New School Year: Resetting Priorities and Teacher Introspection

It’s been a long time, but I am back.

Where have I been all this time?

Probably where you have been as well, in the classroom.

The new school year kicked off for me in late August and there were some big changes. I moved grade levels from Grade 2 to Grade 1. I moved floors and classrooms in the school. There were a lot of changes.

The biggest change for me came on the first day of school when twenty-five new Grade Ones entered my room. Twenty-five children between the ages of five and six. Twenty-five children coming from different educational, cultural and family settings. They were energetic and for the most part, had one thing in common; a lack of English-speaking ability.

There were immediate challenges. Many students struggled to cope with rules and routines. Many students struggled with basic classroom and social expectations.

This class would prove to be a challenge for me right from the get-go.

I have been teaching for a long time and have a great deal of confidence with my abilities to deliver curriculum, build rapport and create community, but I was stretched and tested to even my limits.

The first few weeks of school were bumpy and those around me noticed my struggles. Those around me noticed a clear change in my personality. Those around me noticed my inability to check my frustrations.

Things had to change for the students in my room and me as a teacher.

Support came my way. My colleagues sat down with me and we had some meaningful and very open dialogue.

In an earlier post on this blog, I talked about the importance of being a reflective practitioner.

It was now time again for me to become that reflective teaching practitioner.

We developed strategies, created more rigid rules and routines in my class and I made a shift in my thinking and way of looking at things.

Fast forward a few months. The month of October is coming to an end and my class no longer tests or stretches me. They listen, they work and our community is warm and safe.

I am now a more relaxed educator who has rediscovered the joy in coming to class each and every morning.

Twenty-five little ones are now and a journey towards success and I’m happily guiding them on that journey.




About the Writer:

Kevin O’Shea is a PYP/Nature/Outdoor educator currently based in Beijing, China. He is a father, husband, and avid conservationist. Kevin is an advocate for outdoor play and nature education.  He is the host of the long-running Just Japan Podcast and is currently developing the Making Better Teachers Podcast!

Twitter: @MadForMaple


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