This time of the year I find myself a little more introspective than usual (If you know me personally, you’re probably thinking that’s a scary thought.).
This time of year I am looking back and thinking forward. I’m looking back on what went well this school year and what I’d like to change next year.
This time of year I’m thinking about what will be different next year, and next year I have a lot of change coming my way. From 6th grade to 8th grade with 8th grade ELA, and 9th honor’s with advanced ELA students, New curriculum and texts. New teachers for collaboration. Also, I will know most of the students the day they walk through my door for the first time. I’m excited about the changes because I get to work with many of my students from last year again, and they (and I) are excited about that.
6th graders come to middle school with all things new. 8th graders are different creatures. While I know my students will be different from 6th to 8th, they will be comfortable with me, and they will expect me to be the same. Yet, I’ve changed, and I have more things I’d like to change in order to prepare for their return to my classroom.
However, I have changed–a lot. Funny they had no idea all the changes I was struggling through when I taught them. I mean they saw that I moved my desk to the back of the room, developed some organizational systems, and became more consistent with what I wrote on the board.
They had no idea that my boss was pushing me to grow, trying to ground me more, and encouraging me to be more consistent. It was a frustrating beginning of the year. I was struggling to find myself in the process of change and became a bit uncertain of my teacher identity. I was on a model tech committee and I was constantly trying new things before figuring them out, and some of the kids were overwhelmed while others thrived. At the end of the year, I felt good about the way I had been pushed and realized that my mindset had been my biggest obstacle that year.
And now this year is coming to a close–this year has been a great year, not without its struggles but I have become accustomed to the new evaluative measure and more accepting of constructive feedback, even asking for it when it’s not given to me.
I look at things differently. I push myself differently. I ask for help when I need it, and I meet challenges with a different mindset.
And so now I find myself asking, “What do I need to look at differently in order to change?”
Transformation begins with changing my perspective. That is followed by consistent and deliberate actions.
Now I am thinking about all the pieces of the puzzle from this year:
- classroom management-rituals and routines
- Class organization/set up
- Students and staff I struggled to love
- Collaborative struggles
- people/situations that frustrated me and had power over me and my mood
- student survey results
- inconsistent practices
I think much of finding the inner part of change involves me giving my mind a break, saying no, and letting the hamster step off the wheel. Yes, I need to breathe!
This summer is my summer of much more NO than last year: a summer with curriculum planning, tech committee days, writing project help and Milestones’ item review.
This summer I said no to planning, no to writing project, no to Milestones’ item review.
I’ll say yes to taking care of myself, my family, and my friends. Perhaps the break will help me change the way I look at some of the things, I’d like to change.
Today I look at the students from the past two years and think of how I might see them all again sitting in desks in my classroom, and I think about what I can do differently next time to help them grow as students and humans.
Today I celebrate looking backward and thinking forward. Today I celebrate the ability to reflect, recreate, and change.