The First 9 Months: First Year Teacher Full Documentary

The First 9 Months: First Year Teacher Full Documentary

October 21, 2019 54 By Stanley Isaacs


♪ [music] ♪ – [Becky Brady] Beginning my student
teaching semester, I had a million questions for my cooperating teacher. And
one of the things I remember really being intrigued by when she would talk about
home visits or she would say something about this student and I would be like,
“How do you know that?” And she’d be like, “Oh, during home visits.” So I always knew
that this school did that but I didn’t realize it’s only where that does that.
And I think it’s great. Last night, I paired up with another
kindergarten teacher and I had a list of my students that were color coded with the
map of where they live on post and she had her map and we drove from house to house
with a little bag of goodies. They don’t know that they have been given
me as a teacher, so I just have to say, “I’m your kindergarten teacher, it’s
really great to meet you.” But it really gives you a good look into the child’s
life if you can just see a peek through their front door. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Renee Caraballo] I have currently just
finished a lot of my to-do list and my to-do list is still a mountain. It’s
really frustrating because I feel like I’ve done so much but I still have a lot
left to do. And I know that getting it done before my kids arrive for
back-to-school night is going to be completely insane. – [Bridget Winter] I’m excited to get the
class list, to put name tags on the desks, as minimal as that sounds. There’s a few
finishing touches that I want to do in my room and then, next week, I’m really going
to try and hit it hard with lesson plans going and having my first three days
nailed down as well as, you know, just different fun activities, so really
organizing that and getting it all concrete. – [Caleb Roth] Right now, we are all
handling open house. We have tons of forms that all these parents have to sign, it’s
been crazy. We got flooded with children. But it was great. And I’m really excited
now getting to meet a lot of my students, It’s awesome to see who I’m going to be
teaching for the next year. So all my students are here, they’re
ready, I just need to know if I am. I mean look at this room. Does this room
look like the room of somebody who’s ready? Because, no, it does not. – Tonight was open house and I don’t think
any amount of preparation could’ve I prepared me for this evening. I thought
I was really well-prepared and I thought was really organized and then I had 20
families come in all at once and bombard me. And it was awesome but it was also
really terrifying at the same time. I also didn’t realize how many parents
kept their children off ADD and ADHD medicine over the summer, so I had a lot
of rambunctious friends running around my classroom tonight. But that is okay
because we will talk about rules and procedures and make sure that everything
will, hopefully, go a little bit smoother on the first day. ♪ [music] ♪ – Well, it’s the first day of school.
It’s about 6:35 and I am ready to take on some kids.
Here we go. Here’s my classroom, all ready
to go with the agenda. Students brought their
book bags in on Sunday. I’m feeling quite nervous. I’m ready to go
and I’m ready to be a teacher. Here we go. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Together] Ready, jump.
And now we’re done. – So today was the first day of school
and I am exhausted. We just really talked a lot about rules and procedures.
But I tried to keep it light and fun and we did some fun team-building things.
We came up with our own classroom handshake and that was
really entertaining to watch. ♪ [music] ♪ – Well, day one is complete. As a
first-year teacher, it went a lot better than I expected. We did a lot of group
activities with other sixth-grade classes, so that was nice. I love my students and
cannot express how much going over rules and procedures it’s going to take for
these kids. Definitely have some strong readers in the group, lots of students
that want to be here but also some of those ornery boys that I’m going to
have to figure out what to do with them. But I look forward to the challenge and
I’m going to go get some sleep. It’s almost 9:00 and I am needing
some energy for tomorrow. So, see you then. ♪ [music] ♪ – Everly, we’re having fun? – Today was really hard. My first day of
teaching, ever. And it’s kindergarten, so it’s not only my first time but it’s
their first time ever coming to school. Sitting in your chair, that’s foreign.
Raising your hand, not a clue what that is. Not talking all the time.
You can’t just get up and leave. Who knew? And the joke of the morning
was, if your first day kindergarten, you don’t lose anybody and nobody dies,
you have a good day. And I almost freaking lost one. So I sent a little girl home on
the bus that shouldn’t have been on a bus. The bus was taking her to her home
address that we have here on file. She doesn’t live at the house that we have
the address for. Her mom now lives with friends and she’s not supposed to ever
go back to the house she lives at. And I sent her to that house because
I put her on the bus. We found her, things are fine. But things like that,
that made the day worse than I felt like it already was because I thought I lost
a student. It is what it is, I guess. As I’ve sat here thinking like,
“What could I have done better?” I realized that there is no way I could
have been prepared for what today was. Yeah, today was hard. ♪ [music] ♪ My name is Becky Brady and I’m from
Wichita, Kansas. I have two parents, Pat and Terry, and then I have
an older sister, Sarah, and then a younger brother, Steven. My dad runs our family business, Brady
Nursery. Since my dad was always at work, we would just go to work with him and we
would occupy our time in the fields or on four-wheelers or get a golf cart.
But it was us, tearing around in it, most of the time. It’s just been
fun growing up, having this family business that I always had a job at and my
whole family was pretty much always here. – [Catherine Brady] Becky has always been
a real smiley child even when she was a little baby because she was always, you
know, happy and friendly to everybody, it seemed like. – In high school, part of the day, one
semester, I went to fourth and fifth grade combined classroom where I was just a
teacher aide and that’s kind of where I really got into it and really decided that
I like this and I’m not horrible at it. – [Rosemary Duling] From the minute
Becky came in my classroom, she was a natural. I felt like I’d known
her her whole life, even though I’d just met her because she’s just that
personality, that she interacted well with adults and the students. – [Patrick Brady] I think that the real
good teachers, the ones that I’ve had, the ones that Terry’s had, the ones that,
you know, Becky’s had, they’re doing it because they have a passion to do it. – [Terry Brady] Becky could do
anything she set her mind to do. I mean she could be a doctor, she could be
a lawyer, she could be an architect. She is so talented and so bright
and so curious about everything. She could be anything she wanted to be. – Not a hot dog, my hot dog. – Well, I thought it was wonderful.
