Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Top Two Patience Testers (Day 26 of SOL15)

I think you need to have a lot of patience to teach a group of first graders.  When I find myself loosing patience, I remind myself that they're only 6 years old.  Today I'm considering two things that are currently testing my patience.  I'm calling them Patience Testers.  

Patience Tester #1
This week our Physical Education Teacher started promoting the Jump Rope for Heart event.  Kids jump rope to raise money for heart disease.  In addition to raising money, they win prizes.  One of the prizes they can earn is a lanyard and plastic ducks they can attach to it.  It is one of the first prizes they can earn and extremely coveted by all first graders.  This morning a parent dropped off her little one early (about 10 minutes before the morning bell).  She wanted to deliver the pledge money for her first grader's pledge form that she forgot to attached the day before.  Shortly after, the bell rang and we started our morning.  A little bit later the mom appears in the doorway with the lanyard and the ducks.  Her son excitedly runs over to collect his prizes.  Let's forward to about an hour into our morning.  One of the ducks has fallen off the lanyard and he brings it over for me to fix. This is where my patience is tested.  I'm in the middle of teaching and the last thing I have time for is attaching ducks to the lanyard.  I calmly tell him to put the duck in his backpack and his mom can attach it when he gets home.  A little bit later the same child comes over to me again with a second duck that needs to be hooked onto the lanyard.  I repeat my earlier instructions.  Now, this duck thing is becoming a Patience Tester.  I'm happy that my first graders are raising money for a good cause, but those annoying ducks are a big distraction.  My new rule:  All ducks must remain in your backpack so they arrive home safely.

Patience Tester #2
Shoe tying!  Need I say more?  To solve the problem of having to stop what I'm doing to tie shoes throughout the day, I created a list of Shoe Tie Helpers.  It doesn't solve the problem completely because my first graders often seek shoe tying helpers at the most inconvenient times (like right in the middle of a lesson).  "Can somebody tie my shoe?!" has been a common request in our classroom.  Rarely, will I assist in tying shoes because it's a skill I encourage my first graders to learn as soon as possible.  Today, I made an exception and stopped to tie a pair of shoes for one of my first graders.  An hour later, the same child yells, "Can somebody tie my shoe?"  I couldn't believe it!  The same shoes I tied an hour earlier and with double knots.  When I questioned him about this, I found out that he had untied his shoes on purpose.  My plan:  Send home a note to parents requesting that they teach their first graders how to tie their shoes over the break.  I will no longer tie shoes for the remainder of the school year. If they can't tie their own shoes, they will have to enlist a Shoe Tie Helper.

Spring break is around the corner.  I'm sure my patience for ducks will return.  Not for tying shoes, just for ducks.


  1. We have some Patience Testers in middle school, too; but plastic ducks and untied shoes are not issues I have to face. I really enjoyed your post and couldn't suppress a smile while reading your new rule, "All ducks must remain in your backpack so they arrive home safely." Priceless!

  2. God bless you for teaching those young ones! 6th grade tests my patience in different ways, but student teaching 10 years ago taught me that it takes a special person with a special heart to teach our babies...and it's not me! I hope your spring break brings lots of time for patience-renewal! :)