The routine of the school year has fallen into place, expectations known, procedures down. We've gotten used to the early morning arrivals, and the long days shuffling through the schedule. I know my students and they know me. The honeymoon is over.
While I have yet to have any marked discipline issues with the "just wait until you get this group" group, I am begining to see their true colors. The boys who would rather draw than listen and participate. The girls who are caught in the boy drama. The ones who don't get enough sleep each night and tend to nod in class. The readers when they ought not to be reading. The non-readers who find every excuse not to read. The bathroom wanderers. The "I don't have a pencil" chronics.
So begins my own training of how to best meet all those diverse needs in an ever changing classroom. I have to capture the attention of those who are determined not to be caught, engage them long enough to hook them, and then drag them along the lesson until the message sinks in. I have to be ever vigilant, wandering, hovering, noticing, redirecting, and complimenting. To me, that is the most difficult part of my job.
In my mind, in my own school experience, the teacher shouldn't have to be the redirector so constantly as some of these kiddos demand. School IS their job, their task at hand, and they should be sticking with it until they meet success. My job is to be their guide, suggesting the direction they should take and remaining close to offer guidance along the way. For many of my students though, I feel as if I am steering a large barge down a narrow canyon of rushing whitewater rapids, unable to waiver even for a moment least I lose them, crashing violently into the craggy rock walls.