It’s getting to that time of the year that two distinct things happen to teachers: survive and advance. No, I’m not talking about the ESPN 30 for 30 film of the exact same name. Rather, I’m talking about the mindset of teachers during the last months of the school year. I’m finding more value in this state of mind this year because I’m trying to force myself out of what I’ve always done during this point of the school year.
In the past this part of the school year has been completely about surviving from day to day. The units that I’ve taught in my social studies classes haven’t been re-imagined in years. We do the same things as we did last year (which happen to have a higher number or videos in them than most units) and bank on the fact that its the end of the year and we all need a break before the final six-weeks madness. Generally speaking, there are fewer administration walkthroughs being done and less attention being paid to the details of the school day.
This school year I’m trying a new approach. I’m using this time to test out things I’m interested in using more for next school year. I’m creating differentiated lessons, trying new technologies, and reading more books than I ever have before and it’s caused me to stay on my toes. My kids enjoy the trial and error process of new things and aren’t beaten down by the way my class always operates. I’ve also been able to redesign the way my classroom will operate next year (thanks to a certain book given to me by my principal) and being able to connect with people who have tried something similar and incorporate similar attitudes has been refreshing.
To a point I am talking about moving on to the next school year. I’m looking forward to a number of changes next year. First my family will be growing by one in the next month. Second, hopefully I will not be coaching next year and can really embrace my role of history department head. Third, my wife will be transitioning to a stay at home mom role next year and all the changes that will bring along with it. I’m also planning on attending a conference this summer through an educator grant I may be getting and making myself aware of all the growth and learning opportunities available to me through Twitter, co-workers, as well as my local library.
All in all, I’m enjoying a season of the school year I never really have and I’m excited about the possibilities for what changes will occur in my teaching style in the coming months.