Monday, October 8, 2012

Treading Water

School started 7 weeks ago and I am struggling to stay afloat. I was prepared to begin the new year with 28 students. That number quickly grew each day as we got closer to the first day of school. I started with 31 students on the first day, and within the next few days, 2 more were added to my class. My somewhat manageable 28 turned into an unbelievable 33! My classroom was built for 20 students. Fitting 13 extra desks, chairs, and students was a HUGE struggle. Of my 33 students, 21 of them are boys...yowsers! Each day has been a never ending struggle with management, transitions, space, time, and sanity. I have never been so tired and stressed as I have this year. My teaching pace has slowed down dramatically because I'm spending so much time on managing students than on teaching.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful group of parents. My parent helpers have saved me by taking over a lot of my paperwork--checking in homework each day, stuffing folders, correcting, and filing. All of these things were keeping me from enjoying the little free time I had at recess and lunch. My students' parents have given me support with their time and kind words, which have meant the world to me. Just when I think I can't handle anything else, I'll get an amazing e-mail, note, or some much needed chocolate, from a parent letting me know how much I mean to their child and what a great job they think I'm doing. These words give me a little push to make it through another day. :)

Unfortunately, nothing can be done with my class size... :(  I have the biggest first grade at my school and in the district, which is not cool.

What I do need from you and my other blog friends is some advice, tips, suggestions, words of wisdom, etc. that can help me make it through this crazy school year. I have noticed some baby steps towards improving behavior, managing my HUGE group, and dealing with day to day tasks...but everything is ssssslllllloooooowwwww. So, please help! I'd appreciate anything you have to offer. :)