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.