I’m back in the saddle again, Out where a friend is a friend, Where the longhorn cattle feed On the lowly gypsum weed, Back in the saddle again ~Gene Autry 1939
Yesterday I had the opportunity to get back in the saddle again. The idea came to me as I read about No Office Days, You Matter, and the importance of being a Lead Learner. So, thank you to Patrick Larkin, Jessica Johnson, Angela Maiers, and Joe Mazza for your inspiration for me to get back in the saddle!
Basically, this monthly program is designed to recognize teachers, and allow them to spend a day collaborating with their peers while I teach their classes! Its a win, win, win! Free Professional Development for teachers. Free time to collaborate with other teachers in the building or explore online learning. And here is the kicker – I get to teach again.
I arrived at my assignment a few minutes late (Cut me some slack, I was trying to get the building started). Once I arrived at the classroom I took on the persona of a guest teacher. I started from scratch and gave myself a pre-test. How many names did I really know? In my first class, a paltry 6 out 16. Yikes. As I went through the math lesson with the students, I was able to shake off the cobwebs and get down to some real teaching, and learning.
Here is what I learned:
- First day jitters never go away
- After about 10 minutes, the kids forgot I was the principal
- Before teaching the subject, you have to take time learning about the learners
- Interruptions require flexibility – I still had to take a few calls, speak with teachers all while teaching
- I needed coverage for a bathroom break
- I did get a walkthrough by our Fine and Performing Arts Supervisor, and I really want to know what he thought
- My Assistant Superintendent, upon hearing what I was doing said, “Your crazy, but I still love you!”
- Slate drills elicit participation, but the markers smell, so I had to keep the windows open
- Technology aides such as SMART boards, videos from EnVision math, ipods, and computer centers assist with application of learned math skills
- Since I missed recess duty, the other 4th grade teachers said I owe them 15 minutes
- The art teacher, when I handed “my” class off to her, wondered when I am going to choose a special area teacher for this program
- Teaching is still the best job, bar none
- My random songs, which used to be a lot better when I taught full time, still make kids smile
- I still have it (well, at least I think I do)
I am sure you are wondering how my assessments went through the rest of the day. In the middle of the first class I gave myself another, and I scored 10 out 16. At the conclusion of that same class, with the kids clapping and cheering, I earned a 16 out of 16! In my second class, my pre-test was 10 out of 19. I scored a perfect 19 on both the middle and the post test. Once again, the kids were cheering and clapping. What fun!
Most importantly, the 4th grade teacher who spent the day collaborating with other teachers came to me at the end of the day, beaming! He was able to get into about 8 classrooms throughout the day. He team taught, facilitated centers, and assisted teachers with any questions they had regarding math. It was so obvious that he really grew as a professional! And, he loved it!
So what is next? Well, I have a 3rd grade class later this month and a Kindergarten class next month. I can’t wait to get back in the saddle again!