Ten Bible Verses for the New School Year

In preparation for the upcoming school year, I’ve come up with a list of some of my go-to Bible verses and what they mean to me as a teacher. I find I’m a better teacher throughout the year when I remember who I’m really working for and why I’m doing what I do.

  1. “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” -Psalm 94:19
    At the beginning of the school year (and often times throughout the year) I find myself full of nervousness and oftentimes doubt. It’s simply because I want to be the best teacher I can be, but it’s important to remember to give all our concerns to God. I’m capable of anything as long as I rely on Him to guide me through.
  2. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philipians 4:6
    This goes along with #1 and remembering to trust God in all situations. I have anxiety and I know a lot of teachers do. I find myself much less anxious when I remember to stop, pray, and lean on Him. Throughout the school year we as teachers are faced with many challenges and remembering we aren’t alone in those challenges makes them easier to face. Pray for his wisdom and insight during those tough times. Surely, there is a positive in every situation.
  3. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29
    This verse speaks to me whether I’m dealing with my students, parents of students, co workers, or anyone else I encounter throughout my job. I think it reminds us to think twice before we speak because our words have impact. Especially when shaping the minds of our world’s future. In reference to co-workers, we should never get caught up in gossip or bad mouthing of any kind. If you know that’s something that’s hard for you to avoid, pray about it. Teachers encounter many people during the school year, and it’s always important to remember to keep our words kind, positive, and wholesome.
  4. “And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”” -Matthew 18:3-6
    I often find myself thinking throughout the school year that I feel sorry for people who don’t work with kids. Yes, it seems like the most challenging job in the world, but it is also the most rewarding. Kids keep you on your toes. They remind you that there is still innocence in the world and you fight every day to help them keep that innocence. In return, I feel while we are shaping kids, they’re shaping us. I feel I’ve become a better person since I started teaching and I owe a lot of that to the kids that have come through my classroom. How awesome is it that everyday we get to work with those that are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Not everyone gets to do that and we must remember it is a privilege.
  5. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” -Hebrews 12:11
    I think all teachers would agree that disciplining children isn’t the best part of our job. It’s necessary though. We set high expectations and follow through with consequences because we care about the child as a whole. We don’t do it so the student will prosper just during the time they’re with us, but hopefully to have a lasting impact on their entire life. We must also remember to accept discipline or criticism from our principals and administration because nine times out of ten, they give us feedback because they care and want us to grow as teachers.
  6. “Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.” -Ephesians 4:2
    Again, this goes for working with students and co-workers. Work with your colleagues in a loving way, help them, ask them for help, etc. We’re all in this together. As far as working with kids, I know since I’ve become a teacher, I’ve become so much more patient. It’s something I struggled with, so this verse really speaks to me and reminds me to be tolerant and patient in every situation.
  7. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” -2 Corinthians 9:7
    As teachers, we can often find ourselves seeing the negatives because there is so much pressure put on us. It seems we always have a hundred things to do and that list just keeps growing. We have to remember that teaching is a calling. God has purposed it in our hearts and that we should see it as a blessing. We must do our best to teach and compose ourselves in a cheerful manner. Usually if you do that, your day will go so much better because your outlook is better. Our moods are also contagious. If we’re in a bad mood, that sets the tone for our classroom. Our students pick up on it and reciprocate how we act. I’d much rather have a happy classroom environment that kids want to come to, than one they don’t because they think their teacher doesn’t want to be there that day.
  8. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in purity.” -1 Timothy 4:12
    This goes out all the new teachers out there. Just because your the new person (which I know how you feel because I was the newbie not long ago) doesn’t mean you don’t have so much to offer. Your ideas and thoughts matter. This verse also reminds me that I’m an example to those around me and I need to be there best example I can be. My goal is for anyone who comes into contact with me to see Him through me. Never let your light stop shining. This verse also reminds me not to ever look down on my students because they are kids. Kids have great ideas, creativity, and suggestions. Give them more power in your classroom and watch them flourish.
  9. ” And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,“and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless—a miserable business.” Ecclesiastes 4:4-8
    This passage to me speaks about taking on too many things. I’ve done this in the past, and all I know is that I wasn’t as good of a teacher as I could have been. We have to remember it’s okay to say no and to limit the amount of things you’re involved in. It’s better to do a few things and still have energy for the next day than to do everything and be burned out. A constantly busy teacher does not equal a good teacher. We have to remember to take care of ourselves. I’ve made myself commit to do that more this year and I know my students (and tennis team) will benefit from it because I’ll be more refreshed. Your family will also benefit from it because you won’t be giving all of you to your school work. 
  10. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 1-:31
    Teaching can be just a job or your ministry to the world. Sure, you can’t preach in your classroom, but if you’re working as for God, not man, you’re going to be making much more of a difference inside those four walls of your classroom. Those that encounter you will know you’re doing this more than just to get a paycheck. It’s because it’s your calling and God is allowing you to do it. I never planned on being a teacher, but God put me on this path, He put me in my classroom, and is allowing me to work for him as a teacher. Hopefully, I will make a difference in kids lives.

