Thursday, July 17, 2014

A New Year

        A new school year is quickly approaching and I'm filled with mixed feelings.  I'm starting at a new school, in a new county, doing a job that is inherently stressful and time consuming.  I'm filled with excitement at new opportunities, sorrow over leaving behind friends and favorite students at my old school, and relief at being able to work close to home.  I love my new 1/2 classroom filled with giant windows, high ceilings, and happy colors.  Yet I dread the thought of everything left to do before school begins in just two short weeks.  I'm determined to make this classroom reflect me and my passion for my kids and what I do.  I don't think I even got close to that in my first classroom.  It was a hodge-podge of random things, and cluttered piles of paper the whole year long.  My brain couldn't focus, and I never felt relaxed in the space.  But here in my new room, even among the piles of boxes and things left to be done, I feel a calm sense of knowing I'm right at home.  

      If you'd asked me two years ago if I could teach special education I'd have laughed at you.... "Of course I can't do that.  I'm going to teach happy, well functioning, imaginary gen-ed students, duh!"  

      But in time God changed me: my dreams and my abilities.  I love what I do.  I love my students, and I haven't even met them yet.  I know we will face enormous challenges this year.  I know I will have to work to teach them far more than letter sounds of basic math facts. I will have to teach them to fight.  My students must learn to conquer enormous struggles in order to learn the things that come naturally to their peers.  For some they will struggle to read, others will lack number sense.  It's likely that some of my students will face physical limitations or lack control over their own body for a variety of reasons.  Some of my students will have trouble expressing themselves, understanding others, or interacting with their peers or adults.  So each of my students must learn to be strong.  They must be taught to fight through their struggles to win the battle against the odds they face.  But, my students are very young to have to fight this battle.  So each day they need me to help guide them.  They need me to listen patiently, coax them to speak, to be tough on them sometimes.  They need me to slowly teach them that they can succeed.  They can do anything.  To teach them this I have to go to work and believe it myself.  I'll know their test scores, their diagnosis, their background.  I'll know what the papers say they can do, but in order to set their goals high and make them believe they can do more, I have to believe that myself each and every day.  So if you happen to enter my classroom, you will see a little alcove between the door and my room.  My plan - wallpaper it with as many motivational, positive, believe in yourself saying and printable as the fire marshal will allow.  Because while most of my students will not be able to read them yet, I can, and their fight to learn and achieve begins with me.

        So I'll leave you with a link to one of the printables I'll be using.  I'd post the image here, but it's not mine so I'll simply link you to it.  I'll be using the "Believe you can" in my room, but there are others here that you may like for your classroom or even your own home.

This is another poster I made for my room.  Feel free to print it and use it for your own if you wish.

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