Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Building Stamina

The transition from the freedom of summer to the routines of the school year can be difficult, even for teachers.  During the summer, I can wake up whenever my body decides I've had enough sleep.  I can eat when I'm hungry.  I can read when I want for as long as I want.  I can talk... or not.

Students, too, have this transition.

They, and I, have to build stamina to do the hard work of learning and growing.

The kids have to get used to using their Level 0 or 1 voices during the literacy studio and I have to get used to talking to both the whole class and small groups, and more importantly, giving ample wait time.  We all have to get used to eating lunch later than we might like and waiting longer than we might like to go to the bathroom.

We often think about building stamina within the definition of the literacy block.  At the beginning of the school year, students and teachers work on building stamina in silent reading.  Each day the students should be able to read without getting distracted for a longer period of time.  We might also talk about writing stamina - the length of time a student can write, which hopefully gets longer each day.

I've had to do some serious thinking about my classroom management and stamina this week.  The things that worked for me last year don't seem to be working this year.  I need to really take a step back and do some kid-watching in order to make decisions about changes we (because it will take BOTH the kids and me to change things) need to make in order to create an environment conducive to learning.  I have to remember that when I think about last year, I am remembering END of the year third graders, but the kids who are sitting in front of me are BEGINNING of the year third graders.  Some of them are just now turning eight.  I have to remember to cut us all some slack as we adjust to each other and build our learning community.

So tonight as I sit here thinking about the year so far, I am kind of ok that I need to make a course correction.  If I thought things were PERFECT, I'd be deluding myself.  Instead, I need to be realistic but also pragmatic.  I need to remember that this school year is a marathon and not a sprint.

And marathoners need stamina.