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What would you like your teacher to know?

Written by Lane Yarnell
December 17, 2020

I am all about getting to know my students! They are the life, the joy, that comes to my career choice.

    I teach second grade, so spending time with the kiddos is so easy. They are young enough that they are impressionable and still enjoy school and learning, while also being old enough to sit in their chairs and follow along with a lecture for more than five minutes. They are young enough to get inspired and feel motivated when they figure out what 18-9 is, but not so old that they give up halfway through. Second grade is a nice age to work with.

    And every student is different. This year I have a vast range of kids, which is even more apparent thanks to distance learning. Last year it didn’t matter if kids couldn’t read when the year started, because they would get verbal and visual directions from me, as well as a helping hand in completing activities. Starting off this year on Distance Learning meant that the majority of my directions were verbal only or written directions, which means they are no longer readable by one third of my class.

    This year I have students who I can sit and speak to like grown ups. I have students who can read at a fourth grade level. I have students who can write a story using dialogue about their friends Shadow and Snowflake who are flying cats traveling into space. I have students who can solve four pages of math before I have even finished teaching the rest of the class how to solve problem one.

        I also have students whose parents are not home to support them with distance learning. I have students who can’t identify the letter a, much less write the compound word practice page we are working on. I have students who have their older sisters make their lunch of frozen chicken nuggets because their mom is still at work and won’t be home for another six hours. I have students who go to work on the nursery with their parents because it isn’t safe for them to stay home on their own. And I have students who are living in their dad’s work van and haven’t bathed in two weeks because mom is too busy to take care of them right now.

    It’s a rough year. A mix of reading levels, a mix of number sense, a mix of student circumstances that could either bless or curse their second grade year. And the toughest part is, I feel like most of the kids don’t know me, because they’ve only ever seen the top half of my face teach them how to solve mathematical equations.

    Getting to know my kids is my favorite part of teaching, which is why this year may be the roughest of all. So I think that the kids may not be ready to share this information with me. I feel like they maybe need to know me better before they feel like they can share this type of stuff with me… stuff that maybe I already know, or even stuff that I am unaware of.

    That being said, every day we have a Morning Meeting. Every Monday I ask students about their weekend, and they can tell me anything they’d like. Every other day I ask a question to get to know them better: “What is your favorite…” or “Would you rather…” or “If you could be…” and it’s fun hearing their responses. Some are shallow and barely answer the question, while others really help you see the world from their perspective. I love hearing those little bits and pieces from the voice of students, and it is fun, too, for the kids to find out that they may have something in common. It might not be as personal in the ways stated before, but I hope they love to come in the mornings and share a little piece of themself!

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