Saturday, April 6, 2013

Preparing for the final stretch

     Spring break is coming to an end and the final quarter of the year starts on Monday. I decided to work both optional workdays this week to try to get ahead for the upcoming weeks.  When I walked into my classroom the first workday my room was a complete mess.

       Thursday I wrote out a to-do list and tried to knock out as much as I could.  By 4:30 I realized that there was no way I would get lessons planned and my room organized so I decided to work again Friday.  I am so thankful I did as I got everything I wanted to accomplished. I planned a poetry unit which will last me at least 3 weeks and I wrote out 2 weeks of Social Studies lesson plans. Walking out of the building on Friday was a huge relief.

Although it isn't completely clean, being able to see the table is so nice!
Compared to the before picture, this is a major improvement!

Decided to try groups again, hopefully this isn't a huge mistake at the end of the year.
Bulletin board I created for my poetry unit.  The leaves have the vocabulary
they will be learning.  On the trunk of a tree I will post a new poem each day we will read together.
      Third quarter was very hard for me.  My students lacked motivation to learn and their behavior was just terrible.  This seemed to be the same for most teachers in our school.  It really started to suck the love of teaching right out of me.  There were times when I questioned whether or not I could even do this for another year.
    Once those thoughts started going through my head I had to take some time to step back and look at why I was so unhappy.  Before starting my first full year I had these big dreams of getting every student in the room to be excited to learn, to become teacher of the year, to never have to give any failing grades, to have parents who supportive and wanted to help.  The reality is that those dreams were just a set up for a big let down and there probably isn't one first year teacher in the world who could actually accomplish all of those things.  Sure this year has been stressful and not what I expected but without challenges in life there would never be room to grow.
   That being said, I decided in order to bring back my love for teaching I have to change myself, not the kids.  Being able to get ahead on lessons and having a reorganized room will help me with a fresh start for the last quarter.  I also wrote my students a letter that I will be giving them on Monday.  It pretty much says that I want to make the last quarter the best that we can and that I have a lot of exciting things planned. My students could tell by the end of the last quarter that I was getting burnt out and I want them to see that we can all come back from Spring break refreshed and ready to give it our all.  I've been having long talks with God to help me back this quarter much better.  I'll be entering the classroom Monday with excitement in my eyes and hope that I can it returned from even just a few students.
   Good luck to everyone else as we are all on the final stretch!


  1. Wow you sound like an incredible teacher- I'm sure the kids will definitely pick up on your rejuvenated excitement. I'm sure we all have ridiculously high expectations of ourselves as teachers but we need to cut ourselves some slack too.
    I LOVE your poet-ree, that is such a cool idea! I may need to make my own tree for our room!

    A great tip a reliever game me a couple of years ago that works is- to clean the desks buy a couple of cans of cheap shaving creme, put a bit squirt on each desk and let the kids spread it all out so there's a good layer all the way across, then have a basic fact (e.g. multiplication) quiz where they stand by their desks and you call out questions. They have to write the answers as quickly as they can with their finger in the shaving cream, then after about 5 get them to quickly check their answers with someone next to them, then wipe them off (smear the shaving creme around)and repeat- the kids LOVE it, and it really doesn't matter if they get them right or not- it's the rubbing of the creme into the desks that gets them really clean. At the end each kid just wipes off their desk with a cloth or paper towel and ta-da your desks are spotless!

    Good luck on Monday! I'm sure your last quarter will be amazing!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  2. Hi Jamie! I'm so glad you found my blog! From the sound of this post, whole brain teaching is JUST what you need!! You don't have to wait until next year! The scoreboard is an amazing motivator, and SO easy to use. If you're on Facebook go to

    It's a brand new page we just set up to help middle school teachers implement WBT. You can earn certification points to become a Board Certified instructor in WBT, as well as hear from other middle school teachers that are using it. I'm one of the admins of thesite - I'd love to help you in any way that I can!

    Don't lose hope! You sound like a very passionate, caring person - your students need you! ;) I am going to follow your blog, please feel free to follow mine. Good luck to you!!

  3. When I make to do lists I try to put time estimates next them so I am more reasonable about what I can accomplish in the time I have. I'm a NC blogger too (that's how I found you). I'm your newest follower. Follow me too at Mrs. Harris Teaches Science!

    Mrs. Harris


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