Thursday, October 27, 2005

Small Victories

This year, my class really enjoys trying to pass notes back and forth without me noticing. So today I integrated it into the math lesson. We were reviewing subtraction with borrowing (a concept that is very difficult for my students, who all have learning disabilities.) The idea of the game was to pass subtraction problems to each other, solve any problems you received, then pass them back without letting any adults in the room see. I love it when my kids are having a blast and don't even realize that they're learning.

And today, one of my students correctly answered every subtraction problem she received. She borrowed from the correct digit, put the one she borrowed where it belonged, and subtracted each column perfectly. I had this student last year, and she could never get this process down. The joy I felt at witnessing her success is immense and has not died down. It reminds me why I'm a teacher.

I briefly mentioned in a previous blog that my classroom has been a little insane recently. What I really meant was that it has been entirely out of control, stressful, and demoralizing. But this week, I have bounced back in a big way. Monday morning I had a short but meaningful conversation with my students, and have since been working in the classroom environment that I love: one in which I don't yell, the students are engaged, every student smiles at least once or twice during the day, and I feel like everyone has a little fun. I have felt like a good teacher, which is hard to say most of the time because I am so aware of all that I am unable to accomplish within the scope of my daily demands. So I'm going to hold on to this while I can, and try to remember it when this rollercoaster tilts downwards once more. For right now at least, I feel like I'm exactly where I am meant to be, and that's a huge victory.

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