With the countdown comes the push to work extra hard to be ready for grade 2. I am like a broken record these days, constantly telling the kids that there are only ___ days left and they have to be working harder.
The other thing I find myself saying a lot right now is along the lines of, "If I sent you to one of the grade 2 teachers would they think this is almost in grade 2 work?" Clearly, the answer I'm looking for is NOOOOOO! And this is followed by the student to whom I am saying it, returning to their desk to do more work.
That said, you have to know that in every class there is always one student who can't help but be a smart aleck when asked the question. They will look me straight in the eye and tell me that it is almost in grade 2 work (that it is practically illegible and clearly isn't even meeting the minimum expectations for grade 1 is immaterial!). When this happens I send that student to a grade 2 teacher who, of course, tells them that they'd better go work on it some more because they aren't quite ready. (I've got it all arranged ahead of time with the grade 2 teachers in question. Aren't I sneaky?!?)
Then there are the moments when the stars all align and a student who usually puts in a so-so effort, suddenly writes like it is September of grade 2 already. When I can send that student to a grade 2 teacher to get a ton of praise and enthusiasm for their effort! And often an extra sticker to boot!
This happened in class on Friday. Can I get a hallelujah?
The printing is neat. The spelling is almost all correct. There is punctuation. There are 5 sentences. And...it was done completely independently. Check it out!
I am not sure that anyone who is not a teacher can really appreciate the feeling that I get when the light finally, finally, finally goes off and a student performs in a whole different stratosphere from before. Day after day after day, I slog away teaching basic skills and, for the most part, the progress I see in the students is slow and incremental.
But, every once in awhile, there is a jump in ability that is so apparent, so noticeable when compared to the week before that it warms my heart and helps me to remember that I am making a difference (even when it doesn't seem like my efforts are ever going to help them to read, write, understand addition, etc. etc. etc. You get the idea!) in the lives of my students.
I can hardly wait to find out who is going to take off this week!