I think I won the teacher lottery. I don't know how long I will feel this way, and I just hope I can keep the job for as long as I do.
"ELA Lab" is our term for the remedial reading and writing course that is a "booster" class in which I can teach and strengthen fundamental reading and writing skills as well as support classroom curriculum. I have 60 students so far (the number may increase next quarter), and I see them over the course of 2 days.
Case in point: I have one former student (from last year) who was smart and cooperative during class activities last year but typically handed in poor quality work and performed poorly on the state assessment. As of last Thursday, he had not done any of the summer independent reading assignment (due tomorrow) and showed no concern whatsoever. In his words (last week and all last year), reading and writing is hard and boring. Guess what I'm going to be doing this year?!?! First, help him find interesting reading and writing content, then push him to try harder and not give up on something that takes work. As his regular ELA classroom teacher last year, I knew what he needed to do, but I was too busy with 20 other students in his class, most of whom had serious cognitive and behavioral problems. This year, in my ELA lab class, he is one of TWO students. And the never-ending overwhelming flood of papers to grade? POOF! Gone! ELA Lab does not give homework or grades, but oh students will WORK.
In summary, I think I can improve the quality of my teaching and have more fun doing what I love about being a teacher! Please don't wake me up if I'm dreaming.
The top picture was taken outside our home by my husband on our daughter's first day of second grade. That really is our kid boarding her bus, with new massive polka dot messenger bag slung across her person. The fuzziness is an authentic mistake but oh-so-convenient for blog anonymity. The bottom picture shows a part of my classroom on Friday - ball toss (popular), tangram sets (interesting but not as popular), real plant (green) and fake flowers (orange). Most popular carnival activity was ping pong. That was the best dollar I ever spent in the dollar store.