Friday, December 9, 2011

Survival Mode!

I must say that I am a HUGE fan of collaboration...but collaboration only goes so far and then it becomes utter confusion.

My biggest difficulties of the week:

1. The Principal not understanding that 42 minutes isn't enough time to have 15 minutes of reading time and a 10 minute reflection... I have to teach my kiddos skills somewhere!

2. No support... I love the team I work with. They seem to do a great job with their classes, but I need feedback from them to help their students. I can't meet their standards unless they reach out and tell me what their students need to work on. So for now, I am focusing on the basic skills of reading: fluency, comprehension, and analyzing stories.

I feel like I am not doing this in the manner in which they want me to, but I don't know what else to do. These students need stability in their lives, and they don't seem to be getting it at this school. Most of the student population come from inner city STP, and were removed from their schools due to discipline reasons. Allowing them to run the classroom isn't going to help them succeed. I work with small groups, 4-6 students, and they seem to think it is ok to get up whenever they want to. I squashed that right away. That isn't something that is okay in a small group setting. When one student leaves, it can be 25% of the class!

I don't like being negative, I am not a negative person. I love working with these students. They are struggling readers who know they need my help, I am just struggling to make an impact due to the lack of organization at this school. (I don't even have a key for my office space)

Until I get some feedback, or don't... I am going to work with the students on basic skills of reading that will help them to survive the MCA and MAP testing they are required to do bi-yearly. They will be reading and re-reading a single story 3 times to develop skills with making inferences, vocabulary, comprehension, determining main idea, fluency, and finding characters, setting, and plot. These are all skills that any student can benefit from receiving extra help, so I think this is the correct route to go....

Have I mentioned that I have no curriculum... I have a bunch of Reading Reference books, but no solid curriculum. That means, I spend a lot of time on the internet finding stories and worksheets, meanwhile creating my own for these students to work with.

Don't forget, I am a long term substitute... normally, this is not on the menu for long term subs. However, this is great experience for me. I feel that if I can take nothing and turn it into a class, I will be able to develop a class with curriculum no sweat! :)

I still look forward to working with the students to see how they respond to my strategies! Hopefully they can develop skills and become more independent in their reading abilities..

Yay for progress!


  1. It sounds exhausting, Laura. Thank goodness for your youth and stamina. Stay're helping these kids in more than just reading. Boundaries and rules are a GOOD thing. Kids WANT rules, even when it doesn't SEEM like they want them.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Dawn! I know I am helping them, I taught three kids how to use a dictionary for the first time today... To me, that is sad!


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