I have now been teaching 'solo' (in a single cell classroom, without my mentor) for five days and I cannot believe how much I have already learned. At the start of this year I decided that I would enter the classroom being a little stricter than I would like to be, so that I could quickly establish expectations and routines.
While I managed to stay uber strict for the short walk from the hall to the classroom, I was quickly laughing with my students and my strict facade was broken. However, I was very persistent regarding our class routines and I am finding that my students are following them fairly well. We have chatted about respect being a huge part of our class treaty and the idea of work hard, play hard - which really means that the students get to play a game when they pack up efficiently or work well in class. You can check out what a day in our class looks like in the video below (we managed to put this together in a day and I am quite pleased that we managed it so early on in the year).
I tend to have very high expectations of my students in terms of their learning and this has definitely been something I have reflected on this week, particularly after attending a Manaiakalani meeting regarding our data. We have been advised to teach critical literacy; to support our learners to read widely and deeply and to look up to what is expected of them in the years to come. Although I need to be wary that I am not pushing my students too far (bearing in mind some of them are two years younger than the students I taught last year), I have discussed this with them through our goal setting lessons. My year 6 students in particular are very eager to set high goals for themselves, seeking to achieve similarly to the year 7s in our class.
As my students had the task of creating a self portrait and quote that would inspire them to meet their goals this year, I created my own reflecting my high expectations. I also wanted to reflect our desire to work as a team and to stay in/ row our class (metaphorical) waka, in which we all do our part to sail towards success.