Thursday, July 23, 2015

What 1st Grade Taught Me about High School

So it's my last day of summer 1st grade, and I've realized:

I couldn't do this all year.

Seriously, elementary peeps, I'm talking to you--I don't know how you do this all year. "There's a crayon on the floor!" "He took my turn at the Frozen game!" "He farted!!" Okay, so that last one is true for high school, too. They're always happy to call out who farted.

I've always thought of the kids as tiny adolescents, but really, my high schoolers are large children who hide things better. The first graders really wear their emotions, and call out what's on their mind, and tell you when they're frustrated. I had one student who came in happy every day, but as soon as we did an activity that was challenging his face would change, he would put his head down and refuse to participate. I realized that this behavior is exactly what my older kids do, too, they're just not as forthcoming about it. It shows up as attitude, apathy, and acting out (The Triple A Smackdown!). Adolescents have the same feelings that kids do (so do adults!) they've just gotten better at disguising it.

Teaching first grade also put a glaring spotlight on an area of my teaching I've been told to improve since student teaching: I don't give enough praise. It's just not my nature. I don't like gushing over something unless I really feel it's fantastic, or a great effort was put forth. With the first graders, I realized on day one that unless I gave praise for their work and efforts they didn't want to do the next lesson. High schoolers would never be as emotionally blatant, but if I'm thinking of them now as cleverly disguised large children, I guess it wouldn't kill me to praise more.

Cheers to the last day, and enjoying the rest of summer!!

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