I tried to root out my confidence problems today by paying attention to what preceded occurances of feeling anxious. I don't feel anxious all day long. My problem is very episodic.
I found that I felt anxious during whole group direct instruction and transitions. The reason I felt anxious at these times is that this has been the most difficult times for me with this class. I felt like I was spending too much time redirecting student behavior at these two times. Students are blurting out comments during my direct instruction. My students are taking too long during transition.
I think to remove the stimulus that is making me anxious I need to work more with my students on listening. The resource teacher gave me this sign with an ear that I am supposed to hold up for Bob to remind him not to blurt out when it is listening time. The other side of the sign shows a student sitting still and raising her hand--that sign means students can raise their hands to ask questions. It actually was working pretty well, but I just quit doing it because it was a hastle. I need to go back to it I think. As for transitions, I need to work harder on one step directions. "Stand up. Push in your chair. Face the wall. Put your book in your cubby. Sit back down." I just cannot say to this particular group of children, "Put your books away and return to your seats." They will take FOREVER. I know this, but I tend to get lazy and ask them to do something to give me a minute to process what we are transitioning. I just have to stay on top of this group of children because of how they are.
I guess the other thing I can do to address this is to examine the question about why I am feeling so anxious over this problem. I know, rationally, that everyone struggles with teaching in some areas, and that as a relatively new teacher, I will struggle more than veterans. There are problems that I want to address and areas that I want to improve, but I am always looking for evidence that I am a bad teacher. I know that if that is the attitude I have then that is what I will find and I will continue to struggle with confidence.
I think I have to look for what I am doing well too. Generally, my classroom runs very well. My students are able to work independently and in groups or partners. I have them trained to respond to the quiet signal. They follow classroom procedures like turning in papers, finding their spots on the carpet, and performing classroom jobs.
Instructionally, I know a lot about how to reach a variety of learners in a variety of subjects. I am teaching gifted children, a developmentally delayed child, resource students, and everyone in the middle in one room. I know how to use formative assessments to direct and guide my instruction. My content knowledge is probably my biggest strength.
So, I guess starting tomorrow, I will work on the two problems increasing my anxiety. I will also try to focus on successes instead of getting hung up on bumps in the road. If I do have a student having a bad day, blurting out comments, or whatever--I can address it and forget about it when the moment has passed. I think I have been dwelling on things like that...