Blog Challenge: Revisiting September

Since school ended last week, there has been a rush of emotions flowing in and out of me over the weekend. Joy. Sadness. Excitement. Disappointment. Adventure. (Yeah, not really an emotion) Pride.

Part of it is because it's summer and we all love summer. Part of it was because I had completed another year. Part of it is probably related to the fact that next year I will only be returning as a part-time teacher, possibly leading up to two sections of math.

I thought about the best way to process these things, and I thought that finding a #ReflectiveTeacher blog challenge, would be a good place to start. Digging through Twitter and Google, I couldn't find any that had the questions or the outcomes I was looking for.

So I turned to my blog, which, sadly, has not seen any love since the fall. I had attempted a blog challenge at the start of the school year and I remember working on it almost every day for a month and how it pushed me to think about the year ahead.

Fast forward to now. I am hoping to use the same prompts from the challenge in September, to look back at the completed school year. The first go round, I only made it to twenty-two days. Let's hope I can at least tie that.

Day 1: Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you'd like to be!

  1. Lead well. It's funny to think that one of my goals revolved around leading the 8th grade team. I was so very apprehensive about joining this new team. I had my reservations about my abilities to step in to a mostly solid group of teachers and pick up the leads. I don't know if I accomplished this goal, but I know that now, at the end of the year, I truly have one of the best teams ever. We grew to acknowledge and appreciate each others' unique talents and passions. Our team became strong because we learned to trust one another. I am so proud to have worked with each and every single one of my teammates, and I am so sad that some of them are leaving. They are all wonderful people who have huge hearts for students and I will miss them.
  2. Develop my student teacher. It's crazy to think that this was the same school year that I had a student teacher. My experience with a student teacher was truly an enlightening one. While I worked hard to coach and mentor her, I also became significantly more reflective and intentional with my practices. There was a point in January where I desperately wanted another student teacher right away, so that I could try again and implement all of my ideas on how to do it better, but it was better this way. I had no idea that this last semester would be the last one that I was teaching full-time.
  3. Maintain high expectations. Agh. Yeah, I probably didn't do this one the best that I could. I'm going to make an excuse right now; this was the first time I taught 8th grade where the students have a few days off during the last week of school in order to present their final projects of learning. I took advantage of this unusual schedule and probably tapered off the academic rigor a little earlier than I should. This could have ended very badly for my classes. Luckily, they held it together and didn't fall apart.

It's interesting to look back and see where I had started the year off. I was in such a different place. Professional. Personally. Back then, my biggest worry was, "Will the 8th grade team like me?" Now, all I can think of is, "When is the next time I'll be teaching full-time again?"

Growth. I know I've experienced it, but it's also hard for me to articulate. I'm hoping that continuing to reflect through these questions will help me realize those areas that I've made progress in, and those that I've grown comfortable.