I am starting my year with a break from checking social media. (I am partial to Facebook and Instagram these days.) I want to cut down on my distractions when classes begin, but I still have a few days of my winter break left. It turns out that blogging is a good outlet for this time, and it gives me a chance to reflect on my long-term substitute position in first grade.
I made "magic" playdough for the kids to take home on the first day of school. Even though they attended a full-day kindergarten, they still needed time to adjust to first grade. I watched them all learn and grow during my 15 weeks as their teacher.
My fall turned out busier than I expected, and October was a hard month for me. Our school district does not have any breaks during that month. I was tired after working on all the things to start a new school year and running parent-teacher conferences for the first time. Luckily some conversations with my mom and with a friend in education were very helpful. I made it through a challenging month and continued to enjoy my time with the students.
I have a few pictures that I can from the fall. I worked in an established classroom and was fortunate to have plenty of supplies and materials. I learned that after the classrooms are cleaned over the summer, the teacher gets to set up the furniture.
August when I arrived:
November on a busy day:
Halloween week was a fun one for us in first grade. I was a little nervous about trick-or-treat falling on a Monday, but it worked out. Two of the crafty teachers made emoji shirts for the staff to wear.
On Tuesday, I tried to work in an interactive math lesson to keep their attention. The kids loved solving math problems on their desks with dry erase markers. (Everything cleaned up when we were finished.) Friday of that week was our field trip to a butterfly sanctuary. I chaperoned this field trip for my son's class, so it was nice to have some experience when leading the class as the teacher.
I really appreciated the support from the other teachers at the school. They looked out for me and my students. They shared resources, ideas, and materials. I had the chance to learn from other new teachers and from experienced teachers. When the permanent teacher returned, I had a smooth transition. A couple of the thoughtful families brought in flowers for both of us during the two days that we overlapped teaching in the classroom.
I miss the class, and I look forward to my next experience. The state requires that I have experience in lower and upper grades, and my program requires us to be in a classroom every semester in addition to the traditional student teaching at the end of the program. I have started preparing for my next exam, the RICA, which focuses on reading instruction. I am looking forward to going more in depth into this area during the upcoming semester.