Texas Teaching Fanatic

A look inside a 4th grade classroom

About

After sitting for what seemed like hours speaking with career counselors, I finally just agreed to get that “stupid teaching degree.”  I didn’t want to be a teacher.  My mom was a teacher.  My dad was a teacher.  I was NOT going to be a teacher.

Little did I know, over the next few years, teaching would become my passion.  No matter how hard I tried to not like teaching, I couldn’t get rid of that nagging voice in my head telling me that this was what I was born to do.  The more classes I took, the more I fell in love with this profession called teaching.  Teaching found me…and I’m so glad it did!!

I currently teach 4th grade in San Marcos, TX.  I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach at a low-income school, with children from all walks of life.  My true love is teaching Writing, but I enjoy teaching pretty much anything!

Thank you for taking your time to take a peek into my life as a teacher.  🙂

If you would like to contact me, please fill out the form below:

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9 responses to “About

  1. Amanda says:

    Hi! I am just starting my first teaching position this September – I will be teacher grade 4 as well! I am very excited to get started 🙂 I too will be teaching at a low-income school & I was wondering if you would be able to give me any advice on certain things that work for you in the classroom, don’t work for you? I have been told that I will have minimal parent support in the classroom; would you suggest homework to be still given out? Any advice would be most appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Amanda

    • kaylashook says:

      Hi, Amanda! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your questions! In order to answer you, I need you to be a little more specific. What “things” exactly are you talking about when you ask, “What things work for [me]?” I can answer your question about homework right away: YES, homework is still a MUST. As far as how much and when to give it, that’s a personal decision. I try not to give more than 30 minutes of homework each night because I know the burdens that are on the shoulders of these young kids. I also open up my room before and after school to students who are just unable to complete it at home for whatever reason. I get to school early and invite my students in to work on their homework IF they need that time. That being said, I don’t advocate this to ALL students because many of them ARE able to do it at home, and I don’t want them to take advantage of the system. It doesn’t take long to figure out which kids will struggle with getting it turned in on a regular basis, so I usually pull those few aside and have a conversation with them about it and encourage them to come to me with any problems they may have. (I’m a believer in the statement, fair doesn’t mean equal. Fair means giving each student the tools they need to be successful.) Also, I try to give homework that requires minimal or no parent support. Reading in a “Just Right” chapter book and writing 3 sentences as a response is something they can do completely on their own. Writing spelling words 3 times, writing them in sentences, and putting them into groups is also something that they should be able to complete independently. You just have to get a feel for what your students CAN do, and adapt the homework to their needs. 🙂 Please let me know what other questions you have. I would love to talk with you more about it. 🙂

      • Amanda says:

        Hi Kayla,

        Thank you so much for getting back to me! I greatly appreciate it. I was not sure how to handle homework, so thank you very much for the ideas you have given me. I especially liked your one post about using that Monopoly game with homework (Homeworkopoly). I will have to look into that more! My apologies for being so vague with my original question – I’m just looking for whatever advice you may have to offer about teaching grade 4 in general, knowing this will be my first year of teaching. Or just any advice you could offer about teaching in a low-income school, i.e. things to expect that will probably be different compared to some of my teaching placements in higher-income schools. What different behaviour management tools have you used in the classroom? I have been looking at different ideas on Pinterest and came across one called Brownie Points. Would that be too young with grade 4s? Any advice you have would be great – Grade 4 is a whole new world to me and I am looking for as much insight as possible!

        Thanks again!

        Amanda

      • kaylashook says:

        I will do my best to answer your questions about 4th graders and teaching in low income schools. Here goes:

        4th graders:
        1. Still love their teacher, and like to be accepted and acknowledged for their hard work.
        2. Some of them will be overwhelmingly behind, so have patience and meet their needs where they are. Don’t force them into 4th grade material if they just aren’t ready yet.
        3. Incorporate humor when you can. They love it! Don’t be scared of looking silly–the sillier you are, the more they like you.
        4. Set strong boundaries and be consistent. Once they know you mean what you say, your class runs much more smoothly. I like using the social contract for this reason, too. When the students make the rules, they are much more willing to follow them. (See my post titled YOUR rules or MY rules? for more info on that)

        Teaching in a low income school:
        1. It’s not the kid’s fault that they know so little. Chances are, they weren’t talked to much as a child, so they are already behind by the time they get to Kindergarten.
        2. Homework may or may not be completed consistently. Many of these kids are given responsibilities that we may think only adults should have (ie. taking care of siblings, cooking dinner, getting others to bed).
        3. Many of these kids LONG for your attention and will so anything to get it, even if that means acting out in class or pushing your buttons. Again, have patience. Once they know you care it will subside.
        4. Tell them you care about them. As stated above, your life will be much more pleasant if they know you truly mean it. Give them hugs, speak on their level, shake their hands, and smile. 🙂
        5. Don’t give up. Sometimes it seems like nothing is going your way, but trust me–you ARE making a difference in the lives of these kids, even if they tell you they hate you and never want to see you again. I’ve been moved to tears by students that seem like they just don’t care –about school, about me, about life in general–but you just have to keep on keeping on! They might not realize it now, but they will remember at some point in their lives that they had a teacher who didn’t give up on them.

        Hopefully this is a start. I could probably write a novel, but I’m trying to keep it brief. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. You can always fill out a form on my About Me page with your email and questions. Or you can always comment on my blog. Best wishes for a great year!! 😉

      • Amanda says:

        Kayla,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. This advice is amazing! Thank you very much, I will most definitely use it! Best wishes to you as well for the new school year 🙂

        Amanda

  2. See Sam Write says:

    I am so glad I found this blog 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more of it ^_^

  3. croslandc says:

    I actually grew up in Kyle, and went to college in San Marcos (SM is definitely one of my many “homes”). I’m glad you found my blog because I will be following yours! What school do you teach at?

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