California Standards for the Teaching Profession: Standard Six
6.1 Reflecting on teaching practice and planning professional development
6.2 Establishing professional goals and pursuing opportunities to grow professionally
6.3 Working with communities to improve professional practice
6.4 Working with families to improve professional practice
6.5 Working with colleagues to improve professional practice

This journal excerpt was from an week the was packed with stresses for me. I wish I could go back now and change some of how this happened, but instead I will have to settle for not repeating it.

Thursday, October 25
 When recess was over, I went out to get the class. I had been working with them on forming a line after recess, and since I had a sore throat, was going from group to group, letting them know what I expected. When almost all the other classes had gone in, and my class was starting to form a line, Miss --- started yelling at them. (She has a tendency to yell, at her class and others’.) My first response was that she was helping because I needed it, but then I heard what she was saying. She said to my class, “You are taking advantage of a student teacher who doesn’t know better, so shape up...” This was not the first time she had said this to my class, but it finally hit me. Up until this point in the semester, I had been letting other people take the position of authority, and therefore was never in control and because of that never got the results I wanted. I straightened up, looked her in the eye, and said loudly and firmly, “Thank you, but I am in control here.” She looked shocked and walked away. Here is the exciting part, though. I realized that in the seconds it took for me to say that, my class had formed a straight, single-file line, and was looking nervously over their shoulders at me. I don’t aim to have my students be afraid of me, but I could see that they had suddenly acquired a healthy, working fear of the authority I had just asserted. I waited until the other classes were off the playground, then took them in. 

 I passed them off so I could work with my kidwatching kid, and so I could have a minute to catch my breath. What just happened? I thought. I felt different inside, like my statement of being in control was its own prophecy being fulfilled. At the same time, I was really shaken by the events of the day. As soon as my morning was finished, I came home and wrote out as much as I could remember of what happened, and what it all meant and felt to me. In light of what I just realized, what could I do to make right with Mrs. ---? I got out my reading book from Patti’s class, and read every reference to guided reading, affirming to myself that what I had done was as right as I knew how to do. I wrote this down on a sheet of paper, and marked a few pages in the book. I also wrote down a few questions to ask Mrs. --- about what she sees guided reading as being. I will use this to talk with her Monday morning before school, so that today does not repeat itself. 

 I am beginning to realize that my struggles are not all inside myself. I have been wondering if maybe I was missing something, that I was forgetting to ask something, which I might be. But after what Mrs. --- said to me as I was teaching my reading group, I don’t think it is just me. I think she is frustrated with the class (and probably with me) but doesn’t know how to remedy the problem. What I need to let her know is that ignoring me or treating me like I am an aide is not the solution. I deserve to be shown how to do things that I don’t know how to do, without having perfection expected on the first try. I also have a responsibility to take on for myself that I have been ignoring. I need to be more active in asking questions and getting the help I need when I need it rather than after the problem has grown. 

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