into the habit of blogging about teaching! :)

This is a new year, and I am in a new teaching placement! Same school, just a different job. Last year was my first year of teaching, and I was an ESL teacher. This year, I am teaching 1st grade. Man, it is really different! I think the biggest difference is flexibility - as a classroom teacher, the time with your kids is all day (except for specials and lunch) and whatever needs to be done is your responsibility. I felt that as an ESL teacher I had a lot more flexibility and I kind of miss being able to move around from classroom to classroom, but right now, I also enjoy having my own group of kids.

There are exciting days where I see tons of growth and exhausting days where I sometimes wonder why I chose teaching in the first place. But the exciting days far outweigh the exhausting days.

One cool thing that happened today was that I taught my students about 9/11. My students were born after 9/11, so when I posed this question to them, "When you hear 9/11, do you think of anything? What have you heard about 9/11?" I was met with blank stares. My students seriously had no clue why 9/11 was significant. I told them briefly where I was during 9/11 ten years ago, and a few facts about what happened. I chose a book "The Fireboat" to read to them (it's a fabulously written children's book that tells the 9/11 story in an age-appropriate way) and my students had a lot of really good questions. It was a really profound discussion because I think my students have never really thought about the fact that anger and hate can sometimes drive people to hurt others - the book doesn't really go into that but it is something we discussed briefly. One child told me he wanted to cry when he thought about it - the whole thing made him sad. This discussion really reminded me of how significant the whole event was - I got a tiny bit emotional as I was talking about it, and I think my students sensed it too. Our school did a moment of silence over the intercom, and my students did great - they understood what it was for and everyone was respectful.

What a great thing it is to be a teacher, and teach these young kids about all sorts of history and skills that they will take with them for life!

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