That is why I stayed at school until nearly 6:00 last night and why I was there at 7:25 this morning.
I am aware that you can't be prepared for everything and that plans can often go awry (particularly when 6 and 7 year-olds are involved) but it is somewhere to start.
This morning after I had walked the dog, showered and dressed I stopped by the dam to collect fresh water for the class tadpoles and arrived at school at 7:25 with my Starbucks hot chocolate in hand.
I proceeded to unstack the chairs and place them at student desks and turn the computer on.
I love how peaceful the class is before everyone arrives. In those moments the day ahead is perfect.
The day never unfolds exactly as you imagined it. But that doesn't mean it can't be good.
Today was pretty good. A few barometer students were away again so the energy was calmer. This enabled me to focus on other students with needs.
There is one girl in the class that I am increasingly concerned about. She has had problems with theft and honesty. Today she seemed to be the instigator in several altercations. She claimed to pushed down by one student and a few minutes later, hit by another student. She was the common denominator in both incidents. She denied any culpability but further investigation unearthed details that indicated she held some responsibility for each incident. I spoke with her mother when she picked her up early for a dentist appointment.
I have been pulling certain students to the back table to work with me in small groups to help contain and focus them. For the most part it is working well. Proximity is often a helpful tool. Unfortunately it means I am pretty unavailable for other students. This is an aspect I am not particularly fond of with this strategy.
One student chose to mope in stead of joining us so after ensuring that he knew he was welcome to join us whenever he chose I ignored him. He eventually did come to the table but did nothing.
Our weekly visit to the courtyard garden can be a trigger for some students. It is less structured and some don't do well with that. I decided to be proactive and send them to the support room with work before we went to the garden. This worked well for the most part. The exception was the previously mentioned girl who aggravated another student to the point where she began hitting her. I did react instinctively and raised my voice. Not the best response, I admit. I had to get the support worker to get the support room worker to come one girl why I talked with the other.
The afternoon was filled with a successful activity about frogs, outside gym time our weekly desk clean and centers.
I was pleased to be able to tell the parents of one girl who can be disruptive and belligerent that she had had an awesomne day. In fact, she had done some of her best work.
I didn't handle one interaction as well as I might have.
I have been frustrated by a student bringing coffee (often a large, filled with LOTS of sugar and cream) with him in the morning. He's seven. I am not the only person who thinks this is not a good idea. I have put a note in his planner to that effect. The Teacher in Charge was going to call his mother. He handed his coffee over to me without argument his morning and asked for it at the end of the day. I gave it back to him. I also told him next time I was going to dump it down the drain. It did not belong at school. If I smelled coffee I was going to call his mother.
A little harsh, I admit. However, it has been going on for weeks. I can't control what happens at home but I can control what is brought in my classroom.
What other options do I have?
That is the question I am going to consider this weekend TGIF.