Knowing Becky, I’m sure she’s going to do well because she’s one of those
people that’s kind of full of joy. And when people meet her,
I think they feel that. ♪ [music] ♪ – Good afternoon. I survived my second day
of teaching today. I always feel like these days can be a little bit boring and
you got to spice it up for the kids because you can just see the deadness in
their eyes. To liven things up a bit, I decided I was going to put a little bit
of a Language Arts spin on it but we were going to have a snowball fight. Their
first instructions were to finish the exposition and then, after that,
crumple up their paper. They loved it. It was so much fun, it just gets me
really excited for this year. I really think that these students are
going to work hard for me and I think, that just maybe, I might be able to
make an impression on them. ♪ [music] ♪ – Today went a lot better than
yesterday did, it wasn’t as rough, it wasn’t as bumpy. I did get
a little bit more confidence, definitely more of a sore throat but
that’s just from talking all the time. And I definitely had a proud teacher
moment today when a child challenged the rest of the class to be a
different fifth grade class because they had previously been bullied and called
babies and teased for being the younger kids. And she completely challenged
the class to make sure that that was a difference and that was going to be a
change instead of teasing them to make sure that you be the role models that
they need. I just had a lot of really awesome humbling moments today and
I’m incredibly blessed that these kids are mine for the first year and I couldn’t
have asked for a better group of kids to work with. – Hi there. So it is Sunday night right
now. I have been up here working at school for just a little bit
this evening and kind of just needed to get ready for the week coming up. I’ve had
a lot of time to think over the weekend and I think the first day of school was so
rough that I didn’t want to come back on Friday. It was still a hard day, I’m still
reminding them that we can’t just go home whenever we want, and if you have to say
something, you have to raise your hand and things that we don’t think about what
kindergarteners don’t know if they’ve never been to school before. So I just
realized it’s going to be a learning process for both of us and I can’t get
frustrated, at the end of the day, if it didn’t go how I wanted it to. Things
are good, they’re going to get better every single day and they already have.
So I’m excited for the rest of the week. – They are a handful, 27 bodies
in my homeroom is a lot, a lot of hormones, a lot of body odor but
a lot of great personalities that I think are going to make it great
for the school year. I know this is where I’m supposed to be
and I’m enjoying it and I’m tired and I’m ready for tomorrow. ♪ [music] ♪ – Early on in college, I thought maybe
I should look at more diverse public schools, maybe I should look at
lower socioeconomic schools. It wasn’t until I started applying that
I felt more called to teach in a Catholic school. I’ve encountered a lot of stereotypes
about what the Catholic school system is like. They think the kids are going to
behave so much better than public school and that is definitely not true either.
Yes, you know, we have high expectations of our students but a child is a child,
no matter where they go to school. – [Mary Carter] We have some of the same
struggles whether it’s students and their needs, families and their needs,
teachers and their needs. You know, we work hard to serve all students and we
serve all families. But what makes us different is how we infuse Catholic values
into it, the values that we think are so important for our students to learn. – Another stereotype, I would say,
is how awful the uniforms are. But I think it’s great, I’m a firm
believer of uniforms and that also resonates back to we’re all one. – Because we’re family and family
recognizes and understands but still embraces the challenges that they have. ♪ [music] ♪ – We come from a very, very tight-knit
family. My brother and I were very close just because we both had interest in
basketball and sports. And then my sister, she’s two years older than me, so we
would do a lot of things together. My mom is actually a teacher. She taught
high school math out in Western Kansas and then in Buhler. My dad is a very
hard-working man and even when he would come home from a long day at work,
he would ask us about our day. They really showed that they
cared about each one of us. Whenever we were growing up,
I’d always play school in my classroom. – [Marylou Winter] He would go up to her
bedroom and she would be teaching her pretend people and writing on the windows
and I would have to knock on the door then she would do, “Just a moment, please.”
I said, “Well, maybe you could send your children to recess
and you could come back.” “Just a moment, please.” – I had a great band teacher in high
school who’d not only taught us how to be better musicians but also better people. He would always give 110%
and never settle for mediocrity. – [Eric Stambaugh] The first time I met
Bridget was as an eighth grader at Prairie Hills Middle School. She always
stuck out because of her work ethic, she was always surrounded by people
because of that work ethic. And not only that, is that she’s a huge
people person. Whatever she thought that she lacked, she worked twice as hard than
most kids. I always knew that she was going to go to greater things. I think the
greatest compliment that I could ever give to Bridget is that I would trust her
with my own children. – He was a great role model and I really
took I think a lot of his values of seeing, you know, how much work ethic pays
off in life, how much dedication and passion to the profession he had and
demonstrated that teachers play a significant role in every student’s life. ♪ [music] ♪ – Today we are doing an awesome lesson
where we’re looking at culture quilts. I gave them a piece of paper and on that,
they are going to put down pictures, quotes, words, drawings, anything that
really represents their culture. And it’s really awesome to see what some
of the students have already come up with, even though they’ve only had about
20 minutes to work on it before encores. So if you look, you can
see they’ve already started putting flags of their nationalities from where they
were born. Got tons of stuff, everybody’s got markers left out, got
pictures of families being drawn. Here, we’ve got favorite foods.
Somebody way in the back who they love their music, so they’ve got
their phone. It’s just really awesome to see all of the different types of families
and backgrounds and interests that these students have. So I really wanted to touch
on that and help them grow and learn to understand each other. – I love high-fiving the students every
day they come in the door and every day that they leave for school. I think it’s a
great way to just be positive and be that positive face for them in the morning.
Definitely chaotic once the bell rings, that’s one thing I’m trying to learn.
But like I said, being the positive reinforcement, that positive model for
them has been crucial for me and super important as well as making sure that they
know my expectations and procedures. I gave a quiz today on my procedures
and I think some of them were terrified. I made sure to tell them that it’s not
going to be for a grade and just to do their best. But it’s also a great way to
help me understand what I need to continue going over with them and what they don’t
understand. The week has been going by super fast and I can’t believe tomorrow’s
already Thursday. And then, before I know it, it’s going to be the
weekend and planning again for the next week. But I’m enjoying it, it’s exhausting
but it’s definitely a rewarding job. And I know this is where
I’m supposed to be. So that’s all for tonight
from this first-year teacher. ♪ [music] ♪ – One of the things I struggle with a bit
is classroom management and learning how I’m going to be an enforcer and not just a
friend. That’s why I have my desks broken into groups already, so I kind of have
them separated a bit. I have like a few classroom management techniques set in
stone. I just need to learn how to balance it to where I’m not just letting them be
my friend and I can take that next step. I am a little nervous about it but I think
it will, overall, be okay this year. – Let me grab a calendar, okay? It’s hard to manage a class of 20 kids
that have such strong personalities. I was a talker in school and
I have 20 of me, it’s like payback. And that’s what I tell parents too, you
know, I completely understand, no matter who they put me next to, I was
that kid that was going to have the conversation with 20 other friends.