I hope some of these verses will help you during the school year. I pray each of you has a great year!

-Mrs. Kaldahl

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First Year Teacher No More

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything on here…sorry!

I can’t believe my first full year of teaching is over. Since being hired to teach last January, I feel like time has just flown by!

I remember my first day of teaching like it was yesterday. I was scared, not knowing anything I was doing, and I went home not sure I even wanted to go back. Considering I had no teaching experience or prior want to even be in that profession, I wasn’t sure it was for me. I believe the whole first two weeks I was there I didn’t know if it was really for me. I was determined though not to give up. I don’t think teaching ever gets easier, I think you just get better and eventually I did.

Now, a year later, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything different. I have learned so much over the past year thanks to amazing colleagues and my never give up attitude.

Teaching has taught me so much patience and has made me a better person overall. I honestly feel blessed to work with kids all day…even on the tough days where I doubt myself as a teacher completely.

I have learned so much about teaching that I never knew went into this profession.

Like, how to mange 21 kids. People who don’t know better often will say things like, “Oh you’re a teacher? That’s like the easiest job ever!” or “I bet you always have fun at work.” I want to take these people and show them all the difficult moments of teaching. How you you have to learn to calm kids, deal with behavior issues, get the attention of these kids, provide engaging activities, constantly monitoring and adjusting your day, and so many other things. I promise a teacher’s mind has about a billion things going through it every minute.

Teaching is exhausting, but worth every second of it. I put so much of myself into my teaching and so much time outside of the classroom. Anyone who ever says teachers don’t work over time needs to visit a school after hours or on the weekends. They’re always there. Even in the summer. YES! Teachers still are working in their rooms, planning, doing professional development, etc. even during the summer. So no, teachers really don’t get summers off.

Teaching will break your heart. I see kids from all walks of life that come through my classroom doors or just around school everyday. I talk to these kids and get to know them. I know their stories and the life they live outside of my four purple walls. They often have difficult lives. They are faced with choices and situations I, as an adult wouldn’t even want to deal with. A kid shouldn’t have to especially, but these kids are facing these issues everyday.  I’ve even had students who want to stay at school over the weekend. School and being their teacher is often the only stability they have in their lives. To know that you may be making such an impact on the life of a child simply by being there everyday means so much to me.

Teaching is the most rewarding career. I start my day with hugs, high fives, and catching up with my kids. I see my students growth academically and watch them mature. I get to see their personalities continue to develop. I get to know that I got to play a part in their lives and hopefully make a lasting impact on them.

If you notice, everything I just mentioned has nothing to do with the CONTENT that I teach. That’s because teaching is so much more than just teaching your subjects. I teach reading, writing, phonics, and grammar. I have in fact learned so much about what I teach. I have struggled with switching to Guided Reading (which I love by the way). I have had to learn how to create engaging centers during Daily 5. I struggled to write lesson plans, and trying to constantly make lessons that kids will get the most out of. However, like I said earlier, in teaching you only get better. I honestly feel like I get better with each week that passes. I am much more confident in my teaching this year and feel like I have developed my own teaching style that I love. I love (and I want to emphasize that) the subjects I teach and I hope to make my students love them.

I still face difficult moments all the time, but I absolutely LOVE my job. I would never trade where I am for anything. I know accidentally getting into this career was a gift from God. He put me here and his plan was so much better than anything I had in mind for my life. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this school year goes and I’m ready for many, many more years!

 

-Miss Layfield

 

Flexible seating

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If you walk into my classroom at any given time during the day, you’re going to see a classroom unlike traditional classrooms. You will see kids sitting on exercise balls bouncing, sitting on crate seats, leaning on pillows on the carpet, sitting in scoop chairs, laying on mats, and even sitting on stools.

The only desk I have is a pink one seen in the above photo and it isn’t really a desk like you would find in traditional classrooms. Flexible seating has taken over my classroom.

If you’ve read my blog for any given time, you know I’ve been teaching since this past January. The other second grade teacher at my school and I started incorporating flexible seating back in March. It was successful, but our rules/expectations weren’t like they are this year because we were new to it as well.

