It's only in the last week or two that I finally feel like I have a routine and I'm not constantly on the verge of drowning.
Maybe that's a bit melodramatic. See, I didn't feel like I was failing or about to crash and burn, just feeling like I knew I wasn't operating at 100% because there was just SO much to learn all at once. As much as I relished the practicum of my teaching program, the truth is, I didn't know most of what my daily life would be as a teacher. That's a subject for another post.
So how am I doing? I have been inspired greatly by Wil Wheaton- He did a life reboot a year ago and gave himself several goals and then self assessed based on how he felt he achieved them. One of the best things that I liked about his self assessment was that he not only gave a grade, he gave himself feedback and allowed for his human-ness to shine through.
To that end here are my goals:
1) Use my prep time to actually do prep. I spend way too much of my prep just trying to catch my breath and recover for the next sprint, and need to leave that to another time.
2) Find some me time and commit to it. Partly so that I'm not using prep for that, but also because I need to figure out a better work-life balance. Not something I've ever been good at, especially not when I'm as passionate about my career as I am about teaching.
3) Find some family time and commit to it. My family has not been the sole priority of my life in a long time. With a chronically ill husband, I need to be the sole income earner, so I doubt they'll ever be the sole priority again. That doesn't mean they have to be the last priority. To that end I need to find a better way to manage the balance so they know how much they mean to me. I need time with them so I can remember why I do everything else. Family dinners, going swimming, playing games, and just being together needs to move way up in my list.
4) Health. I lost 40lbs a couple years ago and with the stress of the final year of school and my first year of teaching I put it all back on. I want to lose it again, but also to get healthy. I bought a 90 day pool/fitness pass. I want to use it 2-3x per week. Maybe more.
Those are my four goals for the next 12 months. Now to do it!
My students and I have been studying Mars and the Solar System over the last few weeks. It's one of my favorite topics, and my passion for it has ignited more than a few of my students.
Today I came into the classroom and wrote 1:00 on the whiteboard. I just left it there and the kids were going bananas by 12:57 wanting to know what was going to happen.
At 1 I turned on the Facebook LIVE presser and we watched as the New Horizons team talked to us about Pluto, the solar system, and beyond. About 5 minutes in I asked the students if they had any questions to ask. I reminded them to keep their expectations very very very low, because by this time there were 4 Thousand Viewers! and 1900 comments and questions. But I always try to model responsible use of technology and connecting to experts is one of the best things the Internet gives us!
Several students raised their hands, I quickly combined some of the questions. One shy girl from my grade 4 group, who has struggled to find a voice in the classroom and who has struggled to find her path as a learner raised her hand and asked about a Rover on Pluto. You know, to be totally honest, I almost didn't include it. I had a short comment and wanted to let the 'big' and 'important' questions get into the mix. But I added it, because several of her classmates patted her back and told her what a good question it was.
I hit enter and the question went off to the pile.
The scientists talked and we listened with rapt attention, but I knew I couldn't devote the whole afternoon to the conference, so I decided to give them 10 minutes of the question period, and then we'd move on.
And then the very first question they answered was ours. (25 minutes in)
The class exploded in whoops and hollers when they said my name and read the comment. I stood in stunned silence before shushing the class and getting them quiet enough to hear.
When my students realized whose question they answered, and when they saw the excitement and great enthusiasm with which the scientist answered, they realized that their understanding of the world had shifted. These weren't students anymore, they were scientists and dreamers and idealists and astronauts. They weren't grade 4s or grade 7s, they were humans with agency and connection and belonging.
**Update** It's been almost 2 months since this, and that grade 4 learner is still smiling. Her effort, exploration, and resolve in the classroom has lifted off (pardon the pun) and she is on an incredible journey that will change her whole life.
I respond to Sarah, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Smoore, Miss Sarah, (and sometimes Mom!). I have been an DL (homeschool!) teacher for 2 years and am now a proud member of the SD35 team!