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Uncategorized   |   Aug 31, 2009

What I’ll miss when I leave classroom teaching

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

What I’ll miss when I leave classroom teaching

By Angela Watson

In case you didn’t catch the news on my Facebook page a few weeks back, I WAS offered professional development work in New York! I’ve decided to continue teaching in Florida for the first half of this school year while my husband and I house hunt and take care of the other 3 million transitional tasks that arise when two people who live 1,000 miles apart decide to get married and start a life together in the same zip code. Yeah, it’s as exhausting (and exhilarating) as it sounds.

School started for students in my district last week, and while those first few days were understandably hellacious and tiring, I’ve already grown quite attached to my class. These are some seriously lovable kids. Take this exchange today.

Me to class: “I’ve noticed that some of you use paper towels to wipe your mouths after getting a drink from the water fountain. The school district pays money for us to have those paper towels, and we use them all day long after washing our hands. I think it would save money and be better for the environment if we used less paper towels.”

Blank stares and slow nods. I decide to elaborate.

Me: “I mean, we’ve got 21 kids in here. If everyone gets a drink four times a day, that’s almost a hundred paper towels a day just for drinks, not even for hand drying. We could easily waste 500 paper towels a week!”

More nods. A hand goes up. This little friend has a deeply earnest expression on his face and a voice full of sincerity.

“Mrs. Watson [oh, how I love hearing my new last name!], I never thought I would be so lucky to have a teacher as smart as you. You are so good at math! How did you DO that just now?!”

Twenty-one heads nod in wide-eyed agreement.

You should have seen the looks on their faces when I explained that by the end of third grade, THEY will be able to solve math problems just like that using the multiplication and estimation skills I’ll be teaching them.

As much as the responsibilities of classroom teaching sometimes drive me nuts…and as anxious as I am to move on to the next stage of my professional career…I will miss moments like the one my class shared today.

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. Congrats on the new job! I missed it on Facebook! One of my new studnets said on the first day, "Do I ask too many questions?" My response, "Not when you need my help." His response, "Phew, I was really worried that I was annoying you!" I just love kids!

  2. It is the moments like these that really keep you going. I have a very hyperactive boy in my class and he has the sweetest personality. I love talking with him and he is a delight to work with one-on-one….which with a class of 36 students is pretty hard to do! I was working with him on a narrative and he told me he wanted to add a raccoon to his story. He asked me how to spell it so I told him to try, then I would help out when he got stuck. Him: R-a-c- (me: and another c))…hmmm I don't know what comes next?
    Is it a 'd'? Me: No but think carefully, let's sound it out. What makes the 'oo' sound. Him: An owl?
    The nice thing was, when he saw me laughing, he laughed too. He can't help but blurt things out in class..he just finds it very difficult to control. So one day this week it was around 1pm and he said, (loud voice and a sigh): 'I'm about ready to go HOME!' I asked him what was up and he said: 'I don't know about 4th grade, I mean, you just keep giving us LEARNING! You give us some learning, and when we're done with that, you give us MORE learning!'
    Awww. By the way Angela, I'll be at 37 next Tues…

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