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Well, ladies and our few gentlemen, we are all just weeks or for some of us, days away from starting over with a fresh batch of kids. Is this when a lot of you, like me, seriously question your career choice?! I LOVE my babies once we are a month or so into school but the first few weeks are painful...as in FULL.OF.PAIN. for everyone! The kids are exhausted and somewhat bewildered- we wear them out, don't we? And of course, being much older, we are definitely worn OUT. That being said, the only way and I mean THE ONLY WAY to start off the year is with PROCEDURE, PROCEDURE, PROCEDURE. Did I hear AMEN?! Did I?
After my first and somewhat, disastrous, but chock-full-of-lessons-learned First Year back to teaching, I spent that summer seriously re-evaluating the year. I knew things had to change and my sweet friend, Lana, told me I needed to WONG it. I am sure that most all of you are aware and have probably read Harry Wong's book but after staying home with my girls for many, many years he was fresh news to me. His directions are clear, simple and repetitive. This works for children but it also works for us, doesn't it?
Children need to know EXACTLY what to do when it is time to line up, go to the bathroom, go to lunch, what to do when they have a question, how to walk through the hallway, how to sit on the carpet during whole group, what to do if the kid next to them won't.stop.bothering.them, etc. If you SHOW them, model all of these procedures, have them practice, practice, practice then the answers are clear. They feel more sure of themselves and you start to form a group.
I re-read this book right before school starts every year just as a re-fresher and it makes such a difference. The single best advice I give to new teachers, students teachers or elementary ed majors is to READ THIS BOOK. The more confident children feel about clear, succinct, simple and oft-repeated directions and procedures for doing everything, the more smoothly they are able to function as a class, a team. This allows everyone to work together and for those having difficulty, the consequences are plain and upfront-no surprises. I love it!
By the way, thank you all for your very sweet comments about my husband's deployment to Afghanistan. I so appreciate them and all of your prayers. It means a great deal to our family. Thank you so very much. That is just another reason to love blogging-you meet so many wonderful people! Thank you for taking a moment to write-you are amazing!