If you teach, you are probably well aware of the need to have “I can..” statements posted in your classroom. These sentences serve as guides for students as they move through the day’s material. Sometimes, I find myself focused on the need to mention these “I can.” statements more than I do on the actual teaching of my lesson. I worry that I am going to be observed and, while being observed, forget to refer back to this wall. I worry that I am not using enough differentiation or formative assessment. I find myself feeling tense when the door knob moves, because I am afraid that someone is coming in to evaluate me as a teacher; and even though I feel that my students are learning, I live in a constant state of uneasiness while at school.
I have to get a grip if I’m going to make it through the school year, so I’m trying to create my own list of “I can..” statements.
Here are my goals for this school year.
1. I can love every student in my classroom equally because they are all created in the image of God.
2. I can treat every student in the same way that I want teachers to treat my own children, with patience and love.
3. I can whisper prayers for peace in the midst of chaotic days.
4. I can take deep breaths and know that all I can do is my best, remembering that there is a certain amount of responsibility that falls on the students.
5. I can plan creative lessons and then hope that my technology works properly.
6. I can allow students to sit on the carpet while I read if that is how they listen best.
7. I can laugh at my students jokes, because sometimes they’re actually funny!
8. I can stay late a couple days a week and catch up on grades…because taking work home never seems to be a good idea.
9. I can share my beliefs through connections to our reading material and allow my students to freely share theirs.
10. I can be positive. I can be positive. I can be positive.
Yesterday, as the day was winding down and ten minutes remained before the final bell rang, one of my students noticed that in the corner of my room a mouse had been successfully caught on the janitor’s sticky trap. Now, if you’ve read my blog for a while, you will remember vividly that I am TERRIFIED of mice!!!!!!!!!!!!! Before I could say, “Stay away from the mouse,” a herd of boys had surrounded it and were bending down to pick it up. I made my way for the door, because I told my students a long time ago, “If there is a fire, I will not leave the room until you are all safely out and on your way to the exit; but if there is a mouse, I will meet you outside.”
I ran across the hall, but of course the instructional couch was not in her office. I turned to see one of our Frankfort ladies at the end of the hall to whom I screamed, ‘We’ve caught a mouse and it is still alive.’
I turned back towards my room to see my entire class coming out of the room, with a grinning boy carrying the mouse on the sticky paper leading the way.
I ran to the next teacher’s room and tried to run in. His door was locked.
I ran to the next door, opened it, ran in, and shut it. I wish you could have seen the look on the new teacher’s face as well the looks on her student’s faces. Several boys from her room ran to the door as I ran to the phone, trying to reach our assistant principal or a teacher in the same hall who could help me.
Finally, Mr. Jarvis answered his phone and headed towards the group of kids and the wriggling mouse.
They were able to get a trash bag and take care of removing the mouse from the premises, and I was able to safely walk the hall.
Somehow, these kinds of moments don’t seem to fit into a normal “I can..” lesson, so I have to remember that while I am teaching I have to be prepared for anything, because….
Crazy things happen.
Unexpected events occur.
Mice get caught.
Boys love these moments.
Teachers (like me) run.
And then life goes on.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know this.
Today I’m a teacher.
And I have no idea what is going to happen.
But thankfully, God does. And I’m just thinking that He’s already smiling………
About your day and mine.
Because no matter how tough, how painful, how scary, how uncertain, He’s there.
Our Father is there.
And knowing He is with me reminds me of my most important “I CAN” statement!!!!
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!”
Phil. 4:13 (ESV)