And so, I think that, you know, just having that realness with
the parents has helped me a lot. – My goal is to simplify my directions
and my explanations to add clarity to everything. As a teacher, I would hope
that in a month, I have them ready to be able to move from their tables to the
carpet, to where I just maybe have to say one word or sing one small song and have
them be able to do their job and move around our classroom easily without having
to go back to their seats and practice because they don’t remember
where they should go. – I’m loving my students but
they need practice on routines, they need more practice
with classroom management. But keep in mind, these are sixth graders,
so social is the number one right now. – [Mary Wright] Most new teachers, one of
the biggest things they struggle with is their first year’s classroom management.
If the management is a struggle for you then it makes it really hard for you to
get where you need to be with the content. And so, you can tell when you’re in a
classroom how well the teacher is able to manage their classroom. – [David Warner] New teachers are no
different than first-year students in the classroom, they’re trying to learn what’s
expected of me. And classroom management truly is one of the first things you have
to get a hold of and you have to manage and, for some teachers,
it’s a hard concept. – The things that I look for, do they have
good transitions? Are kids engaged in the learning? Could they do something a little
bit different to get more kids engaged? – [Deb Gustafson] We have a tremendous
amount of procedures in place for how we approach our instruction and our classroom
management. So we put our new teachers through a pretty grueling professional
development process with just new teachers and those things are in place to
ensure that the playing field is level. – And then by second year, they’ve figured
out all the things they’d want to do better. So, you see tremendous growth in
a new teacher over the first year. ♪ [music] ♪ – My brother and sister went to the
Chapman School District and so I grew up going to volleyball games and band
performances and soccer games and they’re just so based around the children. And one
thing that really shocked me was how willing our PTO was to help out this
school. We don’t have a laminator right now and so PTO is actually buying a new
laminator for us and gave each classroom teacher funds to buy things for their
classroom. That was one thing that really shocked me because I never realized how
much the community actually cares. The demographics of Chapman, most of it
is rural country and so 4-H has a very big presence here. They just had the 4-H Fair
last week, it’s just big in the community as well as the military. During my
interview, I was told that a lot of military have chosen to retire here
and so we have a lot of military kids. – I think because of the military aspect,
that’s a unique challenge. How do you deal with kids that may be here
two months and then gone again? And how do you invest your emotional self
in those kids? You know, it’s one thing to have a kid in and out, but do you
make a connection with that child? And so, that’s a huge one for
first-year teachers trying to relate to those kids that are here and gone again. ♪ [music] ♪ – I moved to Topeka when I was about
four or five, I started kindergarten. – [Shawn Marshbanks] She was always
wanting to help others before herself. You could see it at a very young age that
she was a helper. I think that growing up, that kind of lifestyle has made her
the person that she is today. – [Tonya McConnell] It’s tough being
a single parent, raising children on your own and trying to make sure that they
succeed in life. And I haven’t given her everything but I’ve given what I can
with the means that I had. And she’s great. – [Niko Caraballo] Mom worked a lot, so
usually Renee took care of me. – I would always play teacher with my
brother and, you know, make him sit there over the summer with my workbooks
that were two grades above him. I was like, “You have to
learn these skills.” – She kind of helped me see
that I wanted to be a teacher. – In my family, I am the first one to
attend a major four-year university. My mom only had like a year or so of
college but she never…things happen. And I’m not sure about my dad, I really
didn’t grow up with him and so it was a goal for myself. The moment that I figured
out I wanted to be a teacher, I was actually at a high school band competition
and I was in the parking lot. And my mom was like, “You know, we’re at K-State.
What are you thinking you’re going to do? Are you going to come here?”
And I was like, “You know, mom, I think I really want to teach music.”
And she was like, “All right, let’s make that happen.” But then,
as time went on, I realized, you know, I think music’s more of a passion and I
don’t think I could do it every day of my life. And so, I was like… I had the most
fun in elementary and I really… I felt like I found my niche. – As a mom, you want to see your children
succeed and have a better life than what you’ve had. And so, that’s what I want for
her and, you know, doesn’t have to struggle like I did. ♪ [music] ♪ – There’s definitely a period of days
within the week that I’m not as prepared or I realize, “Oh crud, I should have done
that last night.” But for the most part, I know what’s going on, I know where
I want these students to be at. During this summer, I kind of made an
outline of where I wanted the students to be at for each quarter and that’s
been a great pacing guide to follow. But there’s always something that comes up
that I’m not really sure how to handle or I wish I would have been more on top of.
There’s a lot of different factors that go into teaching other than just preparing
a lesson plan, I would say that’s probably 5% of it. – Something that I hope I will learn over
the first year of teaching is really just gaining confidence in my teaching. That’s
something that I really hope to grow and foster and is just, you know, telling
myself, “I can teach all these math skills and I can, you know, help these kids
succeed, not only on their tests but in life as well.” – Right now, you feel like sometimes
you’re like, “Oh my god, what am I doing up here? I don’t know what I’m doing.”
