Day 6: The Trouble with Transitions

This March I’m “slicing” a piece of my day every day in chronological order,11454297503_e27946e4ff_h sequentially.

Transitions happen throughout every day. Some students anticipate the next move. They know the drill. They hear the call. They are ready to learn. These students are unusual. When they arrive, notebook and pen in hand, desk neat, I tell them they just got an “A” in middle school.

The majority of students are not there yet. For most, transitions are tough.

There is the one who is quietly reading. The one who is digging around in his desk for his notebook. The one who hopes if she’s really quiet, no one will notice. And then there are the many conversations that distract and derail students along the way to the next thing.

The time between the first student to the last in a meeting area makes me want to abandon whole group instruction. But there are times we need it: a conversation, a lesson, a read aloud. One would think with all my years of teaching fifth graders, with all those transitions, I’d have mastered them, but I’m still learning. Wondering if it is possible.

Recently I’ve been investigating teaching students across all subjects. It’s an exciting and intimidating venture. Just imagining a room of math teachers and my self-esteem goes south. They quickly calculate while I think if I’m really quiet they won’t notice me.  Facing what I don’t know makes me want to stay in my seat and dig for a notebook.

That is exactly what my students feel every day. Because of my experience, I forget what that means. Being a learner is living in discomfort. It makes sense that moving from one thing to the next is tough.

Transitions happen at individual rates.They are sticky and uncomfortable. But they are necessary. And that is the trouble with transitions.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the March 2017 Slice of Life Challenge. Read more slices here.