I spent the last two days with a class of fourth graders.

First day: power flickered regularly for the first couple of hours, winds were strong and an announcement made AFTER students were in the building that teachers should have their walkie-talkies on standby in case the power went out… the kids were pretty on edge for a while.

Second day: At our house it wasn’t even sprinkling. By the time we reached the high school to drop off our son it was snowing lightly. By the time Tom dropped me off at my assignment school it was snowing heavily. So the kids came in (a little randomly as some buses hadn’t been on time/able to get to all their stops) already feeling a bit “off” — and then a special program for parents mid-day, with treats… the kids were pretty on edge (snow) and then very excited (performance), and then overly tired from adrenaline/sugar overload.

Fourth graders can handle the pressure!

Both days, I explained to the kids that I knew what we were doing, that I knew what to do if things changed, and then I set clear expectations that I enforced. A lot less enforcement needed on day two even though it was actually a more difficult energy day.

Both days, there were only minor incidents between kids, easily addressed.

Both days, there were only minor attempts to flout rules, which were easily addressed.

Both days, I had a really good time; and most of the kids had a really good time, too.

Both days, I actually knew what I was doing in terms of teaching, and I became a lot more comfortable thinking ahead and pre-addressing misconceptions. I am not “there” yet at this grade level, but I can see where I need to be, and think that with a week or two to develop a sense for where each and all students are I would be proficient at explaining tasks and concepts at this level. I think my biggest issue these past two days was just not knowing what vocabulary and prior knowledge were in play in the room. As I figured these two factors out, things got smoother.

My feet… today I stood and walked almost the entire time kids were in the classroom. My shoes aren’t bad, but I think when I have my own classroom I will definitely invest in a couple of cushiony floor mats for the places I stand while presenting.

I really love teaching. It’s a good week!

And that is what I have to say about the week so far.

2 Interactions on “Fourth Graders

  1. Thanks for the advice! I am going to see what I can find that would be comfortable as well as professional looking — maybe I can start out wearing the boots I prefer and switch to the comfy mary jane style I bought for my broken toe on the days I stand too long.

    🙂 Of course having extra shoes available will be easier when it’s my own classroom…

  2. My sister taught elementary school for a thousand years and she said the trick was to have 3 pairs of shoes at school. When her feet began to get tired she would just change shoes. The average day was a 3 shoe day. 🙂

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