We wondered how our year would go starting with flexible seating and how the kids would react. You don’t know how excited they were back at Meet the Teacher night. They continue to be excited every day about their seating options.

Our classroom rotates through centers the majority of the day allowing each group to sit at every option every day. This eliminates any sort of arguments like, “I want to sit there!” Everyone has the opportunity to sit every where.

“Where do they store their stuff?” This is another question I get. We have community supplies with bins around the room containing crayons, glue sticks, pencils, scissors, etc. to eliminate kids having to get up and retrieve items. Library books are stored in bins. The kids have binders that are stored in a crate unit when they enter the classroom. They take these to their other class when we switch. We have had no problem with supplies at all this year so far.

Another pro of flexible seating is the fact that my classroom is less cluttered. I couldn’t stand the amount of papers, etc. that would be kept in student desks. They just looked messy after awhile. They took up a ton of space too.

Flexible seating allows students to utilize their individual learning styles. Before with desks, there is always the unconscious mindset that the kid has to be seated at all times. If they stood up, there was something wrong. With flexible seating, if a kid prefers to stand, he can at the tall table. If a kid wants to lay down and use a clip board, GO FOR IT! It never bothers me to look up and see a kid just chilling on the floor and working away.

I know I can’t stand when I have to sit still for too long. Classwork I did for college online classes was done on my couch. I never sat at a desk, so why should we ask kids to do that ALL day long? I know for certain I feel much more tired at the end of a day where I sit all day than one I am up moving the whole time. I’m sure it’s the same for kids.

The combination of doing stations and having kids rotate with flexible seating to me is a winning combo. You’re giving them movement and comfort all day long.

The only cons that I have had with flexible seating is the initial stages of teaching rules/expectations of how to use the flexible seating. I even added where I can take a dojo point on ClassDojo if a child continues to misuse flexible seating. This has helped tremendously. I make it a point to give positive immediate reinforcement to kids who are using the seating correctly so that other kids notice and do the same. I also immediately ward off any misuse. Modeling at the beginning of the year helps as well. It takes time to make sure everyone understands the expectations on how to use flexible seating, but you also have to remember that these are kids and they will make mistakes. The pros of flexible seating outweigh the cons all day in my book.

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I can say for sure that the kids act a lot more motivated and excited to be at school. They’ve told me they feel lucky to have the seating options that we have provided for them.

In my heart I feel like flexible seating is best for kids and that’s why I’m such a big fan of it.

-Miss Layfield

Let me introduce myself…

First of all, welcome to my blog! My name is Lauren Layfield or Miss Layfield to my students. As you could have guessed, I am a teacher. I have the pleasure of teaching second grade in the great state of Texas. I teach at a Title I school. I couldn’t have asked for a better career.

You may be wondering why the name of this blog is ‘Tales of an Accidental Teacher.’ Well, the name comes from the fact that I never planned to become a teacher. I recently graduated from Sam Houston State University in December 2015. I received my degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Multi-Platform Journalism. I had every intention of becoming a journalist in one form or the other. I even received a job offer to work at a newspaper upon graduation. Something about that didn’t feel right, I turned it down and I am so glad I did.

Moms always know best right? RIGHT.

My mom is actually the one who saw the job opening for an elementary teacher at the school in my hometown. The same school I attended my whole life. She told me to apply for it and go for it. If I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to do it long term or pursue my teaching certification since at the time the job was just for a long-term sub. The idea scared me to death. I had never taught before. My Mamaw, who had recently passed away, also had told me while she was living to get my teaching certification because she thought I’d be a great teacher. So there I was with two of the most influential women in my life’s voices in my head telling me to go for something I never knew whether I wanted or not. So I did…and I got the job.

I literally interviewed and started the same day with only a half a day to prepare for the kids coming back from Christmas break since I started mid-year. I was terrified, excited and nervous. After my first full day of teaching I told myself it wasn’t for me. I thought I was absolutely the worst teacher ever, but me being who I am I kept going.

Guess what? It got better. Within about two weeks, I knew I had found where I belonged. It wasn’t easier by all means, but I absolutely LOVED every minute of teaching. I loved never fully knowing what to expect when I walked into the school. I loved the students I taught. I felt like they needed me, but more so I needed them. They gave me purpose.

Becoming a teacher was a complete miracle wrapped in an accident. It was truly a God moment in my life. I truly feel I have been placed where I belong and cannot be any happier with my life at this moment.

 

Oh and yes, I did receive my teaching certification through the Texas Teachers alternative certification program and was hired as a full time teacher. I will be returning to teach second grade again at the same school and I’m so happy about that.

I cannot wait to share my adventures with all of you.

 

-Miss Layfield