powerful moments in education
Sand, beach, blanket, books, teachers, friends. On the shore each summer, we truly tackle the tough stuff. I believe the world will never understand what happens in souls of teachers over summer break. We reflect, reflect, discuss, reflect…and so much of it here in New Hampshire, for me anyway, happens on the beach. It is time well spent, soaking in Vitamin D while restructuring elementary literacy frameworks between tides and seagulls. And you thought we took the summer off… Seriously, though, we lay there and think-think-think- and think some more…questions and discussions emerge…???What wasn’t working last year, why, what will change, how will it change, how did you do it, have you heard of this, maybe experiment with that???, I have a book for you….and so on.
My grand plan this year, birthed from sun and sand, was to have a weekly chart where I filled in groups with which I was going to do literacy strategy group, leaving spaces for student-initiated conference sign-ups. The latter was in place last year in my classroom and really worked well. My newfound “solution” came from the idea that kids didn’t know when they would be working with me, so if I decided that day that they needed me, I thought maybe they weren’t mentally prepared, maybe they resented me for not just leaving them alone with their book or Writers’ Notebook. My natural rhythm at times felt disorganized, creating groupings based on my intuition and observations of that day- I knew it made sense to do so, but I lost track of my ideas and notes about what the focus would be. Luckily, I stumbled upon an App for my iPad called Confer (check it out!), and this quickly solved many of my note-taking issues. There- that would do it! At the start of the week I can use my notes from the previous week and create a schedule- then THEY will know and I will know and everyone will be happy!
All of which brings me to why I am mentally exhausted, frustrated, and contemplative at 6 pm on a Monday night, when I should be turning my brain off from school. However, I couldn’t wait to process this via writing, something I will probably end up teaching tomorrow. What frustrated me today was that I tried to create a balance- I tried to organize my intuition.
Like holding water, friends, like holding water….
Yeah. That lasted all of 10 minutes today. By the time I worked through individual conferences, I noticed even more literacy misconceptions, behaviors, or lack thereof, that needed to be addressed that week. Defeated in the face of my grand plan, I took down my schedule templates which were hanging so neatly from my new magnetic cabinet.
In retrospect, I knew it wouldn’t work. But it brings a new question to be explored: How DOES an intuitive teacher keep organized? If teachers like me have general boundaries, goals for the week, yet may work in curly-queues in lieu of straight lines, how is that managed? I sat down today hoping to find the answer to that question, but I didn’t even know yet what it was.
After my self discovery regarding following my intuition last week, I decided to Google it. Teaching intuition, I Googled, and did not get very much. I did, however, come across a teacher who wrote and published her own book through Xlibris, an online self-publishing service. I 100% agree with the quote, taken from the article:“Now more than ever, teachers need to develop and use intuition. There is a need to adapt this new style because of several reasons: the great mobility of students; the fast pace of changes and innovations; and the many problems which teachers confront everyday. Teachers need quick, ready answers and solutions which only intuitive teaching can provide. Intuition always takes people to the right direction and supplies answers to all problems in an instant.”
Now I have the question that needs to be answered- and I will spend some time with that question while decompress, gliding in my blue chair, or harvesting the garden.