Friday, November 9, 2012

Putting my finger on the issue...

On the surface this should have felt like a good week.  Our TEAM meeting was very positive, several meetings with parents were upbeat, appreciative, and supportive.  I met with a couple students that were suffering, we talked about mom moving away and grandparents passing away.  These conversations were therapeutic, I felt like I made a difference.  The entire week felt as though things were moving forward. 

These conversations made my week feel topsy turvy.  But that wasn't the only thing.  I also felt very reactive, my week was full of meetings and several were scheduled and rescheduled, in fact some days this week I didn't have meetings on my calendar and then suddenly I was sitting in a room discussing a student issue.  I didn't feel 100% prepared. The best way I can explain this is by relating it to my classroom lessons.

Being a male teacher in the classroom I often received students that struggled academically and behaviorally.  This became the norm for me.  In the classroom I was responsible for lesson planning, teaching, counseling and meeting with my Special Education teacher and discussing current levels and needs of students.

In my third year of teaching I began to feel as though I was coming in to my own and I had a clear philosophy and vision of how I wanted my classroom to function.  Early on in the year I discovered I had a really great class.  The students were bright, humorous, and loved being in school.  One stretch stands out for me, I relaxed, I got complacent.  I still planned for the week, but my plans were rough, not very detailed, kinda flying by the seat of my pants.  During this stretch I experienced several behavioral issues and my class was full of drama, I also felt rushed and irritable.  I got home one evening and I was frustrated, I was frustrated with myself.  I took full responsibility for this bad stretch.  I couldn't blame the students, I had to look in the mirror.  My plans were average, my students weren't engaged, I didn't put them in a position to succeed.  I remember saying to my grade level partner, "I didn't even assist my special education students, I just simply crossed off problems and gave them more time, I have myself to blame." I looked at him and I told him this week I was unprepared,  I wasn't my best.  We talked for a bit and one thing stood out, I knew the problem and now I had to be the one to make it right.  I vowed to improve and my goal was to make each day better than the previous.  With this mentality my lessons blossomed, my behavior issues were slim if any, my achievement rose, and my classroom culture was phenomenal.  Students loved being in school.  I was able to put my finger on the issue as a teacher, a major aspect I had to "tighten up" was creating strong lesson plans that engaged all students.

Now as Principal, I put my finger on it again.  I feel best when I feel prepared.  This is very similar to my teaching days.  Being prepared allows me to engage with all groups, it allows me to feel organized and knowledgable.  My goal is to be more prepared, I want to make each day better than the previous.  I plan to do this by listening, reading, and communicating.  Something to think about:  What aspect of your life can you improve to help make each day better than the one before?

Great Things Noticed or Heard:

*  I got a few glares on Thursday when the fire alarm went off : )  (just 7 more drills this year)
*  Jon R. made my day!  He told his Kids Hope Mentor he wants to be just like Mr. Gilpin when he grows up! #proud #rolemodel
*  2nd Grade loved the Air Zoo!  I heard great comments from parents, students, and teachers.  2nd grade will definitely be going back.
*  Mrs. King's class was absolutely freezing...but the kids never complained.  Great kids...and yes, I'm working on it.
*  Very pleased with TEAM meeting teachers, thorough information, good data, and honest feedback on students.  This is how we move forward and help kids get the right programming.
*  TAT on Wednesday was productive.  Kindergarten had never participated in a TAT, I was really impressed with the open dialogue, brainstorming, and openness to trying new things.  Well done ladies!
*  Great chat with Mrs. Struck on a struggling student.  I'm impressed with the "figure it out" mentality.
*  Apple Turkey's in Mrs. King's room!
*  Mrs. Dault has a "higher" power in her room!  If you are looking for a smile enter her room, immediately turnaround and look at the lockers!
*  Great job by our 5th graders with announcements this week.
*  Our CP workers are off to a strong start.  Mrs. Hatler is getting them in the groove.
*  Witnessed very polite and appropriate class elections and our school wide mock election.  Students were respectful of each other and engaged in the democratic process.

Things to Take Note of:

*  Lockdown this week
*  Panther Pride Luncheon
*  Book Fair week
*  Pioneer Living for 3rd grade
*  Picture Retakes
*  No Mr. Raymond all week, everyone needs to pitch in and work together.
*  If there is a fire drill the first goal is that everyone evacuates the building.  The second goal, is to locate all students.  By now your students should know the spot your class goes to, reinforce to them to get out and then rejoin the class.

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, November 12th:  Mobile Dentist
Monday, November 12th:  Happy Birthday Mrs. Sharp
Monday, November 12th:  Conferences
Tuesday, November 13th:  Panther Pride Lunch in Computer Lab Area
Tuesday, November 13th:  Book Fair begins 8am-8pm
Tuesday, November 13th:  Warner String Team 4pm
Tuesday, November 13th:  Conferences
Wednesday, November 14th:  SAU basketball Assembly grades 3-5 in gym 8:45am
Wednesday, November 14th:  Grades K-2 PLC meeting
Thursday, November 15th:  After School Art Club
Friday, November 16th:  Happy Birthday Mrs. Powers
Friday, November 16th:  Picture Retakes

Articles Worth Your Time:

Apps for Students with Autism

Favorite Formative Assessment: Exit Slip shared by Tony Sinanis

Why every school needs an innovation day, shared by Michael Berry

Defining Differentiated Instruction (MUST read)

Videos Worth Your Time:

"If I can change the attitude the content will fall into place."  -Kafele  (4 min)

Is it true, only 25% of students raise their hands and actively participate? (2 min) (Thought provoking)

With it being book fair week I thought this was appropriate...made me smile. (3 min)

Solution focused Parent/Teacher conferences (5 min)

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