I thought I'd take a few moments to share with you a letter I wrote to myself about this upcoming school year. It was actually an assignment from the Whole Brain Teaching Book Club. Like I said before, I highly recommend reading the book, being involved with the study, and WBT in general. This letter asked us to reflect on two of the seven common teaching mistakes and how we are going to avoid those mistakes this school year.
I know you were convicted by quite a few of those common teaching mistakes, but let’s zoom in on the two that made you cringe. I know it hurts, but trust me, you’ll be a better teacher for addressing these issues.
First, “disorganized teachers breed chaotic classrooms.” Seriously, shoving papers into cabinets, frantically searching for the lesson plan you spent hours on, wading through the sea of materials on the horseshoe table, it’s all got to stop. Not only does it disrupt the flow of your lessons, but it gives your students permission to disengage.
Second, more time needs to be put into your class outside of class. I know you’re exhausted, I know some days you just have to get out of there, but what are you sacrificing in the process? “If you don’t pay the price before you step into the classroom, you’ll pay the price as you fumble through shoddy lessons.”
Here are a few suggestions to help stop the chaos: Label where everything needs to go, and then put things where they need to be right away. Make an end of the day routine to follow after the students leave, and follow it. Things to include in the routine are writing the next day’s learning targets, getting all materials copied and ready, cleaning your teacher spaces, etc. Meredith, you’re really great at creating organizational routines, but not so great at following through with them. These are small, manageable goals that will keep you feeling confident and keep your challenging students away from “CHALLENGING STUDENT HEAVEN.”
You are a great teacher who loves her children. I know you can be an even better teacher who shows her love by implementing harmony through her organization, hard work outside of school, and follow through.