So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. -1 Corinthians 15:58
I am comfortably settling in to my job at Encore Academy. My job is proving to be challenging, but I am enjoying it very much.
A lot of my day is spent helping second grade teachers. The second graders rotate classrooms for English, Math and Science, so I follow one homeroom class to their different classes and assist the “real” teachers with whatever they need. I know those thirty kids pretty well now.
However, the most important part of my job is meeting with groups of first and second graders who are behind a grade level in reading. After lunch I meet with a group of six second graders and we play spelling games where we write letters on small tiles and rearrange them to spell different words. Later I spend time with six first graders, and we sort pictures into charts of letters. We talk about what letter each word starts with and then review letter names and letter sounds.
Most of my kids are improving in their reading, and I can tell their answers to my questions are coming to them quicker and easier. I really enjoy spending time with these 12 students, and I can’t wait to see their reading improve even more.
The most challenging part of my job is discipline. Anyone who has met me can imagine how I much I can fail when it comes to being stern and telling anyone what to do with any authority. I have had kids laugh at me when I try to correct their behavior, and I still don’t have complete control over my small groups. I have had to break my first grade group into two groups of three so that certain kids don’t disrupt the learning by talking to each other instead of listening to me. I feel like I have tried everything–letting the kids come up with rewards and consequences, giving multiple reminders, giving them plenty of opportunities to participate so they’re not just sitting and listening, making a big deal out of kids who are following directions to encourage the other kids to follow that example–but there are days when I feel like there’s nothing I can do to get my students to pay attention and stay calm so they can learn. If anyone has any advice for me I will gladly try anything. I love every student dearly, but sometimes I get frustrated with my inability to have any authority over them.
To end on a happy note, I am still enjoying life in New Orleans. My housemates are awesome and we have a lot of fun together. Here is a group picture of all of us on Halloween.