And you like think like, “What’s in my lesson plan?” I’m getting
better at like shifting things around and not following a strict schedule but then
making sure I still get everything done. I feel more in control. – It feels like just yesterday I was
starting but then, at the same time, I feel like I’ve been doing this
now for like a year. Now that I’ve gotten in that groove,
I’m like, “So this is what I can expect.” And actually that’s kind of
just become my new challenge. “I’ve made it this far. Now how do
I keep fighting these battles?” – Helping new teachers is all about making
sure they succeed. And our staff takes that incredibly personal. It’s our
responsibility to make sure they’re successful. If a new teacher is not
successful in our building, it’s not their failure, it’s our failure
to find what type of support they needed in order to be successful. – They’ve been very helpful and when they
asked me to come to them, I knew that they were just ready to help
and so I had a chance to explain the situation of I don’t only have one or two
kids that need a lot of help, I have a handful. And they were eager to
listen and eager to help. – We have a lot of unofficial support
systems in place for our new teachers. We make it look like it’s just random
where it’s actually pretty strategic who’s going in, depending upon what type of
modeling that new teacher needs because every new teacher is different, all of
their needs are different. So for some of them, I need to have
somebody going in their room for support that’s going to temper them, calm them
down, get their anxiety down. For some of them, I need firmness. While
everything I think looks to the student teacher to be pretty randomly selected,
from the office perspective, it’s all pretty strategic. – This quarter has flown by, there have
been ups, there have been downs. There have been parent meetings that have
gone really well, there have been parent meetings that I have left in tears on my
way home and I’m just like, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
as a teacher, I don’t feel qualified for this job.” Definitely have felt that. – So Monday comes around. I planned
Sunday, I’ve got my stuff ready for my students to experience what I had planned.
And it just didn’t go well. It just didn’t go well in every sense of
the way. My students were clearly tired, everybody was just exhausted. And you
could tell when it came to the lesson because the students did not grasp from it
what I hoped they would. I left that day feeling very, very disheartened. – The self-doubt is something that is…it
just creeps in. Even when you know you’re doing the right thing or in your heart
you’re doing the right thing. And I think that’s why you really need to
surround yourself with the positive people that can help bring you up, can help carry
you through some of those hard times and just keep reaffirming that this
is really what you need to do. Teaching from textbooks, teaching on paper
seems way easier than it is in practice because, you know, when you look at like,
“Here’s the best way to do this lesson,” you don’t think necessarily of the
personalities that can throw that lesson off. And having the ability to adapt and
think on your feet is something that you have to learn. You know, just how you pick
yourself up and carry on, that grip, that perseverance,
man, it makes all the difference. – You know, God does not call the
qualified, he qualifies the called. And I feel called to teach and I know He
will give me those skills that I need to teach effectively. – It will happen, just be prepared for it.
I’m a new teacher, I’m going to fail. But I have the rest of the year to show
that that’s not me, that’s just a mistake and that was just one lesson. – [Valerie Rock] Your first year is
definitely a lot more stressful just because you’re trying to figure out your
routine, you’re trying to figure out your schedule, you’re trying to figure out this
whole new curriculum. – [Allison Schoen] I think having a mentor
your first-year teaching is so important because you need that outlet, that they
can feel comfortable talking to somebody to get advice, somebody to
laugh with, cry with. – This is my first-year mentoring, so
that’s been fun too. It’s an experience as well where there’s things that I forget
that I’m like, “Oh, I probably need to let Renee know about this, she probably
has no clue about this.” So you almost get into the routine where
you just know this is what you do at this time of the year and this is how you
handle this situation. So some of those things, it’s been interesting for me to
reflect back on as a mentor and say, “Okay, remember, you didn’t
know this before.” – [Anne Baker] I give her advice if she
has any questions as far as teaching the content, any advice like on classroom
management. Random questions I guess she might have related to
this particular school. – She’s really good about coming in even
before she wants to meet with parents, that’s kind of something that I think a
lot of new teachers are unsure about how to handle that relationship between
teacher-parent. And so, sometimes she’ll come to me and say, “Okay. So how should I
approach this?” Even just basic situations in the classroom that maybe she hasn’t
experienced, you know, just different things that she may not have
thought about before. – Today, during their encore classes,
they talked about bullying. And that’s something in the schools we
always talk about. Every student hears it a million times, teachers hear it a
million times. But today really opened my eyes that it can’t be said enough. Today
at lunch, a girl dropped something and another student called her the B word,
called her fat and then the student also continued to drop racial slurs throughout
the rest of lunch. I had asked the students to write letters to me and, in
the final paragraph, I told them that they could just share anything that they
wanted to share with Mr. Roth. And one student wrote a paper
and it was ripped at the bottom. Well, come to find out, there was a
letter found in the auditorium, the original letter that he had written
me. He had talked about some of his issues with depression and how lately
he has had some suicidal thoughts. And this crushed me. That’s something
that I battled for so long in my life and to hear the student tell me that they feel
that way. He gave me the ripped up portion of his letter for me to read
because he didn’t want anybody to find it because his original letter had been
found. But, of course, parents were contacted immediately. I just hope that
they aren’t too hard on him because I’ve been there. And even though we know as
adults that you don’t need to feel that way, for that middle school child, he
feels that way. Even though he wrote about it in a letter and it could just be a cry
for help, why would I not respond with full action to that? ♪ [music] ♪ Hi, my name is Caleb Roth. I’m from
Conway Springs, Kansas. We have a population of about a thousand, we are
very religious and football is everything. My graduating class only had 40 kids and
we were considered one of the biggest. – [Angie Mooneyham] It seems the
population here is deep-rooted. My parents were here, my grandparents were
here, you know, god forbid we leave the tracks, go out of town. I was so proud of
my son that he wanted to leave the boundaries of this small town, I always
say, “Go, go away. You can always come back, this will always be home
but spread your wings.” But mainly here, it’s people that put
their roots here and don’t leave. – I might not necessarily come back here
myself in my future but I would never trade my upbringing for anything.
I had family on almost every block, I had friends in so many different houses.
On any given weekend, I wasn’t inside, I was walking down the
street to so-and-so’s house, I was, you know, running up to the city park
and playing with my friends. ♪ [music] ♪ – By the time I got to high school, I was
an avid reader, I would go through a book in a day. I was meant to be a teacher,
I was constantly taking care of kids, whether it be cousins or my own family.
And so, I’ve always had that nurturing mentality and I actually had
a Language Arts teacher that really, really opened my eyes to how awesome
teaching as a profession can be and it made a difference in my life to
have her as my educator. And so, I always used to joke that I was going to
come back and take her classroom from her. I didn’t necessarily fit in at school
just because I wasn’t like, you know, a farmer, I wasn’t somebody
that loved to play sports. In this small town, that was
something that was more valued. – Our journey together began early,
I was, you know, 18 when I had him and going to my first year to college.
Everybody stereotyped me. “Well, you’re going to be the teenage mom
and, you know, your oldest son’s just going to be the next generation
of welfare or…” And I always thought, “I hope that he
follows in his determination in not living like everybody else does.”
