It’s that time of year again; that busy time spent packing up and wrapping up another school year. This time of year, I think teachers everywhere spend some time counting their successes and targeting areas that still need improvement. This is a necessary exercise as it shapes our next year and helps us to make critical decisions about the future. So, here goes! Here are some of my triumphs and some of my works in progress.
* I am grateful that I was able to receive training for co-teaching and have had the opportunity to practice all of the teaching strategies. My goal next year is to start the year out right. No “my class/your class”. And a good balance of tried and true approaches to presenting curriculum. My co-teacher and I had time to sit down and tentatively map out our hopes and dreams for next year, and I am so excited that I wish I could jump in right away! I am grateful, however, for the summer and the time to make our plans more concrete so we will be well-prepared for next year.
* I am encouraged that my voice was heard regarding the need to establish a classroom which has a better heterogeneous mixture for next year. I am confident that we will be more successful as a result. This year’s homogeneous grouping of students stifled many of our attempts to raise the bar academically, but we have higher hopes for next year’s students.
* We successfully addressed the issue of bullying this year. I worked hand-in-hand with our guidance counselor to introduce anti-bullying curriculum, and incidents involving bullying were dealt with quickly and effectively. This is an on-going goal which will require time and effort every year.
* It has been an awesome reprieve for me to only have to prepare students for the reading OAA test, since the social studies test has been removed for this year and next. But, I realize how difficult a task it will be for me (since I will be teaching a self-contained fifth grade class) to cover all that I am required to cover to prepare students for three tests next year and all four the following years. Yikes! It comes as no surprise to you, if you have been following my blogs, that this is the least favorite part of my job. But I take the OAA seriously; therefore, I realize I have my work cut out for me.
* I have learned how to share my space this year, and actually enjoy having another adult in my classroom. I have even learned to give up the reins more frequently and rely on my co-teacher to share my job. This is a work in progress for me, as it is not natural for me to give up control in my classroom. Luckily, we get along very well, and I trust her judgment. We also agree philosophically on what is best for our students. I look forward to making decisions mutually and truly sharing every aspect of the classroom.
All in all, this has been a great year. I have grown professionally and have been challenged, which keeps teaching from growing stale. Next year the challenges will be even greater. I can’t wait! And I hope you will follow my continued journey throughout the summer and into a new year. Good luck to all of you teachers out there as you close out your year. God bless you for the job you do.