For fourteen years I taught middle school, and then I was suddenly dunked into teaching third and fourth graders last school year! What a shock! And on top of that shock, I soon learned that I had an extremely challenging class – one like I had never had in middle school ever. My year was dark, dreary, and full of days wishing that I had never gone into teaching. I needed something to bring me back out of my black hole.
I found my sunshine again in Whole Brain Teaching! Last summer I happened to go to a professional development class on differentiated instruction where the professor brought in a teacher who used Whole Brain Teaching in her classroom. I was instantly hooked. I knew this had to be my answer for the next school year – the school year where all my third graders from the previous year were now going to be my fourth graders this year. Those were my most challenging students, and I now had Whole Brain Teaching on my side to conquer those challenging behaviors. This would be my tool to make teaching not only possible for the coming year, but also fun! What more could I ask for?
My year began, and on the first day I had my classroom rules up, the scoreboard up, and a few techniques ready to go. And the first day was great! It worked! Without going into a lot of detail, I moved along with the different levels with the scoreboard as needed. The kids ate it all up. Fabulous! My black hole was almost nonexistent.
Then the end of the year approached. My anxiety arose as I saw almost all of the levels completed (except the Agreement Bridge), and I was beginning to have a few troubles again. My sunshine started approaching the black hole again. What was I going to do to finish the end of the school year successfully with these challenging kids?
I was trembling a little, but then I received an email from Coach B that said he would be in Bakersfield for a conference. My black hole retreated a bit when I emailed him about attending and he said that I could be his personal guest!! Oh, yeah!
Saturday morning I sleepily rolled out of bed and made it down to Bakersfield on time, and I was so glad I did!! I learned all the mistakes I had been making all year with my techniques, and learned a lot more techniques that I hadn’t been using at all. And the one thing that made my black hole disappear completely this year at the end was the Super Improver Wall. What a lifesaver!! It has transformed my class at the very end of the year. The students are now excited again to get to class, behave, follow the rules, and improve in a number of other ways. Even my toughest kids are super excited about reaching the Living Legend level and having their picture displayed in my classroom until I quit teaching.
However, the biggest accomplishment with all I learned at the conference in Bakersfield is that I can’t wait to get to school each day! And I don’t want the school year to end because I need more time to practice my techniques and use more strategies with these kids that I now love dearly! Thank you, Whole Brain Teaching and Coach B!
Last Edit: 26 May 2012 22:50 by mcwc. Reason: formatting paragraphs
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Great post that neatly ties in your experience with WBT and how it relates to one of our conferences that you attended. Here is a 100 CP Conference Medallion ... what a great beginning you have made on your climb to Teacher Heaven!