And he did it. And he continues to prove to everybody that nothing
will stop him. Nothing. ♪ [music] ♪ – Fingers down on page one. – [Children] Fingers down on page one. – Let’s read together, friends. Ready? This week is kind of a wild one, coming
up, our parent-teacher conferences and a field trip. And the most comical thing
about it is that the field trip is to the Beach Art Museum on K-State’s campus. ♪ [music] ♪ – Are you excited for the field trip
today, guys? – [Children] Yeah, yeah. – What are you excited about? – About painting art things. – Where are we going? – To the art museum. – I’m not sure what’s there for
kindergartners, let alone my kindergartners. So wish us luck. ♪ [music] ♪ We just left K-State, we went to the
Beach Art Museum today for a field trip. Art museums are a challenge
for five-year-olds. ♪ [music] ♪ – I have officially survived my first
field trip as a fifth grade teacher and I am 100% completely exhausted.
I really liked it but I didn’t realize how stressful like getting ready for a field
trip would be. We had to leave our building by 8:15 and school
starts at 8:05 and so… It was crazy but everything went fine.
They came home and the entire way home they couldn’t stop talking.
Less are singing “Wheels on the Bus” as fifth graders. – I highly recommend, if you ever get the
chance to go on trips with your students, go anywhere outside of the classroom with
your students, do it because then you become a real person to them. You are no
longer just this figure that stands at the front of the classroom and yells at them.
I didn’t have to sit there and be like, “Hey, get to reading. Hey, stop talking.
Put that fidget spinner away.” You are seen as a human being.
They get to see you interact. So those are the days, like yesterday,
I got to just kind of hang out and be a normal person with them.
And it was just awesome. – [Child] Where? – In the corner. – I don’t see it. – He’s right there, right there. Our field trip to the Topeka Zoo and
my mother is joining us with the trip. – They’re so big. They’re so big,
aren’t they, Hayla? ♪ [music] ♪ – What we’re going to do today is
we are going to do the vocab game once again with our remaining words. – They don’t really tell you how to
prepare for parent-teacher conferences. They don’t really show you how to be
prepared to tell parents that their child needs an IEP or their child needs to be
tested. Parents, 9 times out of 10, are in there to strictly talk about
academics and, “What are my student’s grades? How can they raise them?”
You know, even though it’s another quarter and it’s hard to raise a grade, I found it
very beneficial to just have a personal conversation with the parents.
Don’t see it as, “These are the grades, this is how they need to fix them.” You
just need to go in there and be yourself and be personable. It means the world to
parents if you as a teacher show that you know their child. – I thought a lot about, “How can I make
this a good experience for the parents?” Because this, for a lot of them,
is their first child and so their first parent-teacher conference and their first
school conference or anything like that. So I kept trying to tell myself that I
have all these numbers and I have all these papers but none of that really
matters. It matters like all the good things I can tell them about their child.
So one of the little things I did to try to make it enjoyable and keep me kind of
on track, I wrote these little papers for each kid and it said, “Three glows and
a grow.” So three things that glow about their child that…like our favorite thing
about them and then one area where they could grow. I started conferences with that, so
hoping to open up on a light note and it seemed to be received very well.
And then, they can put it on their fridge or something, so I just decided it was
better to emphasize the positive a whole lot more right now and kind of
pick the biggest area of growth. – I personally loved it because it’s a
great way to make students take ownership of what they’ve been doing. So when the
parent asks, “Well, why is all this work missing?” The student can’t be like,
“They just haven’t graded it yet,” or, “He didn’t explain that.” Instead,
I’m sitting right there, I’m helping them through it and my student has to be honest
because I’m right there and they know that if they’re not honest,
I’m going to be honest. ♪ [music] ♪ – Tomorrow is Halloween. It’s on a Monday
that means the entire day is going to be insane. All the kindergarten teachers we
are dressed up as Mario Kart and I am Luigi. Then after lunch, it’s when it gets
really fun. Have a Halloween party then we do a parade around the
whole school of our costume. – In honor of Halloween, I did up my door
because why not have a little festivity in the classroom? Halloween is definitely
crazy though. You have to be prepared for those sugar-high students because the days
leading up to it and the days after it are all just discombobulated and crazy because
they are eating candy left and right. They’re excited to go out and hang out
with their friends and do all these fun things, that school is just not a focus.
And that was when we saw quite a few behavior issues, but overall, it’s done,
we’ve survived and there’s not much that went too terribly wrong. – We had a Halloween party and I was a
little anxious to see how this party was going to be because I didn’t know if they
would still be excited to have Halloween party or kind of think it was just
childish. They loved it. You know, with a party, I think you just have so
much energy in your students and it’s so fun to see that side of them. You know,
another piece of advice that I have for all teachers is to just really enjoy
those parties with your students. And that is where good relationships are
formed with your students because who doesn’t like a party, you know?
Who doesn’t like to do things outside of what you typically do at school? – Friends, we’re acting right now like
we never came into our circle. Defiance and misbehavior in my class has
become something I’m used to and I’m not flustered by it anymore. I’m still leaving
school discouraged in some way or another. I kept saying, “Well, it’s going to
get better, it’s going to get better.” And, every day, in some way
or another, it’s just been harder. – They are not kidding when they say that
you can get burnt out quickly because I’m feeling burnt out. At first, I didn’t know
what was happening and now I know that it’s burnout. ♪ [music] ♪ – Probably the roughest week that I’ve had
teaching thus far regarding students as well as parents and it just put a lot of
pressure on me, just those little things that you, you know, don’t think about
until they happen. Just a lot of different parent emails that kind of made me
second-guess how I was teaching, second guess my gradebook, second guess
the material that I’m covering and what I’m doing in the classroom. – I’m trying to remain positive about it.
