Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remain Calm, Be Flexible

Remain Calm, Be Flexible.....more true words have never been spoken to me.

Picture this: It was my first year of teaching second grade and I could feel the panic rising around me days before school started. Books were everywhere, papers were everywhere, bulletin boards were bare and there I was sitting on the floor staring around the space like a deer in headlights.

Lucky for me a friendly, new colleague walked by and took pity upon my poor little soul and came in for a chat....or shall I say pep talk! He spoke the words of a wise, seasoned teacher "Remain calm. Be Flexible. If you follow these two rules you will find success." He was totally right. With a sense of calmness you are able to made decisions that are best for you and your students. Also with that calmness you are ready to handle any situation that might arise. Being flexible allows you to respond to student learning on the spot and to adjust your teaching as you go. Calmness and flexibility lend to a warm and inviting atmosphere for learning.

He then talked to me about creating a space for myself where I could work. He didn't just mean placing the furniture around the room - he meant organizing, decorating, and creating a sense of my personality in the room. He said once I had my "space" I would feel more at home and ready to get down to the business of teaching. He was right again! Once I placed tables, sorted and labeled my books and had my mother help me hang up bulletin boards I started thinking about how to make it reflect my personality. This is when I started bring little pieces of me into the room. I placed a few pictures of my family about the desk. I brought in some fake purple flowers and put them in a vase to brighten the room. I hung two pieces of artwork that I was fortunate enough to receive from Tomie dePaola. The transformation had an effect on me and made me feel comfortable in my surroundings, which then in turn made my students feel comfortable as well.

As I enter this new role for me as a Technology Support Teacher I find myself calling to mind his pep talk. "Remain calm. Be Flexible." This might just become my mantra for the year as I grapple with new and challenging situations. Perhaps these words ring true for you as we enter this upcoming school year full of new possibilities!

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