We are well into our first month of school. As I get to know the kids a little more, I look for ways to celebrate their successes, be they little or small. It is so easy as a teacher to focus on what my students can't do, rather than what they can do. I can tell you that measuring using a graduate cylinder is still hard for 8th graders and that skills they learned two years ago seem to have left their brain. But I have also learned that they are down right funny and laugh at my corny jokes as well. Some are so willing to help you move supplies that they jump at the chance to do so. Some have already shown me at their worst and some are so quiet that it is easy to overlook them in class. Regardless, what happens every year is happening again - they are becoming "my students".
Reflection is one of the capstones of IB and I intend to do my fair share of it, along with my students. I have unit reflection questions at the end of assessments and these questions can be so revealing about students and their learning and wondering. My professional reflections I find rather easy to do, but personal reflections are harder to come by. Exactly how can I improve? What do I need to work on? I know these are questions that teachers are asked often when in professional development, but honestly I am as lost as the kids.
One area I do need to improve on is to create more balance for myself. It is too easy to work too hard. Emails come at all hours of the night and weekends from students and staff. Creating that physical distance is not enough, I need to have mental distance too.
The natural response is at the beginning of course. But where is that?
What happens to teachers is that today, more than ever, there are resources for every subject, every grade level and almost every requirement for educating our students. It is wonderful and overwhelming all at the same time. For example, when I started looking at my first unit for the year, I planned to spend about an hour re-visiting it, adding new ideas, finding those resources that I collected over the summer - you know, just getting my head back into the game. Four hours later, I have 12 tabs open on my computer and I am not really any further along than I was this morning. So to identify where the "beginning" is - well, that is the challenge isn't it?
My point in this blog is to share my teaching journey - my thoughts, resources and challenges along the way.
To those out there who are in this journey with me - share your stories so that we can find strength together.
To the 2018-2019 school year - buckle up!