I’m giving so much of myself. Like I’m giving every ounce I can
to the point where I’m just exhausted. I’m trying to keep the energy and I’m
trying to keep positive but so much negative is going on right now, not only
just in my life here at school but in life in general. And it just seems at every
turn, there’s just more reason for me to like not even bother. ♪ [music] ♪ – I kind of feel like I’m in that point
where nothing that I’m going to do is going to be good enough but I know that
that’s not true. I mean, I’m the first person to admit that I’m struggling with
classroom management and that it’ll be a struggle all year long. And there’s way,
way more to teaching than just getting up there and teaching the content. And
sometimes it’s a lot and sometimes I’m just kind of like, “Why did
I choose to be a teacher?” And then, I look at those kids and
I remember these kids are why I’m here. And that these kids deserve the very best
version of me every single day. ♪ [music] ♪ – It may be hard, it may be really, really
hard some days and there’s some days that you might just not even want to get
out of bed but, on the other hand, you know, they’re worth it. And I wouldn’t
have picked another job if I could. – To those people, you know, when you have
those rough weeks, to never forget why you’re doing this and to
never forget why you teach. – I hope I’m good at survival mode because
I think it’s going to become a new normal. ♪ [music] ♪ So two weekends ago, I was able to
go down to Dallas-Fort Worth area, kind of just get away for the weekend. So
my boyfriend and I went down and saw my sister and her fiance and just
spent the entire weekend with them. It was really cool to just be away from
school and be away from lesson planning, being away from grading and take that time
and just hang out. We went kayaking, we went downtown Dallas one night
and just had a good time together. So it was really, really fun to just kind
of catch up on some me-time and spend some time with my boyfriend,
spend some time with my sister. ♪ [music] ♪ – You graduate college, you know, you’re
like, “I got this, I can do this, student teaching was a breeze. How hard
can this really be?” But when you’re the one that’s making the thousand decisions
a day, it can get really overwhelming and really overwhelming very quickly.
And having an outlet is so important, whether it’s binge-watching Netflix or
going to the gym. Just having that one hour to myself where it’s just me,
my music, the weights, running, whatever I choose to do, has been such
a relief for me because that’s my hour of the day. That’s the day
that I can focus on me. – Do something that you’re paying for
or that you’ve signed up for, that you’re committed to. I think that,
for just your mental sanity and your break, you need that. Whether it’s going
to dinner, whether it’s doing something socially, do something for yourself that
you enjoy. Little things like that for yourself will really help your sanity. – Always keep snacks in the classroom.
Today, I was walking around feeling like I was going to throw up because I was so
hungry. So already started eating my trash. I’ve got my coffee open, I’ve got
my water open. And I always have a drawer full of snacks for the students
and for myself. ♪ [music] ♪ – I introduced what I like to call as,
Santa Mail. Sent from the North Pole. And I had it in the freezer,
so when I got it out, I was like, “Oh, this envelope is all cold and why is
it so cold? Oh, it says it’s from the North Pole. Do you guys know what that
is?” In addition to the day that the Santa Mail came, I wrapped up this little dude.
We talked about what his name was and why he was here and that the elf was going to
probably watch us from Thanksgiving to Christmas to make sure that we’re on the
nice list. And we had a big talk about the nice list and that I could call Santa
whenever I needed but this little guy will go home at the end of every week and fly
home and tell Santa what was happening. It says, “Dear Ms. Brady and friends, my
elf’s name is Zippy. He sees everything, so remember to always stay on the nice
list. Love. Santa.” Then I talked about how Santa put a Santa cam in
which is actually the smoke detector. They loved it. ♪ [music] ♪ – So, finished out my first semester,
really awesome. It was long, it was hard, it was grueling but,
you know, I survived. Hey, what else can I ask for? I let them draw on my board,
I let them play board games. It was just really nice to kind of let
them just be kids for a little bit. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Child] There’s going to be
a lot of Goofys outside. – A lot of Goofys? The day of our Christmas party,
all the kids signed up for a different thing to bring. This little
boy, he comes in in the morning and he’s all discombobulated like, “I have
something in my backpack for you, Ms. Brady.”
What is going on? So he hands me two store-bought
packages of chocolate chip cookies. So I just kind of open it. He’s taken a
bite out of every cookie in both boxes. I brought him over
and I’m like, “Come here, come here. So I was just
looking at these cookies that you brought and did you, by chance, look at them
before you brought them?” “No.” “There’s a bite taken out of every
cookie. Do you have an elf at your house?” “No.” “Did you take a bite out of each cookie?” That just like made me laugh. ♪ [music] ♪ – First day of break and we already have a
white Christmas, so I’m not complaining, that’s for sure. I’ve been drinking
coffee all day, I even got my “Teachers Rule” coffee mug. – What are you doing? – Just making some more cookies. – Cookie Monster. – Oh yes, Gram, that’s a
gift from the kindergartners. – Thank you. – Or it can also be a car freshener. I did a lot of laying around, I slept
until like 10:00 every day which I didn’t think was going to happen
but…it’s just kind of weird how like my anxiety level was so chill for break
and I really truly forgot about life at school. And then, coming back
just like hit me like a train. ♪ [music] ♪ – Week one after Christmas break is in
the books. We just started right in with adjectives and I taught some writing. But
one of my things over break that I just kept rolling on was, “How can I help these
kids be more responsible?” Some of them can’t turn anything in and they
struggle to just know what they’re supposed to do for the next day. And so,
for this quarter, I really want to try focusing on taking ownership,
being a leader, those life skills that they’re going to need
way past sixth grade. – What is that? – The Sun. – It’s been a pretty good start.
The kids still raise their hands. I am enjoying teaching. Like math, loving
it the past few days because it’s hard. Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. Now it’s kind of like higher-level
thinking and I’m enjoying it a little bit more. – So how does the freedom of choice,
or lack of freedom of choice, affect the quality of our life? It’s back-to-school time.
We are officially back in session. I’m still struggling a little bit
with falling back into that routine. But it’s been going pretty well
so far, no complaints. In fact, everything kind of
seems almost a little too good. My students have come in well-prepared and
they’ve kind of got right back into the swing of things. I haven’t really seen
any behavior issues yet. I mean, it is still early on. I would hope we’re not
going to see anything too crazy during these first few days. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Skylar Ross] Hi, my name is
Skylar Ross. I’m from Linwood, Kansas, and I am a first-year teacher. So my
teaching experience is a little bit different from the normal teaching
experience. I started in early January. I got hired from the Shawnee Mission
School District to take the place of a teacher that was just switching
positions within the building. And so, instead of starting in August
and having them all year, I started midway with them having one
teacher for three or four months and then having me for the rest. – [Hayley Parker] And that was definitely
another challenge coming in in the middle of the year. The teacher before him
had already kind of taught these students a specific way, so he was
bound and determined. He goes, “I’m going to
somehow make this work.” – So growing up in Linwood was like living
in the typical American small town. Everything else always seemed more
interesting to do if it wasn’t in town. – [Maureen Ross] It’s changed over the
years. It used to have livery stables, banks, hotels and it was quite an active
town many years ago for the railroads. Skylar is the youngest of four. He was
the toughest, the most independent, always on his own. – [Matthew Ross] And he was very athletic
and then, in high school, he enjoyed football. He took to
sports like a duck to water. – All the way up from elementary school
playing soccer, into middle school starting to play football and then onto
high school doing every sport I could. When I was 18 years old, I was playing a
football game against Perry-Lecompton and it was towards the end of our season.
