I suppose parents think that as teachers we are sometimes smug about our abilities. I’ve clashed with a few parents who thought I was too confident. It might surprise them to know that each year I get to the last few days and wonder if I’ve done enough for these children. My answer is generally “yes”, but for a few...I long for just a little more time.
If I had a couple more months I might actually get S to write “n” correctly.
If I had a couple more months I might convince C to stop hitting everyone who touches him.
If I had a couple more months I might get R to count beyond 15.
If I had a couple more months I might find out why T won’t do her handwriting without ten reminders.
If I had a couple more months I might hear P read his first book.
It’s the little things that drive you crazy! Yesterday one of my students did something he’s done almost every week since school started. He’s gotten in trouble for it. He’s been in time-out. He’s written an apology. He’s written a note to his parents about it. And he still does it!!!! I suspect that his first grade teacher will ask me why I didn’t break the habit. Why indeed…
I have another student who has terrible handwriting. I’ve done everything I can think of to help him. He still has terrible handwriting. I showed a sample of his work to one of the first grade teachers and her comment was, “He doesn’t make his ‘a’ correctly.” Duh! I told her that he wrote 20 corrected ‘a’ on a white board for me last week, and the next day on his handwriting paper he reverted back to the wrong one. He’s done that all year!! Until he is mature enough to be aware of what he is doing, and is motivated to change it, there is nothing more I can do to prepare him.
And that is my hope. Many of the lessons I’ve taught will “sink in” once my students are a bit more mature. For some that will be next August, for some it will be October, and for some it may not be until next spring. But I am confident that sometime during first grade all of my students will be successful- in reading, handwriting, math, science, art, social studies, and behavior- in part because they have been in my classroom. It’s a dream, I know, but I cling to it…