Now I don't assign traditional homework to my 3rd graders and want my students to look for learning opportunities all around them. And read- always, I want them to read. (Write, too). But I'm not checking a log or counting sentences written in a notebook.
I used to have elaborate clip charts that announced to the world who was "on green" for being a good listener and who fell, yet again, to red because he couldn't behave.
I used to give points and Dojo dollars to students who could focus and attend and take points away from the kids who couldn't get it together.
Now I work to build relationships and community and try my hardest never to shame a child, never to publicly put a clothes pin on a sign that announces a difficult day or a poor choice. I speak of our classroom community and not behavior management.
I used to have a treasure chest full of plastic prizes.
Now I look to tell kids what I honestly appreciate about them and their actions.
I used to think of the classroom as "mine" and filled it with pictures of my life- my family, my wedding, all on my big teacher desk.
Now I think of the classroom as "ours" and mostly "theirs" and I have no teacher desk and I keep my family pictures at my house.
I used to have all my book bins labeled by letter and told students which bin they could shop from.
Now I have most of my bins as genres and authors and just a few bins with levels. I encourage my students to make thoughtful book selections and I help them when they don't.
I used to think I would "arrive" one day as the perfect teacher, with everything laminated and prepared, perfectly ready to carry out my lessons.
Now I know I will never be the perfect teacher and will always be working to learn more and when I know better, do better.