5 Things I would do Differently if I Taught Kinder Again

This week, I plan to present a quick blog series all about the lessons I've learned concerning a pretty controversial topic: 
I am of the philosophy that every class (depending on the year, depending on the teacher, depending on the school) needs a different management plan.  I also think that some students need their own plan, but I admit I'm NOT PERFECT & I have a difficult time implementing personal plans.  

In my 10 years of teaching I've taught so many different grade levels and such different types of classrooms that I know there is NOT a "Magic Plan" that works for all.  So, this post is not about some "Magic Plan" you've never heard of.  I wholeheartedly believe that teacher prep/planning & student engagement plays a HUGE role in the management plan. 

Rewind 10 years to my very first year teaching.  I taught at a Junior High School with 50 minute class periods, no more than 18 kids in a classroom and a male principal who carried a paddle around the halls.   #easiestjobever  Did I mention we had a Special Ed teacher, so I only had general education students and GT students.  I didn't need a management plan. 

Imagine 4 years later when I was thrown into a Kindergarten classroom, 3 weeks after school began with no aide and 24 students.  #teacherintrouble  I was assigned a mentor.  I know what you're thinking...ahhh salvation!  Nope.  Don't get me wrong, she is an awesome teacher!  But, everything comes natural to her.   I needed direct instruction. "When Jakobe leaves the alphabet center and goes to the dramatic play center, you need to do XYZ."   She would come watch my class & didn't understand why I couldn't just run a classroom.  Which made me feel like a horrible teacher!  

Looking back, I see the issue she didn't.  DUH.  My 7th Graders never went to centers and pretty much came to me with social skills and understood how school worked.  Kindergarteners needed me to teach them these things.  Why didn't she just tell me this?  I turned to the internet and I found a few blogs that gave me some insight.  I ended putting names on my rug and finding something like the color card pocket chart below.  It did it's job.  But let's be serious a color chart isn't a behavior plan.  And did you know that when a Kindergartener can't read their own name, they will just choose any name and pull the card?  #whoknew?
After 10 years of teaching, I've done a lot of reflecting. Now that I am a Mom to an almost Kindergartener, I realize that the behavior issues were pretty much all my fault
So, here is a quick list of things I know would have improved my classroom behavior.  

When I read this list of 5 things, I'm actually embarrassed that I didn't know better.  I knock myself on the head and think, "DOH, of course I should have taught procedures!"  But, I honestly didn't know better. When we know better, we do better.  I read amazing Kindergarten Blogs now and I am in "AH" of how seemless their classrooms run.  Mine was a wreck.  The good news...at the end of the year, I had 99% of my students reading on Grade Level.  I had the pleasure of teaching the same students in 3rd Grade & guess what?  The vast majority could READ ON GRADE LEVEL!  So, although my behavior management plan left something to be desired, my instruction was effective.  Maybe I wasn't so bad after all!  

This Little Piggy thinks reflection is possibly the most valuable teaching practice.    


The Meek Moose said...

Good list, Deniece! I have to keep refelcting too.
The Meek Moose

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