I completed my first three days of teaching and I'm still standing. I met every child in the school last week, all 320 of them. I think I had this idea going in that if I just read up enough on starting the school year, and just created enough clear rules and procedures that everything would go perfectly. Everything did not go perfectly. I had many of the same struggles that I had when I was student teaching. I still find the Kindergarteners very difficult to manage, especially since I have them at the end of the day when they are very tired. Last week I found that I could be successful in gaining the kindergartener's attention, but not in maintaining it. I had some of the feelings I've felt in the past; namely that I'm fighting against a current rather than channeling it. My goal for this year is to learn to direct the energy of the children rather than to fight against it.
Even though I had hoped (erroneously) that I would be able to start the year with everything in perfect order, I came away from my first week feeling encouraged. The children were so sweet and earnest, I loved watching them become animated when they engaged in their artwork. My mantra for this year is to be kind to myself as I experiment with ways to best manage the children in my classroom. The art lessons do not worry me; this is the part that gives me so much joy- coming up with what to do next and creating examples for the children to see. It's that management that's always been a challenge for me and that will be my focus this year.