Friday, October 11, 2013

It's My Fault

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

After a few days of successfully building behaviors of independence and stamina for Read to Self in a first-grade classroom, all progress seemed to come to a screeching halt. I channeled my inner Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, forcing myself to
  • stay out of the way; 
  • speak with kind words and in a kind tone; 
  • facilitate problem-solving conversations once we'd regathered; 
  • and make sure I didn't skip any of the 10 Steps to Independence. 
None of it worked, and although it was a full moon, I couldn't blame our lack of success on the fact that the earth, sun, and moon were in approximate alignment.

Instead, after watching the start of the fourth bumpy round in a row, I walked over to the classroom teacher and said, "It's my fault." And indeed it was. Her students were simply not ready to choose their own Read to Self spots. Despite the fact that we had taught, practiced, modeled, and written about how to choose a successful spot, they couldn't do it because they weren't ready. So, I gathered them together and said this to them:
Boys and girls, aren't you thankful that we are allowed to make mistakes? Well, I made a mistake. I let you choose your own spots too early. It is my fault. You just weren't ready. I could tell you weren't ready because your behaviors of independence and stamina came to a crashing halt when you started to pick your own places. So tomorrow, and for the next few days, your teacher is going to have you try different spots around the room. As soon as we think you are ready, we will revisit the lesson on choosing a successful spot and try again.
There wasn't a fuss or whine in the group. In fact, I think they were a little relieved. Bumpy doesn't feel good to anyone.

Sometimes, as much as we'd like to blame the kids, it might be our fault. The best thing we can do is own it and move on. In this case the blunders and absurdities were indeed mine. I intend to begin again with serenity and the highest hopes.

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