Episode 52: Patience, Dear TeacherAug 24, 2023
In this episode, I share some reflections on challenges I've had being patient at the beginning of the year! I also share about the power of class jobs!
Silent hand signals
Blog on Class jobs
Podcast on my fave Class jobs
Course on Class jobs
Connect with me!
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Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy, and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most our students, I'm your host, Annabelle. Most people call me la maestra loca, and I'm an educator just like you and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hi there, and welcome to episode 52 of teaching La Vida Loca. Today's episode will be short and sweet. At least I think it will be I never know because all of these are unscripted if you haven't been able to tell already. But I just wanted to reflect on something that has been challenging for me lately. And I know it is challenging for many educators at the beginning of the year, and actually throughout the year, and that is remaining calm and gentle and patient. When I say calm and gentle, I think that is how it is perceived by students. More than anything. I reflect on the moment that I shared with y'all in Episode 50. When a student in my language lab at FLT this year, I'm sorry that I FLT at CI summit this year, in Savannah, told me, you use kind and gentle words, or you use a kind and gentle voice when we're doing something wrong. And so, I think it's perceived as kind and gentle, or calm and gentle. But it's really patience. Patience is not an easy thing for us as teachers, especially at the end of the day or by Friday, our patience is waning. And it's something that we don't realize how important it is or impactful it is to have that patience with kids, or how much they notice it because they do.
It Can Be Hard…
It's been hard to be patient because some of my students I had all of last year and I'm looking at them and I'm like, oh my God, how do you not remember our entry routine. And we've done it for a whole year. And then I had to stop myself and go hold on. This is only day three of the of the entry routine, we might be in week three. But this is only day three of them doing the entry routine this year. They're in a brand-new classroom space. They are mixed in with students who didn't have me last year. They are concerned about making new impressions, making new friends. They're super excited to be in Spanish because they know we get a little crazy in here. They are just coming from another class. And so, I have to be patient with my expectations of them because it's only day three of doing this new routine. And yes, it was old last year, we did it last year, but it's new to this year. So, I must extend them grace and patience as they remember what that routine is. So, I had to take a breath this morning and remind myself of that I feel bad because my first period maybe didn't get as much patience as my second, third and fourth periods. But as soon as I remember that I was able to recollect myself. And every single class that followed, most kids completely botched the entry routine. But since I was already remembering that I had to extend patience, I used a calm, kind and gentle voice and gave them some reminders and redirections, gave them praise when they were meeting expectations. And everything felt more doable and manageable because I was in a different place mentally. I was prepared for them to make mistakes; I was prepared for it to not look perfect. And I was prepared to offer praise when it went the way that we had talked about on day one and day two.
Silent Hand Signals
So, it's really hard thing to remember to be patient. But there's a couple more things that you can do to reflect on this and to help yourself. The first is if you're teaching middle school or high school, especially, and even in elementary, these kids are moving from space to space. in middle and high school, they're learning up to eight or nine teachers' expectations at the beginning of the year. And all of us have different expectations around how you ask to go to the bathroom, how you get up to sharpen a pencil, how you go and get a tissue. Like for me tissues. I'm always like no go and get a tissue. Handle your business you never have to ask. I don't want you waiting with your hand up to ask to get a tissue. If you need a tissue, you need it. Go and get it. Bathroom, I have a very quick and easy way for kids show me that they need to go the bathroom, so they don't have to wait for five minutes because sometimes I'm talking, and I want to get my thought It's out. I don't want them waiting to have to go to the bathroom. So, they have a quick hand signal to show me. If you're interested in a blog on that I have a blog all about Silent Hand signals that communicate things in a fast way so that kids can communicate without having to speak. Some kids want to wait until they get called on because they want to be able to show me, they know how to say can I go to the bathroom and Spanish, and I love that. But I don't want them having to wait around. Not all teachers are like that. Some teachers want to make sure that you raise your hand before you sharpen a pencil, before you get a tissue, before you go to the bathroom. Every teacher's expectation around routines and systems and procedures are different. Some teachers are going to be really, strict towards the beginning of the year, and loosen up as the year goes on. These kids are learning about different teachers' expectations, procedures, routines, in different classrooms, spaces, then they're learning all of them all at once on top of content. So, we have to be patient with our own expectations in our spaces, and give them the benefit of the doubt because they are learning so many different teachers expectations.
