I think it’s human nature to hide our weaknesses. We all want to appear the best, that we know what we are doing, that we have it all together. (This goes for teaching but also for life in general.) But reality check: we are all human, we all make mistakes, we are not perfect, nor will we ever be. We physically cannot be good at everything. And attempting to be perfect leads to a major struggle trying to maintain that image. I’m starting to wonder if we would all be better off if we displayed our weaknesses as well as our strengths. Having them out in the open allows us to work on them and get help from others whose strength is the same as our weakness. Something I’m trying to teach my third graders this year is that we learn from our mistakes! So let’s start learning!
Well, enough beating around the bush: Language Arts is my teaching weakness. Third grade is a crucial reading year where we transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. We only have an hour a day for reading and 30 minutes, four times a week for writing.
Language Arts at our school also has the most curricular programs of any subject: Core Knowledge for sayings and stories, Reading Street for comprehension strategies, Words Their Way for spelling, Daily Language Instruction for grammar, Lucy Calkins for writing, and use a Daily 5 Structure.
Every week we are expected to teach reading comprehension, writing, and grammar, meet with guided reading groups, meet with literature circles, meet with spelling groups, fluency read with kids one-on-one, writing conference with kids one-on-one, and provide tier two interventions for all our below grade level kids.
Then for reading testing we do spelling, reading, and DLI tests weekly. At the beginning, middle, and end of the year we give iReady online reading testing, CARS comprehension tests, DRA2 for students below grade level in reading, and Words Their Way assessments. And that doesn’t include PARCC testing, ACT Aspire Testing, and CogAT Testing that we also give.
It makes my head spin just trying to wrap my brain around all of it. I create schedule after schedule trying to fit it all in and there just never seems to be enough time!
And now I have a confession to make: this is not a post where I explain how I solved my language arts weakness and now I’m an amazing language arts teacher! It’s still a subject that I struggle with. But I’m working on it. My team and I have set our student achievement goal on writing, so we’re working together to become better teachers. And I keep researching and reworking my reading schedule trying to find what is best for my students. It’s a work in progress, and I admit that.
What’s your teaching weakness?