Well this past week was a humdinger of a week. On the Friday before last I ended up in the hospital having to have surgery on my stomach. I am just fine but needless to say I am sore. Because the surgery was not that invasive I went back to work on Monday and resumed my normal routines (sort of). I wouldn't even be writing about my surgery except for the fact that there were some repercussions in the classroom. Because they cut through my abdomen I am still very sore and during the week it was pretty bad at times. It was hard to sit down and then stand up. It was difficult to bend over to help the students at their desks, forget about getting down on the floor with them like I usually do. Carrying anything heaver than my beloved Tervis Tumbler was painful. Walking around the campus with the students was something I dreaded every day around lunch time. Another effect was that it was difficult to take deep breaths and in turn I was unable to speak very loudly in my teacher voice. Not being heard is frustrating. That is the reason I am even writing about my surgery/recovery experience. This week was frustrating.
Since school began I have been running my class as a whole brain class. The students are already conditioned to respond to certain call/response commands. We are loud (yet controlled), we move around a lot and use big gestures when we learn, and I am goofy and animated when I teach (I will do anything to keep their attention so they can learn). Well I this week all I could actually think about was my pain. Thank God for whole brain teaching because without that I would have been even more stressed out. That being said, the week still was rough. I found myself using class/yes in a desperate way. My voice was so soft that not everyone could hear the first time I would say class, so I would have to repeat it a couple of times. In my pain and discomfort, the fact that I was having to repeat something (that they usually did so well) made me feel out of control which made me feel emotional. Emotions in the classroom are bad um k. I love my students and think about them often but having emotional reactions to behavior is absolutely the wrong (most unproductive) way to handle things. I am not certain if this was an appropriate way to handle my lack of emotional control but I just talked to my kids about it. I told them how I was hurting and we talked about the surgery. They seemed to understand why I was different this week and for the most part the did what they could to control themselves and help me out. Still. our normally productive, fun loving, energetically controlled classroom was a mess. I did the best I could but I wasn't my best and neither were they. Sweet little angels that they are.
So my point for this week's post is that the Whole Brain Teaching Method is a wonderful tool that has changed my teaching world and makes my class more exciting than ever, but it is only a tool. My classroom management really comes down to me. Wow the responsibility. If I am not at my best the students will not be at their best. Some of my most well behaved students, you know the ones who always want to please, lost their minds this week. I was not doing a good job of controlling myself and they picked up on that.
I didn't realize that using my microphone would help until Thursday (duh). When I put that thing on immediately the usual classroom atmosphere returned and there was peace. Isn't if funny how much the voice is involved in teaching. Tone and volume matter. With the mic I no longer sounded desperate. I sounded in control and calm and it didn't hurt to project my voice. I wish I had remembered that tool on Monday. Oh well.
Next week should be better, because I have had the weekend to plan and I am now caught up on all the little things that get left behind when you miss two days. Also, I am feeling better so I am sure I will be back to my old self by Monday. Next week is Johnny Appleseed week, we are going to have a blast! We might even do apple bobbing.
On Friday I told my students "You have lost your minds. Please find them, pick them up and put them back in your heads before Monday. We have too much to do and we can't be wasting our time running around without our brains in our heads." They think it is so funny when I say that because then they get to go around looking for their "brains" and picking them up and putting them in their heads. Gotta love the imaginations of 6 year olds. I love my job and am so thankful that I can reflect and get better at each week.