Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ready for a Change

Today I talked to my principal about getting my own class next year (as opposed to the K-5 pull out that I do right now). I think the exact words that I used were "If there's any way possible, I desperately want my own class next year." (I think I even clasped my hands for emphasis.) I'd already mentioned this to her once and put it on my preference sheet but I wanted to really make my case for why I wanted it. Luckily she said that she wanted to know my reasoning and we sat down for a conversation on her office sofa to talk about it. I told her that while I do like ESL (the kids, the strategies, the philosophies, etc.) it wasn't my choice to teach ESL, TFA placed me there. What I've always wanted to to is have my own class of kids, particularly the lower grades, K-2. Some of the reasons for wanting to have my own class are, 1) having a group of teachers to work with as a team, plan together, etc., 2) to get to really know a group of kids (now I have 40 kids and some of them I barely know even at the end of the year), 3) to focus my instruction on one grade (right now with 6 grades I'm all over the place). I'd like to become really proficient in teaching one grade and be able to improve upon it each year. And, 4) to be able to have some routines and consistency with the kids. Now, I never know if I am going to have a coverage, not be able to pick up the kids due to a special event or trip, etc.

I also told her that I know that being a classroom teacher is not easy. There are different responsibilities like report cards, cumulative folders, testing, etc. If the kids are driving you crazy one day you are stuck with them for the entire day you can't just send them back to their class after 45 minutes. Now, I am lucky to have a lot of freedom to plan my own schedule, move around the building, to go outside the building for workshops and PD, skip a teaching period to work on the yearbook, etc. There are many teachers that would kill to have an out of the classroom position. Considering all of this I still really want my own classroom.

We had a really good conversation and the principal agreed with all of my pros and cons for each position. She said I had good reasoning for wanting to make a switch. Having said that, however, she said there were considerations such as my license area (ESL, not common branch), if there would be a vacancy, and one other thing . . . my classroom management. She said that she has seen me briefly (never for extended times) with my small groups and I am good with them but the few time she has seen me doing a coverage I'm not as good with the larger groups. I said that it's hard when you are covering and you don't know the kids and they know they're not going to see you again. She agreed but said that there was a certain (positive) aggression that a teacher needs to have. I tried to assure her that starting at the beginning of the year with a group of kids I'd have time to teach them routines and procedures so that everything would run smoothly. She also suggested that maybe I do some reading on the subject over the summer. At the end of the conversation I kind of got the feeling that she was saying, not for sure that I wouldn't be able to handle it, but maybe.

I also told her that whoever the new ESL teacher was (if I got my own class) I'd be happy to help them with things such as reports, compliance issues, testing, reports, and all of the other administrative tasks that can be so daunting when you don't know how the system works.

Overall, I think the conversation went well. I'm glad that she at least sat down to hear my thoughts on the matter. Still, I give it about a 10% chance I'll actually get my own class. In the meantime, I busy with June Planning trying to map out a long term plan for next year.

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