Being Human: No longer allowing myself to feel guilty. 

One of my year 2 goals was to work in a way that was sustainable. I failed miserably. Year 3 took the biggest toll on my body both physically, mentally, and emotionally as I had a group of my most challenging students. (I LOVE them to death, but they drained my energy. Every. Single. Day.) So needless to say my work-life balance was…well imbalanced. 

I really enjoyed my travel this past summer and did 0 teaching related work except for 2 days (and whatever I did in Utah at PCMI, but I’m not counting that as “work”). I came back to work relaxed with very little stress because I knew I didn’t do anything during the summer, so  there was no point in stressing over the fact that I had done nothing. 

In Urubamba, Peru — Sacred Valley close to Cusco

I didn’t really have time to do anything, therefore things wouldn’t be complete, and with only 2 days to prep for students, I wouldn’t finish everything. Duh. 

It’s taken 4 years to finally not feel guilty about getting an impossible amount of things done in an unrealistic stretch of time. 

I haven’t overplanned like I usually do or overstress my first month of teaching–which has done wonders for my sanity. I have less expectations, so when things don’t go perfectly I have less disappointment. I’m still working my butt off, my students are still learning, but I’m no longer allowing myself to feel like I’m not good enough. I’m allowing myself to be human–with human limitations of time, energy, and physical and mental capabilities. 

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Flexible Groupings

This last week we joined 3 classes that have math at the same time and regrouped students into 3 semi-homogenous groups. We based the groupings on diagnostic data from iReady, an adapative program that gives us the grade level equivalency of students based on their performance across different strands in math:

  • Number and operations 
  • Expression and equations
  • Geometry
  • Measurement and Data

My initial hesistancy when this was proposed was that this would become tracking and we’d be doing disservice to students who were below grade level. Here’s what we’re doing to ensure that this remains flexible grouping.

  • We’ll be revisiting the groupings often. We’re open to moving students as needed. 
  • All groups take the same standard aligned exit ticket at the end of the week. The idea is to get students to be able to complete the same task,  but the process and time to get there might be different. For example this weeks goal was for students to solve ratio word problems by generating equivalent ratios. My group, Group A, where students are at grade 5 equivalency or above immediately went into solving word problems without any scaffolds, group B (grade 2-grade 4) also solved word problems, but were given a table to organize their thinking. Then group C (below 2nd grade level) started with analyzing number patterns and then moved into the same lesson as group B.

Here’s some work that my students did the first day of the flexible classes.


I haven’t yet had a chance to look at student work from the different groups yet, but I’m excited about this a lot more than I was when it was first proposed. I’m looking forward to seeing students move around between groups in order to get the support that they need.