I have so many things I want to talk about here, and I'm not even sure where to start.
Last year was a tough year. I switched grade levels, a few kids managed to spoil the mix, and it just wasn't my best year. Sure I used more technology and tried some new things, but because of this, that and the other thing, I really didn't feel like I did right by all of my kids. I was determined to do just that after a relaxing respite this summer. Unfortunately my relaxing respite turned into a hands-on nursing experience that started the Saturday morning after the kids finished and ended the Friday morning before I started school on the 30th.
Even though I didn't get the summer vacation I was expecting, I did have a lot of free time to think about how I wanted to change things this year. It took a while to come up with some answers and a little "loosening of the noose" from my district, but with that and the Daily 5 I am very excited about the beginning of this year. All teachers seem to have the beginning of the year jitters / happiness / excitement, but we're three weeks in and I'm STILL feeling that way. In the next few days I'll talk more about what I've done to make things work so well. Next week will be the real test so I'm excited to reflect on that, too.
In addition to switching things up in the classroom, my two faculties (one this year, one next year) participated in three amazing team building days. Just being part of these three days motivated me for the year and reinforced my belief in how important a positive attitude can be. My goal for the year is to do everything in a manner that helps my team. Not shooting for easy here, I'm looking forward to pushing back at some people and having some hard conversations, and I'm also looking forward to pushing myself to do more for my kids in the classroom.
The final piece that has my brain ready to explode tonight is my day today. I had the opportunity to meet and work with the amazing Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson and a fantastic group of educators during the first day of my PLP cohort. Just like the team building energized me because it's what I believe is right by my kids, today was extremely energizing because it's what I KNOW is right by my kids. I wonder how this will go over in my area.... very conservative, very old fashioned, very "But school worked for me. If it worked for me, then it'll work for my kids." It's so bad I even had to specifically touch upon the fact that my students will not be bringing home as many worksheets each week tonight at Parent Night. But what we talked about today - being connected, using the web, teaching KIDS not facts - these are the things that I believe in, and these are the things that our kids desperately need.
My blog is Teach 'n' Life because I am a teacher, but I need to take care of myself and do what's right by me and have a life outside of school. So the beginning of the year, balancing all of these new practices in my classroom, community building, taking on a new perspective, and being good to myself: these are all the things that have my brain ready to explode. But it's not a bad explosion; I'm excited, and I'm invigorated, and I'm ready to see where this journey takes me.