Monday, February 13, 2012

faith and discipline

This week my students are writing a clarification of a Vince Lombardi quote and it's really got me thinking. Hopefully it's got my students thinking too, but that's another issue. Anyway, the quote reads, "It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner...what you've got to have is faith and discipline when you're not a winner."

"Discipline. Isn't that like when we get in trouble, Mrs. Piper?"
"That is one meaning, but that is not how it's used here."

As I began to explain this meaning of discipline, I soon realized all my examples revolved around all the areas where I need discipline. Exercising. Eating properly. Turning off the TV at a decent hour. I turned the discussion around to discuss areas where the students would need to have discipline. I'm not sure if they have yet totally figured out the word, but we still have time for that.

It's been on my mind for days now. I used to have discipline in many areas of my life. Now...I don't know. After getting married, I lost much of that discipline. It is so easy to blow things off when you have someone to snuggle up with. We've been married two and a half years now, and I just can't seem to get that area back on track.

One area that I have gotten more under control is planning and grading. My excitement will wax and wane throughout the school year. Full of vigor the first few months, then counting down the days till Christmas break as soon as I get back from Thanksgiving break. I am now recharged after coming back from Christmas. This is partially due to no longer having to teach a combo during language arts and partly to incorporating new strategies, not making assumptions about my students background knowledge, and seeing good growth on their most recent district benchmark assessment. The students are so much more engaged when I have planned out the day, and really know what I am doing from minute to minute. They are much more conscious of their work and progress when they receive graded work back in a timely manner.

Hopefully I will still have discipline and faith in my students as I see summer get closer.