How Erika Does…Teaching

Or should I say, “DID TEACHING”??  🙂

A couple months ago I asked you guys to answer a poll where I asked questions about favorite blog posts and least favorite.  I also asked for some topic ideas and YOU GUYS DELIVERED!  I got this recommendation A LOT! 

I’m by NO means an expert in this subject, but I definitely think I did some things right (and some things wrong) while teaching that I’m happy to share.

I graduated in December of 2005 (Tab and I were married in July and I joined him in Arlington, Texas, where I did my student teaching through Texas Wesleyan AND Arkansas State University), and went to work as a substitute teacher (it was the middle of the year-no one was hiring).  I began subbing the FIRST day school was back in January and hit the ground running.  After a couple weeks, two schools asked me to help out with tutoring to prepare for the state tests.  

I got a job the following year teaching third grade in Allen, Texas.  I taught at the same school for three years until Ebby Lee was born.  Then we decided staying at home was best for our family.  Again, I realize teaching three years does NOT make me an expert by any means, but I’d love to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.  🙂  

The Ugly:  (I want to end on a good note.)
I graduated from a university in Arkansas.  We discussed state testing-just a bit in college, but it was definitely not a major topic of discussion.  When I hit the classroom as a teacher, my third grade team didn’t really talk about it much either.  I was not worried or thinking about that test AT ALL to be honest.  

In the fall (my very first year), we gave the kids a “Benchmark” test to see what they’d already mastered and what we needed to really work on.  I’ll never forget getting the scores back and hearing that over HALF of my class had FAILED!!!  WHAT?!!  (All the other third grade classes had the majority passing.)

I remember the principal calling me in to discuss.  Her first question was, “What strategies did you teach your kids for taking this test”?  

My response…”Um…none”.

And then her look of complete shock.  ha!

I quickly was filled in on some strategies for this BIG TEST, incorporated them into my classroom, and had my class pass this BIG TEST in the spring with flying colors.

Those kiddos and I worked HARD to end on such a high note but-it started off UGLY!  

Trust me-I’m sure I had lots more “ugly”, but that’s the one that stuck with me the most!

I’m pretty sure I said that during my teaching days.  🙂

And this…

And this…hahahahaha!!!  Teachers, you know that one.  Right?  🙂

The Good:
*I’ll never forget sitting in those beginning teacher meetings as a complete newbie and hearing my principal say that you’ll never get into the mind of a child without first getting into his/her heart.  I quickly learned how true that statement was, so I did my best to let each child know how much I cared.  I told every student to bring in his/her baseball schedule, soccer schedule, or chess tournament schedule…and whatever it was, I did my best (if they invited me or let me know) to attend one of each kiddos’ special thing.  I went to soccer games (which were great because I could usually hit up more than one kiddos game at the fields), volleyball games, baseball games, and more.  

One of Tab’s cousins was a kindergarten teacher who recently retired, but every year she’d make a date to read a bedtime story (in her pajamas and hair rollers) to each child in her classroom one night during the year.  Trust me…I’m SURE those kiddos knew she cared.  🙂

*Another thing I did well was bragging on the positive things.  I tried to weekly send a certain number of good/bragging e-mails to parents.  I can’t remember how many I sent, but maybe five or six a week, so that every parent heard something great during the course of a month.  I also called parents at least once or twice a year bragging on good things their son/daughter had done in class.

On the flip side now as a parent, I absolutely LOVE those bragging e-mails or phone calls.  They MAKE my day!

*During writing time, we always did “Writer’s Workshop”, which meant we had something we’d work on everyday-like including punctuation in our story.  I’d start the lesson by writing a quick story at the carpet and I’d think/write aloud.  I always wrote about real things from my life-instead of making up some random story.  My kiddos got INVESTED in my life and they loved learning more about me and my family.  
A funny from my teaching days…
*I had a student who came from a large family.  One day she was wearing a shirt that said something about a tennis club, so I asked her if she played tennis.  Her response, “No, it’s just a handy-down”.  Bless her heart!  I will never forget her sweet face.

As the new school year draws closer, teachers…I thought this was too funny!!

Teacher friends, I’d LOVE for you to share your good, your bad, or your ugly with us!!  

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