Saturday, January 06, 2007

Consistently Inconsistant

Study after study will tell you that effective teachers are consistent. Even if they are consistently bad, students have a clear understanding of the teacher's expectations.
I teach fourth grade, have been doing so for almost ten years now. I am as inconsistent a human being as there is. Who knows what I'm going to do today, tomorrow, or ever. My students flounder and struggle because of my inconsistency.
It is so bad that for the first time in my life, I am facing the likelihood of having to leave my current profession. I cold lose any chance of continuing a career in public education.
So, what do I do? Do I quit? Do I start searching the internet for other job possibilities. Ithought about entering a program for administrators, but who'd going to hire an administrator who can't hack it in the classroom?
Sure, I've seen plenty of principals who could not control a classroom, but even they could get by enough to stay in the profession.
How am I so inconsistant that I fear losing my job, carreer? Well, I don't make learning outcomes clear. As my principal points out, students don't know what to do if they can't see the target. When I give them a worksheet to write examples of the four types of sentences, they don't know that it's more than an activity. I'm trying to get them to use proper punctuation and to write a variety of sentences in their work.
I don't manage student behavior consistently. Sometimes it's one warning then you're in the "safe seat". Sometimes it's two or three warnings until I get so annoyed that the students lose recess time. Instead, it should be one warning, a time-out or trip to the "safe seat, and recess or phone calls home after that. It should be this way every single time, not just when I'm annoyed.
I struggle with this not because of a lack of effort. I work at least six days a week at school. I am in my classroom on Sunday's, preparing for my week. I plan the week out, then write a plan before each day, essentially planning every lesson twice. Today's Saturday. I'll go to work this afternnon and attend a school activity from 3-5. Then, I'll go in like usual on Sunday and teach for the following five days. I get to school every day before any of my fourth grade teammates. Four days a week, I'll stay after school to tutor. My goal is to get home by 5.
If only I could break the consistency code. My partner and I talked about the lack of routine in my life. I always fail to exercise daily. My dog sometimes gets a walk, but often does not. I had no routine outside of bedtime when I grew up and still don't go to bed at the same time every night.
As I wrote this entry, I can't even spell "consistent" consistently. Sometimes it ends with a -ent and sometimes a -ant.
This part of my misery is my own doing. The misery may never end until I fix it.

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