Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tuesday Slice of Life: Remember This for Next Year

Looking to connect with a positive, supportive online community? Consider sharing a slice of your life with Two Writing Teachers. All writers are welcome! 

Tuesday Slice of Life: 

Remember This for Next Year

"Remember this for next year," My colleague, Krista, wisely reminded me. I had just shared - for at least the twentieth time - how I have struggled with a group of high school students this year. 

Although this is not my first year teaching in an alternative education setting at my high school, two of my courses have been especially challenging to instruct this year, both through a behavioral and academic lens. 

This year I have used as many trust-building activities as possible, including circles and get-to-know-you activities. I have explicitly modeled my thinking through think-alouds and the document camera. I have worked hard to establish predictable routines. I have reached out to available instructional coaches in the district. I have read and reread professional books and articles about engagement and classroom management and literacy. 

Yet, as a seasoned teacher of nearly twenty years, I am still struggling in so many ways:
  • I have struggled to build positive teacher - student relationships. 
  • I have struggled to help my students build positive student - student relationships. 
  • I have struggled in keeping up with and adjusting instructional planning.
  • I have struggled to demonstrate student growth in literacy. 
  • I have struggled with matching books with students and encouraging them to read. 
  • I have struggled to know where to begin when my students have so many different significant needs.
At home, I consistently write and reflect on my teaching. I ask myself questions, notice patterns, record what I am wondering about. Through my writing, I only recently realized that my students seem to trust me a little bit more then they did at the beginning of the year. In fact, they seem to trust each other more. It makes me feel good that I am beginning to see them take risks as learners more often. 

It's November. Although I have seen growth in students taking risks as learners and displaying more positive behaviors as readers and learners and classmates, I continue to do a lot of kid-watching and listening. I continue to adjust my instruction and trying new things. I continue to work on building positive relationships. I continue to try new things. 

Krista is right. I need to remember this for next year for my planning and my overall expectations - it takes a while to build trust, especially with students who have not yet found success at school.  

Thank you, Krista. 


  1. It takes time -- when we get into a new routine, job, or situation -- to make it work. You will get there. And a year from now, you may just look back at this post and smile because you will have come so far.

    1. Yes, exactly! Routines and new jobs take a long time for adults to adjust to, too... It makes sense that it takes a while for our students as well!

  2. Oh, Trina, hang in there. I marvel at your words - "I continue to do a lot of kid-watching and listening. I continue to adjust my instruction. I continue to work on building positive relationships. I continue to try new things." This sums up your teaching beliefs and is why you and your students will be successful.

  3. I think this is such a good reminder about continually reflecting and looking back. You may not see progress from week one to week two, but if you look back from week twenty to week one you will. It’s important to remember the little changes, the little wins. Thanks for this!


Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: Easter Preparations

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting  a slice of my life , hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Slice of Life Challenge #21...