Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Year-End Reflection (2011-12)

As I discussed earlier today, I'm finally ready to write my end-of-the-year reflection, using Ruth's prompts to focus my thinking.  2011-12 was a difficult school year: our levy failed, bringing my 6th and 7th grade programs to an end, we were involved in challenging professional development initiatives about student growth data, and controversial politics in our state hung like a dark cloud over educators. But there was plenty of sunshine too, including excitement about increasing student learning, collaboration with colleagues, ever-emerging new technology, and the simple joy of sharing something I love with wonderful students.  Anyway...

I learned:
  • My ideas are worth sharing!
  • Embracing the reader and writer within me makes me a better teacher.
  • I CAN make time for reading (books, not just blogs!) and writing every day!
  • I LOVE teaching. Period.  Teaching students AND teaching my colleagues.
  • Building relationships and sharing ideas with colleagues in my building(s) is one of the most valuable ways I can spend my time.
  • Support from colleagues matters.
  • You can never take for granted what you think students know.
  • Allowing students to see you in a different light (such as on the DC trip) can do wonders for how they respond to you. 
  • Building relationships with parents reminds you that every STUDENT in your class is a lovable PERSON in a family.
  • There are plenty of things that are bigger than school.
  • My family is awesome!  (Well, I already knew this... but it's good to have reminders!)
I was stretched by:
  • Having to go re-learn my "cart-ninja" skills after having my own room for the first two trimesters.
  • Balancing my time to incorporate blogging.
  • Being sent to Washington, DC with the 8th graders while having to leave my 6th & 7th grade classes behind.
  • Figuring out how to draw out enthusiasm from reluctant students.
  • Trying (and mostly failing) to start working out more often.
  • Incorporating new web tools into my classroom (and deciding which ones I wanted to try!)
  • Supporting my colleagues in their use of technology and teaching them how to use Moodle, their webpages, SMARTboards, and RSS readers.
  • Jumping more deeply into ESL by co-teaching the Welcome Center class at School #3.
  • Learning to document and track my students' growth in more concrete ways.
  • Taking on a leadership role within the Alumni Band.
I'm excited about:
  • Continuing to CONNECT with my colleagues and friends I've met through blogging!
  • Sharing more of my ideas with colleagues in my district!
  • My big leap into High School ELL!
  • Sharing reading and writing with students, and helping them love it too!
  • Diving back into math, science, and social studies as I help my ELLs with them.  (I always loved all subjects in school!)
I'm beginning to realize:
  • There will NEVER be enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to pick and choose and make time for the most important things.
  • Sometimes, I have to choose the not-so-important things too.  Because they're also important, just in a different way.
  • Reading and writing are part of who I am.  A big part.
  • Never focus so hard on the STUDENT that you lose sight of the PERSON that a learner is.  Those personal connections mean everything, and every person is valuable in their own way.
  • Teaching is NOT going to get any easier, ever.  I will always feel like I have so much to learn... but that's a good thing, because I never want to stop learning.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, sorry I'm so late in reading your wonderful reflection. As I read through it, you reminded me of all the great posts you've had in these recent months. I loved the ones about your cart ninja organization! I still believe there must be teachers out there who would love your ideas. You brought organization to an extreme art form with that cart. And your growth as a writer shows here in the voice that stands out so clearly. You are very clear about what you want, what you will do and won't, and what is so important. That counts for a lot! Finally, I love this (from my perspective as a teacher, of course): "Never focus so hard on the STUDENT that you lose sight of the PERSON that a learner is. Those personal connections mean everything, and every person is valuable in their own way." That is what makes a great teacher, don't you think? Thanks for such a thoughtful reflection.


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