Buongiorno miei amici (Good Morning my friends),
Its been a long time since I have written a Blog post. I wanted to wait until the end of the school year to review everything I have learned so far. I can tell you now that this will be a long post so bear with me! I think the first and most important thing I have learned (at least to me) is that a classroom is like a home and the people in it are like a family.
My classroom should be a place where my students feel comfortable enough to be themselves and relaxed enough to enjoy learning. Don’t get me wrong, there need to rules that have consequences attached to them if they are broken but I feel like the classroom atmosphere needs to be warm and relaxed. My attitude towards my students has changed from frustration to patience, love and a lot of grace.
You see families are wonderful and loving but they have problems and issues too. I see a lot of different sides to my students, their stubborn side, when they don’t want to learn and they don’t want to listen. I also see their attentive and kind sides, where they are excited to learn and are kind to one another.
I have realised that I can only do so much to help them choose between good behaviour and challenging behaviour. I have a strong classroom management plan and rules, which when broken, result in consequences (calmly delivered by me, well most of the time, I am still learning). I want them to choose good behaviour and to follow the rules because they know there is a reason why I have these rules. Not because I am better than them, or in charge of them. Actually I have these rules to keep them safe and to aid as much learning as possible.
Challenging behaviour is not always my fault, but the way I handle it can either diffuse it or escalate it. Most of the time I succeed in diffusing it but there are times when it escalates because of how I handled it. When this happens I examine the situation, figure out what I should have done differently and try not to make the same mistake twice. There have been many tears and a lot of stress but I believe to truly be a good teacher you must take responsibility for your actions.
This family can be challenging and they can drive me crazy but the most important thing is that I love them all and want the best for them. I want them to be happy and I want them to learn. Not just English, but how to behave and how to be polite to everyone they meet. Unlike most families, I get to hand the children back to their parents. I have a deep and profound respect for parents everywhere, you are amazing!
The second thing I have learned is that it is possible to transition from being a pushover to a strict teacher. It is also possible to be a kind teacher while also being strict and upholding the rules of the classroom. I am still working on this but I am definitely improving, there is a fine line between being strict and being scary!
The last thing I will write about (but definitely not the last thing I have learned, the list is too long for one post!) is that your students do listen to you. Even when you don’t think they do! For example I have been trying to teach my class of 4 and 5 year olds that one colour is not better than any other. They are all beautiful. I thought it was going in one ear and out the other until we were colouring and one of the children said that blue was the best colour. Arianna (The sweetest 4-year-old ever) looked straight at me and said “No, tutti i colori sono belli” which means “No, all colours are beautiful”.I honestly almost cried, it was a priceless and beautiful moment. These are the moments that make teaching worth it.
I think they have taught me more than I could ever teach them. Teaching is humbling, it can be stressful but I find so much joy in it. It’s worth all the stress, because I have the privilege of watching (and hopefully helping) them grow up into kind individuals who will have a huge impact on the world. Teaching is a privilege and I am so proud of the progress my students have made! I still have a lot to learn but I have come so far and I am proud of myself.
I am just going to cry a bit now, writing this has made me emotional!
Lots of love