-I woke up with two thoughts in my head this morning:
1) The creepy urban legends Joel and I were trading last night. I'm WAY sensitive about scary movies, stories, etc. but for some reason we started telling them. Joel was very good and didn't try to scare me at home (which would have been extremely easy). I just have a crazy imagination. Well, we woke up and the sound was on on our TV...creeptastic. We figured the power surged but it was still really spooky.
2) Praying that I have joy next year about going to school. This one is still consuming my thoughts today, so here goes:
As I look back on the year, I can't help but end with extremely mixed emotions.
I feel like there are some things I did well. I sought a lot of advice and assistance (maybe too much). I took initiative in some aspects of teaching. I do feel like I taught my kids to look at the greater world through reading lots of books and often using GoogleEarth. We talked about misconceptions and stereotypes often. I think I did show them how to think about other cultures and desire to learn more about them. We also spent a lot of time discussing bullying and how to defend victims.
I gave choices in my class and made it clear to students that their behavior dictates the activities we do in class. Sometimes I'd even give two choices: 1) Using math manipulatives, playing games, using technology to explore different things, etc. or 2) worksheets, textbooks, etc. If a student kept messing around, I would take away whatever engaging thing we were working on and give a boring worksheet.
I had a really interesting class with some high achievers, independent thinkers, and yes, some class clowns. I do thank the Lord for the privilege of teaching them. I also had some fabulous parents in the room.
However, there are so many things I want to change about next year. I regret a lot of ways I dealt with behavior at the beginning of the year. I overreacted a lot and underestimated the behavior issues I'd have. I want to have more calm conversations with my students and less power struggles. I want to be able to prioritize issues better.
I want to be far more organized and better planned. I want to differentiate my instruction a lot more as I think it would have helped some of the behavior issues I had in my room. I want to leave more at school and take less home. I want to change my classroom set-up. I want to give many more choices and hold students more responsbible for their behavior. I feel like I wasn't as "with-it" this year as I needed to be, and I did get walked all over at times. I want to have better communication with parents and document things more. I want to amp up my reading instruction and have more assessment guided instruction.
I want to be less forgetful, more intentional, and take more initiative. I want to integrate objectives in order to give more meaningful and richer instruction. I want to use technology more but teach how to use it responsibly so it's not a pain in my neck.
But more than anything, I want to receive the Fruits of the Spirit daily, I want to show the Lord's love and mercy and kindness to everyone around me. As I look back on the year, I see so many ways in which I have fallen short of that. I doubt I really was a loving teacher and coworker this year.
I am humbled as I look back and thankful for the Lord's kindness in letting me have another year to teach these students. I know that I cannot be the perfect teacher, but I do know that I tried this year. I know that I grew as a person and professional and I am very thankful that the Lord hasn't given up on me yet.
In other news: exactly one month until we leave for Istanbul!