As our forty students came into our room the first day of school, we had many new faces. Thirty one new faces to be exact. This was different than I was use to. I had been teaching the same children for four years. I began as their junior kindergarten teacher, had a maternity leave, returned in first grade, the following year taught a 1/2 split then last year taught a 2/3 split. I LOVED having the same children year after year. There were always minor changes and new faces, however the bulk of the students were the same. I definitely got used to this. In September we just picked up where we had left off the previous June. The children knew me and the classroom expectations and I knew their weaknesses, their strengths, their families, their favourite books, which sports they liked etc. We were a family.
This year, my core group moved on to grade 4 while I stayed back to teach a 2/3 split. I knew it was time to let them go and I knew that they needed to have a different teacher with a different perspective and had different strengths and weaknesses.
I forgot how hard it was to get a new group of children that you hardly knew. I forgot that they didn't know what Wonder Workshop was when they came in, that they weren't use to not having a seating chart, that they didn't know how to properly handle the iPads or know how to log onto their blogs. I forgot how hard it was in September with a new class. My teaching partner and I had to adjust our way of doing things to accommodate all of our new students. We had to reassess what our plans were for the first few weeks of school. We needed to spend time getting to know our students and they needed to get to know us.
I may have forgotten how hard a new class is in September, but I also had forgotten what all of the "firsts" felt like. There have been many "firsts" in these past few weeks:
- Using iPads for learning
- Using Twitter (and in math!)
- Given a special Thinking Book
- Going outside to spark our wonders and curiosity.
- Given a bug catcher that you can actually bring back to class to observe things you caught! (even a toad!)