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    A much better day
    By New 5th Grade Teacher

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    Well, I walked into my class today determined to focus my attention only on the good things my students were doing and, in the event of misbehavior or disruptions, very quietly and calmly follow through on each of the consequences in my discipline plan without being distracted from teaching. Lo and behold, at 9:00 AM in walks the principal for an unannounced observation (my first "official" and formal one in this school). I was in the middle of my math lesson and just continued on without missing a beat. The kids were terrific, on-task, actively engaged for the whole time and participating in the discussions of the concepts. At 9:30, we were to switch with my team-teacher's class for the period ( I teach social studies, my partner teaches science) and the transitions have always been difficult for both classes in getting one out and the other in quietly and effectively. There must have been an angel on my shoulder this morning, though, because the whole process went smooth as glass. Everyone sat down and got ready to work without a hitch. The principal stayed for the first 15 minutes of class and saw this group ( also a very cantankerous bunch) actively participating and staying on task. Even after she left the room, the kids hung in there more than they have all year. Go figure!!

    When I met with the principal after school to conference about the observation, she had very positive comments to make about what she had seen. She is well aware of the problems I have been having keeping a lid on these kids, but has been nothing but supportive. To say the least, I was enormously relieved on two counts: 1.) that I actually had a chance to teach effectively without disruption and 2.) that someone who is in a position to make a difference was there to see that I was teaching effectively and responded favorably to my efforts.

    Of course, my four toughest "nuts" in the group completely lost it after lunch (miracles can only last for so long, you know LOL). "Melt-down" would be understating the case. I still held fast to my resolve of this morning to remain calm and quiet and not to get involved in a confrontation. Gee, I really think I'm on to something here. Of course, the little darlings were quite perturbed that they progressed to step 4 of the consequences without getting a rise out of me, and boy, did I feel great about that!!!

    Anyway, thanks again for the help. This is so wonderful to have so many caring people to turn to for advice and direction, but then again, that's why most of us become teachers in the first place, isn't it?

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