Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Examining Relationships and Learning

It's hard to believe that we are approaching the end of another year.  For some it's the end of another school year too.  As I think about the calendar year coming to a close, I'm reminded of where I began.  My thoughts drift back to September and the beginning of the school year.  Just three months ago I was preparing for a new school year.  I was putting all of my energy into buying and unpacking supplies, arranging my classroom, planning lessons, copying materials, organizing the classroom library, and the list goes on and on.  However, in addition to all of those things, my deepest thoughts were centered around the new group of students I was anxiously waiting to teach.  What would they be like?  Who were these little people I was expecting to meet?  Would we become a community of learners?  Could we become a classroom family?  For me, teaching is not just lesson plans and activities but so much more.  It's also about making connections and building relationships with my students.

As I reflect on the last few months, I can now answer all of those questions.  My students are amazing.  Each one has their own individually unique personality.  Some more challenging than others to embrace, but each providing me with opportunities to learn from and grow as a teacher.  We are more than a classroom community, we are a family.  We know how to push buttons and how to allow our friends time to decompress.  We share likes and dislikes.  "I love our reading time."  "I don't like it when you call me names, please don't do that."  We know how to complement and how to encourage.  If you visit both our classroom blog http://vruckes.edublogs.org/ and our Kidblogs http://kidblog.org/MrsRuckesClass1112/ you will see evidence of all of these things.  Things that we have in common, and things that are uniquely different.  You will see evidence of how we support and encourage each other, and how much we love learning.  Most importantly, you will see that we are a classroom family.

You may be thinking, so what!  What does this have to do with learning.  I happen to think it has everything to do with learning.  My students and I have spent a lot of time creating a safe learning environment, where everyone feels respected and valued.  We teach each other, and we share in what others have accomplished so far this year.  Students who struggled with reading at the beginning of the school year, are now reading at grade level.  My students love doing the Daily 5,  developing ideas during our writing block, and enjoy participating in rotations for math workshop. They are excited learners who not only learn but teach me a thing or two each and every day.  I'm so fortunate to be their teacher.  I'm looking forward to sharing and learning a lot more in the New Year!

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