So, you want to be perceived as being calm, and patient and using a kind and gentle voice. But really for us, it's all about our patients. Another example of this is right now we have just started classroom jobs. They applied for jobs last week, I have 25 different class jobs, kids filled out job applications. They had to advocate for what jobs they wanted based on what their talents are or what they feel strong at. And they knew that some of the most desired jobs would have lots of people wanting that as their first choice. So, it was really important to advocate for themselves. It's a really cool thing because it teaches them advocacy and it teaches them how to talk in a really positive way about themselves. So, they applied for class jobs, I assigned the class jobs. And I, we started class jobs. And I've already found myself being frustrated. By the amount of times I have to remind kids like did you do your class job? And then I'm like Annabelle, again, we're three days into implementing class jobs. Yes, we're three weeks into school, but we're only three days into implementing class jobs. So, take a breath. Remember, we're three days in, use a calm and gentle voice to remind the kids. Hey, don't forget to do your class job. Did everybody do their class job? People who have beginning of the class jobs, make sure you finish your due now first, there was one kiddo who was so excited, he was so excited to do his job that he completely bypassed his due now. And at first, I was like, Oh my God, why are you going to do that? We know it's after the due now. But then I just took a breath. Because breathing really helps us with patience, by the way. And I said, hey, I love that you're so excited to your class job. Don't forget, we have to do our due now first. And he's like, oh, yeah, I forgot. And it's so innocent. He just forgot; he was just so excited. Like, why am I getting frustrated with a kid who's over the moon excited about his class job? And that's how most of my kids feel about their class jobs because they applied because I made an effort to give them in their top three favorite jobs. Right, I took the time to do that. If you have never done class jobs, I strongly encourage you to try it. It was something that I avoided for years. I'm gonna link to a blog post on class jobs, another podcast you can listen to on my favorite class jobs to start the year. But I avoided it because I am not a type A teacher, I'm not organized, and the thought of organizing 25 different jobs in my classroom was totally intimidating. But the reality is once I've realized that it's not really me organizing the jobs once kids know what their jobs are, how much chaos it would cut, and how incredibly mind blowing lifesaving it feels on a day to day class by class basis to have people assigned to straightening your chairs after class, sharpening the pencils, changing the slides, getting the material collected and alphabetized, putting things back where they belong, getting my unicorns back lined up in the order that I use them in the class. Like literally I have a job for everything. There is a person who controls my slides every single class I don't hit Next Slide anymore. I don't use my clicker anymore. There is a person in charge of being a class ambassador who greets people who come to our class. There's the person in charge of all technology distribution in my class, I have a job for everything. And I, I can't imagine life without it.
Class Jobs Course
I did a course with John Seifert on class jobs. John is a high school teacher. And he has been doing them for 25 years, I have only been doing class jobs for this is my second year with them, but I love them. But John and I decided to do a course together. So, we could talk about the two different like angles of what it looks like in high school, what it looks like in elementary and middle. And if you're interested in that, I'm going to link it in the show notes as well. If you're interested in feeling like liberated with all the help that you can get in your classroom with 25, different helpers, every single class, if you have classes that are bigger than that even more reason, you can create more jobs. Every single person in my classroom community has a job. In my smaller class sizes, sometimes they have two or three jobs. But everybody is a valued member of the community, and everybody has a role within it. And when kids are like, I don't know what job to apply for, I don't want any because that happens, I say, well make sure that you tell me at least ones that you're semi interested in. Because I would hate to give you a job that you're really not interested in because everybody will have a job in this class. And that often encourage them encourages them to think about what they would really be interested in. Again, I'm going to link to that course in the show notes. And if you are part of my email list, you could just go to your email and check that out. Because I'll link it there too. I love you teacher. Remember to be calm and gentle with your voice. And be patient with students and with yourself at the beginning of the school year. And send this to somebody who you think needs the reminder or who you think does a good job of modeling patience with their students that you appreciate. I love you. Thank you for supporting me, thank you for supporting this podcast and until next time, I'll be teaching la vida loca and I'm sure you will be too and if you're not yet if you're still on summer break. Oh my gosh, you better be lavishing it. Here I am in my third full week with students, fourth week with students really but third full week with students like fifth or sixth week back in general. Dang, you better be lavishing that vacation and love you teacher. I'll talk to you soon.
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