Friday, June 17, 2011

Looking Back

Wow, this year went by quickly, didn't it? Some days it seems like it did. What a great year it's been, though. Did you know this marks the end of my TENTH full year of teaching? Talk about going by quickly!

Maybe it's because it's the most recent one, or maybe because I'm in a reflective mood, but I feel like I've learned more from this past year about teaching than any other. Although, when I think about it, I'm pretty lucky because it seems that each year of my career has taught me many new things. What have I learned in 10 years? I'm glad you asked!

  • Parents Make All the Difference--I have to put this one first because it's most important. Having caring, involved parents makes the learning environment so much better. When you think about the number of hours you entrust me with your children each week, each month, etc, it's mind-blowing. Without your support--the contributions to the classroom, helping with homework, nagging about homework, chaperoning field trips, checking the blog, prepping for Exhibitions, and so on--my job is a million times harder. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Be The Right Kind of Teacher--I try to be two kinds of teacher, actually. I try to be the kind of teacher that I would have wanted as a kid (fun, challenging, engaging, caring) AND the kind of teacher I'd want my own children to have (challenging, engaging, communicative, empathetic, honest, etc.). I not completely there yet, but I'm trying. 

  • Keep Evolving--When I was a kid, the teachers taught the same grade every year. And they used the same lesson plans, activities, and worksheets every year. Year after year. Decade after decade. I just can't be that kind of teacher. It's important for me, and for the students, that I keep trying new things to help them learn. Sure, some successful projects get reused, but that's because they were successful in the past, not because I'm lazy. And even when they get reused, I always look to make them better the second and third time around.

  • Communicate!--Parent-Teacher communication used to be a huge weakness for me. Weeks would go by without me sending notes or newsletters home. Then I had kids. I became a better teacher in a lot of ways after that (see second bullet point above), but one of the most noticeable ways was that I became much better at communication. I hope you've enjoyed the blog. Most importantly I hope the blog has made you feel connected to your child's classroom and their learning environment. I hope it's made you feel like you know what's going on. Because that's why I do it. Did you know I've blogged over 150 times this year?!? Thanks for reading!
Seriously, thanks for reading this really long post. And thanks for a great year. I've definitely learned more than 4 things in 10 years, but those are the big ones. One thing I like about my job is that I'm constantly learning new things. I love learning, I really do. Getting students to do the same is a rewarding challenge for me.

I'm really looking forward to fifth grade already! Enjoy the summer!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I heard about your site through Twitter- awesome job. I really like the summer learning projects to keep the students challenged and engaged!
Teaching Happily Ever After