And circumstances happened and I ended up getting a concussion. I first got hit
the second quarter and didn’t really think anything of it. Went out for the second
half the game and I got hit again really, really hard, even harder
than the first time. – Two weeks of that school year, he
doesn’t even remember and he was driving to school, scary enough, those days. – Got my concussion about October
and it continued on through November and December. I had a teacher,
he started talking to me and he was like, “Hey, is everything okay?” I was like,
“Oh yeah, I’m fine.” And he kind of saw through that
and he said, “What’s going on?” I told him that I really can’t remember
anything, short-term memory is just… it was not there. He sat with me for 45 minutes
every day after class and said, “What do you need help with?” After I started working with him in math,
then everything else started happening a little bit better.
My memory came back. He’s one of the main reasons
why I want to become a teacher. ♪ [music] ♪ – It doesn’t surprise me he became a
teacher. But just to have always had the ability to see when someone needs
something. He’s pretty willing to think of them first. ♪ [music] ♪ – I think something we forget a lot of
times as adults and just kind of overlook is that these children are people.
They have thoughts of their own. That’s the whole point of them going to
school. They see things and they can figure things out. – You know, diversity, it’s all over our
country and it’s great to welcome that into the classroom. And so, I look forward
to being able to really individualize everything for my students. I can’t just
do the same old lesson every single day. You have to make it your own. You have to
take the curriculum and your resources and really cater it to your students.
And it’s a challenge. – You do it the way you know and you may
get, out of 26, you may get 18 of them on board and they understand it. But then,
you still have eight that are like, “Well, I don’t know.” And so, that’s when
you have to start digging into your memory bank and thinking, “All right, how is
another way I can explain this?” Really being able to say,
“All right, well, I did get it this way and most of my class does, but I still
need to make sure that these other ones have a chance to do it as well. – You know, I gained a student and she
was taught a completely different way than how we were teaching it
on the test. And so, it was just kind of like that frustration of,
“Hey, you’ve got to learn this way.” – Differentiation is so important.
You have to think intentionally about every single one that you do and you have
to write it down and document it and I’m modifying things all the time.
After a little bit of practice, those challenges and struggle kind of becomes
a little more second nature for you. – What did you name him? – Lucky. – What? – Lucky. – Lucky the dog? – Lucky the… – Shamrock man. – Shamrock man. – Lucky the Shamrock man.
Are you ready to go hang him in the hallway for St. Patrick’s Day? – Yes. – Yep. What did you name yours? – Chasey Patrick. – Chasey? Chase from Paw Patrol? – Patrick. – Chasey Patrick? Are you ready to put
your little guy together? – Uh-huh. – Okay, let’s see. How is going to fit? – Today, I experienced something
kind of hard, I guess, one of those things that just working here on a military
installation that provides challenges that you can’t really always predict. One of my little guys who’s been probably
the most bold character personality here in the class, he’s been
my reason I have headaches, the reason the principals have
headaches. He’s just come so far, still behavior problems but I’ve
learned to just love the heck out of him. And we got word that his family’s moving.
They were clearing from Fort Riley, meaning they would no longer be active in
the military and getting out as soon as possible. His birthday’s tomorrow actually
and his mom said, “I’d like to have a party for him on Wednesday.” He didn’t
come Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. And I have so much of his snack and pins
and pencils and paper and folders and… Not that that’s closure but I get to say
bye to them and I get to say, “I’m so proud of you and I’m going to
miss you and our class isn’t going to be the same and…” I kind of thought
maybe he’d show up today. And then, when I went to do my attendance, he wasn’t
even on my roster. He’s not here anymore and that just sucks. Like they don’t tell
you that sometimes your kids just won’t show back up and that’s hard. – I guess I’ve kind of just come to the
point that, you know, no matter what happens in my day, they’re my group of
kids and I enjoy them and care for them and…I’ve had a kid move away and so he
had a postcard that he wanted to take with him and it was like a picture of Dobby.
And so, I wrote our address on it and he actually like wrote back to us and talked
about his new school and gave us his address and so we’re going to start
pen-palling with him. And so, really just making sure if he’s still
involved in our, you know, Irish family. And sorry…it’s just
a knife in the chest but… But that was kind of a hard thing too,
like, losing your first kid, so… And then, I had another student, her dad
just deployed and so she was a wreck for about a week, coming to school crying
every day. And mom pulled her out for three days and you know, I totally get
that and like just being really supportive of everybody in their time of needs,
when everybody has a time of need, it kind of just puts like this unexpected
strain on…especially when it all happens at once. – It is rapid-fire, Taylor. We also got a new student this week which
was terrifying. And we had introduced her to everybody, everybody introduced to her,
she was very, very quiet. I didn’t know what to do
for a new student. I was really worried that I didn’t do
what I needed to the first day. But as we were dismissing,
she went to the office to go home, and as I was walking to the office, she
sprinted down the hallway and gave me a huge hug and said how excited she was
to be in my class and just how excited she was about the entire school year.
It kind of melted my heart a little bit. I’m really excited.
