In October, as the weather changes and leaves fall, weariness begins to settle over the staff members at our elementary schools. August and September are filled with the excitement of new students and building relationships within the frenzy of BOY testing. Much like the mist during our October mornings, stress and testing data begins to permeate throughout our classrooms.
I recently ran across this quote which seemed to sum up the process:
“…weariness seemed to settle on him like a coating of dust.”
― M. Snyder
As this weariness sets in, the stress increases because the need for action continues to grow. As the end of the first nine weeks grows closer, our teachers have data on student strengths and weaknesses and it is time to begin “rolling” with a plan. A PLAN? Having the data and knowing the problem is the easy part—creating the road map and putting the plan into action is the hard part.
This blog will focus on reminding you of the amazing things YOU, as elementary teachers, accomplish the first six weeks of school by using the word—WEARY!
W is for WITNESSING and Discovering Abilities:
Gathering and digging into data can be a daunting task but elementary teachers sift through school, class and individual data to determine student strengths and needs. Tier I paperwork has been created to highlight the needs of our classrooms and plans to address these needs have been generated. You, as a grade level, have identified needs and are implementing best practices within each daily schedule to ensure that the class deficit is filled. In addition, digging deeper into data, Tier II paperwork has been created to identify needs of individual students and how to address their needs. Planning for WHO—WHAT—WHERE and DURATION of interventions and best practices to help “build” individual foundations and make the “Swiss Cheese” go away is exhausting but necessary! In addition, these plans are being implemented daily to make sure that the lowest deficits are addressed and progress monitoring happens to ensure the interventions are working! We are continuously assessing progress and adjusting instruction as needed. (W– May also stand for WOW! Think of ALL you do each day!)
E is for EMBRACING change and learning:
Flexibility is part of your day as you have to adapt. Embracing this change is a gift that you model for students. Accepting the change of education and learning the new practices, ideas and concepts being taught. Trying new ideas, adapting instruction and classroom procedures is all part of creating an inviting environment for students.
A is for ADVOCATING for student learning and needs:
Daily you advocate for your students and their needs including reaching out to the social worker or counselor to intervene with students who have an environmental or social need. New shoes, money for fieldtrips, school supplies and any other need seems to find the way to students though the recipient rarely knows their teacher was the contributor. Learning needs are met because YOU reach out, ask questions, find resources and simply give all you have to ensure learning. A—may also stand for AMAZING—that is what you are!
R is for RELATIONSHIPS:
Within six weeks, communication and trust has been built through conversations, planners, notes and simply reaching out with positive interactions. Creating relationships is difficult but elementary teachers have the ability to create open two way communication AND a sense of support within weeks of getting to know their students. Think of the ways you reach out each day—phenomenal!
Y is for YIELDING results and success:
With all that you do each day—YOU DO YIELD positive results. Think of what you have already accomplished and what your students can do that they could not do six weeks ago. YOU DO make a difference.
As the nine weeks comes to a close, take a deep breath of the crisp October air, remember that you do make a difference even among the mist of stress and weariness that is settling around you.
Please do the following:
- Take care of yourself because stress affects your hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. It can dampen your immune system; decrease your brain cells and memory.
- Ask for help when you are overwhelmed, do not understand or get behind. Support help is here to help you!
- Use your planning day to try to get a long range plan and where you want to go. Once you know the materials you need—use assistant help and tutors to help you create those materials in advance.
- Remember YOU ARE AMAZING and make a difference every day!