And so, after a long winter break I reflected. Without argument the group as a whole is difficult. One teacher approached me after a week of rotating classes for science and offered help, "if you ever need a break from them, let me know- I can help!"
...not the words a teacher wants to hear. Translated, "Yes, your class really is THAT bad. You weren't imagining it!"
Individually, each one has something about them that truly makes them my favorite. As a whole? I couldn't put my finger on it. They weren't my favorite class- but why?
I met with an old colleague and she told me about this cool new behavior monitoring iPad app- it allows teachers to keep constant tabs on every child and will even send behavior reports regularly to every parent. The app covered any behavior you could think of- from lacking focus to down right disruptive.
But it was so negative.
So I decided to take another route- focus on the positive.
When winter break was over- I had a long chat with my class- we discussed our strengths and weaknesses as a class. We talked about the need to respect each other and overall- the need to be kind.
And I put up a "Random Acts of Kindness Tree."
To start, the tree was bare. A blank slate, sad and empty looking.
For homework they were told to write down any random act of kindness the committed in the past month or so. They wrote the good deeds on leaves, and the tree began to look more full. I gave them this resource to give them some ideas on examples of Random Acts of Kindness.
And the feel of my class changed. The environment became more kind- the kids showed respect- and each individual child that I loved with all of their individual strengths began to work together as a classroom unit.
And that app? I still haven't even downloaded it. I don't see the need.
Every time a kid does something kind, they get to fill out a new leaf. And the tree keeps growing with every act of kindness. It's quickly filling out to be a bright and beautiful tree and my class is finally a bright and positive group. No need to take a break from them ;)