I think it’s going to be fun. ♪ [music] ♪ – It’s the second semester here and we are
actually in our second six weeks already. Things are just flying by and it’s just
been a really, actually awesome ride the second semester. It’s been crazy like the
night and day difference I feel between last semester and this semester. And part
of it might be that the end is in sight, so I feel more relaxed. It could be that
I’ve got a few better things going for me and not so many family members sick,
those type of things. But honestly, it is so much of just getting used to the
trade and used to the battles and used to like that flow of teaching. I now can say,
surviving my first semester here, that you are going to be tired, you’re
going to be exhausted, you’re going to feel like every day’s a battle and
struggling with all these different things. And I can honestly say that
already, this second semester, I have found a renewed passion and
so much joy within my students. It has truly been a great semester
even with its struggles. ♪ [music] ♪ – I’ve got an email from a parent
this morning wanting to talk. That’s a terrifying thing. I was hoping
it’s going to be like a 15-20 minute meeting and she just left about 10 minutes
ago. So a 15-20 minute conversation turned into a half-hour conversation about what
her daughter thought of me and just overall how I could help the situation
that was happening. And we got it handled. But this parent said, you know, “I’ve
talked to other parents and they were really happy with the way you’re doing
stuff.” And I’ve had quite a few parents shoot me emails and say, “Hey,
Mr. Ross, you’re doing an awesome job.” And as teachers you just kind of soak it
up and eat it up. And sometimes it runs off your back and you don’t worry
about it, you don’t say anything about it, it doesn’t ever affect you.
And then, sometimes you’re like, “Man, I needed that.
I’m so glad, so glad you said that.” – The parents play such a major role in
how kids are treated and handled and what they come to school like and how they
perceive learning. I’ve got parents that are, you know, “Whatever you need,
I will be there for you and I’m going to, you know, help you out in the classroom
and donate when I can,” to, “You’re a first-year teacher,
you don’t know what you’re doing,” to, “Here’s all of the drama in my life.” – I’ve also had conversations with
parents that went very, very, very bad to the point where they were
crying on the phone while talking to me because I didn’t understand how
unique and special their child was. And I found it very hard for myself
to stay calm. I was like, “Okay, Caleb, you got to make sure you’re
not overreacting, make sure you’re not instigating or pushing things further.”
Luckily, I worked in retail for a long time, so I’m very used to that angry
customer type. You just have to be prepared to deal with those parents
that aren’t happy with their item. They are not happy with what’s going on
and they are not afraid to let their voices be heard. – Each week, I’m just looking
for a student to kind of like stand out and go the extra mile or maybe it’s
something as simple as, “Your son held the door for me when he very easily
could have just kept walking on.” Making that known to parents, I find,
has been really important. It’s also been really interesting to see
how parents are responding to getting a phone call from their student’s homeroom
teacher. One mom in particular just sounded so panicked on the phone when
I was speaking with her about her son or daughter. And I just said, “You know,
oftentimes you don’t hear the positive things from a teacher.” Once those parents
feel like they have a connection with the teacher, that the teacher knows their son
or daughter, that makes a huge difference just in the interactions that
I have had with the parents. ♪ [music] ♪ – Good morning. So it’s the last day of
school. I realized it’s the last time I’ll probably ever go through
that gate because I don’t think I’ll ever find myself back on Fort Riley.
Just kind of sad and I kind of got annoyed earlier because I don’t really do emotions
very often. And I already have these dumb goosebumps and I know that I’m going to
have them all day long because it’s going to be a day full of feels. And so, I’m just going to keep
my sunglasses on all day. – We have made it, it is over, the year
is up. I cannot believe I survived. I am exhausted, I feel a million years
older but my heart is also very full. It’s been a really hard day, saying
goodbye. I handed out the letters to students, I also pulled them to the side
and told them each individually kind of just why I appreciated having them in
class and how I’m going to miss them. Like here, I’ve got pages after
pages that people colored me. You can see some writing up here. A bunch of them wrote things on the
back, so that way they could just give little notes to me. I told them I’m
hanging all of these on my fridge and I want to be able to remember them. Somebody even took the time
to paint me a picture. This is awesome. They took so much time
to make this and they made it for me. It was just a really good reminder that my
students appreciated me and it just goes to show that teaching is a very intrinsic
job. You have to remember that you are changing these children’s lives. I had so
many students say that I was the only positive thing in their day. And I even
had one student flat out say, “Mr. Roth, whatever you do,
I hope you teach middle school because your positivity, kids need that.” – Those kids mean so much more
to me than they will ever know. And I will miss them so, so, so much.
You go through all of the up and downs that are…being a first-year teacher.
You’ll figure it out then. If you go in with that attitude that you’re better than
everyone else, you’re not going to make it very far. And if you’re not willing to
accept feedback, you’re not going to make it very far. And if you’re not
a professional, you’re not going to make it very far. – I’ll add this into the things nobody
tells you. The only true power that I have in the world is my reaction to things.
I have the power to plan any lesson I want. Yeah, great. But when things
happen to you or when you need to make things happen in your life, sometimes you
forget that your reaction to good and the bad is very important because it sets a
precedent for what’s going to happen next. Having a calm demeanor, sometimes
saying less is the most important thing. And taking the high road is something
that I’ve learned is so valuable. – There are so many times where you can
truly doubt yourself as a teacher. You’re looking around at all these
other teachers and you’re like, “Well, they’ve been teaching for so much
longer. Wow, how do they do this? That’s probably the best way to do it.”
But just like everybody on this Earth is different and has different ways of doing
things, so do us as teachers. We cannot have every single
classroom be the exact same. How are we going to get to meet
students where they’re at, like that? – We’ve made it through here. A few
times I didn’t know if I would but we made it through. I’ve only been here since
January and so I didn’t really think I made that much of an impression on my
kids. I thought they hated me sometimes because I’m kind of strict. I had one
student in particular that he was really struggling with his anger. Then I had
given him just a note card and it had “Eight things to calm you down.” And yesterday at graduation,
the first thing he said to me is, “Mr. Ross, I still have that piece of
paper and I use it all the time.” It’s something that I just
thought off the top of my head, “Hey, this might help him.”
And, in reality, it actually did. And I was like,
“Wow, that’s something else.” If there’s anything I could leave to
future teachers it’s that don’t be afraid to fail because you will. You’re not
perfect. You’re going to mess up a lot. And that’s okay. – I think I just now finally realized
what this is all about. If I didn’t do what I do,
the world couldn’t do what it does. And I have the most
important job in the world. And I think I just now realized the
importance of my profession, something that it’s really, really, really
hard. But I’d rather have it be really, really, really hard, and know that I am
actually making a ripple effect for ages. This is the gift, to be able
to say that I’m a teacher. ♪ [music] ♪