True Colors

It won't be long before the students start to come out of their shells. It will be sooner for some than others. Today the thaw was already visible. It was literally scorching in the classroom, but beyond that as the students become more comfortable with one another and me they start to act out a bit more.

Even as I felt my first bouts of frustration, I am more than happy that the students are starting to reveal their true personalities on. I'd much rather them feel comfortable with their teacher and classmates than on edge and nervous. It's my job to guide this process and harness their energy, so that comfort yields great discussion and creativity, not chaos and conflict.

As a side note it's funny how often I'm asked by colleagues: How's your group this year? Better than last year? Firstly, it's way to early to really assess a class dynamic (except in the case of the real bold personalities). More importantly, I really believe it's the teacher who shapes the students and their behaviors. It's nice to think that I had a tough group of kids, especially when I'm being complimented on how I "put up with them." But I'm surprised how few of my co-workers really held me accountable for the craziness that went on this year.

Regardless of which philosophy is right, I know that this year will be a completely different story. I can already see challenges in some of the students - some behavioral, mostly academic - but I mostly look forward to a bright and exciting year. This may be a year when I really make a difference.


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