I do not have much time to write, but I wanted to give you a quick update on my first few days of school.
First of all, I’m loving it. This is such a wonderful school. The students are so polite and kind, and everyone has been so welcoming to me. Plus, not having FOUR preps and SIX classes a day (with an “off” period usually reserved for substituting) is amazing. I have two “off” or “prep” periods! And I get to use them! And I am especially blessed because I only have 1 prep (or 1 and a 1/2 if you count my Honors class separately), and thus I have a lot more time to preparing lessons and giving more frequent feedback on assignments. It’s still a lot of work, and I am still very exhausted after most days, but it makes me wonder how I ever got through my first two years of teaching.
Second of all, I feel like this:
Okay, my kids are a bit bigger. And I wasn’t this sweet the first day of school – in fact, I hear I was kind of scary. But that’s how I felt on the INSIDE.
Third of all, I devoted my first week of class to procedures and what Carol Dweck class “Growth Mindset.” Basically, her idea is HOW we view our own intelligence AFFECTS how we are able (or not able) to use our intelligence.
For example, if you believe that intelligence is static, that you were born smart or born not-so-smart, that belief has certain behavior consequences. On the other hand, if you believe intelligence is dynamic, that it can grow and be shaped over time, that belief also has consequences.
Another example: saying things like “I am an A student” or “I am a C student” means you probably have a fixed mindset. You believe intelligence is innate and remains basically the same throughout your life. This can have serious consequences for both the “A students” and the “C students.”
So, my first bell work assignment was a survey that students took that helped them analyze their own views of intelligence. Throughout the week, we talked about the results and what they mean.
Here’s a great visual chart I gave my kids to look at:
They got pretty excited about this topic, because even though they (and all of us) have heard the “work harder” mantra and the “practice makes perfect” cliche, they had not heard these ideas presented in such a new and well-researched way. And honestly, Dweck shows us how just “working harder” is not enough. If you’re interested in these ideas too, check out this awesome website on Mindset. Read it with an open mind (pun intended). Honestly, when I first started reading about Carol Dweck’s studies in my educational psychology class, I was rather skeptical because I thought it was going to be more bland “self-esteem” stuff… but actually, learned a lot about myself and my own approaches to success and failure.
Fourth of all, this is what my Labor Day Weekend Forecast looks like:
Very busy, with a 100% chance of a grading downpour, a 95% chance of exhaustion, and a small but rather alarming 10% chance of drowning in papers.