End of 2013 Mid-School Year Reflections

It is New Year’s Eve, 2013. I’m not usually a reflect on the past year person, but for some reason, today I am. It has been a stressful year. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s not worth the effort. As much as I enjoy teaching, so much has changed over the last few years that it has become harder and harder to keep up with all I am “supposed” to be doing. Add to that my third set of new preps in the last three years and it’s hopefully pretty clear why I feel it was a stressful year.

At the beginning of the school year, I had such high hopes. I had intended to go through as I planned my courses and do as much of what I “should” be doing – integrating problem solving, much more formative assessment, less me, more my students, interactive notebooks, staying connected on Twitter, reading through blogs and digitally categorizing/bookmarking what I wanted to use and what I did use, etc., etc., etc. A few of those things have happened to varying degrees. But mainly I find myself planning on a much shorter leash than I am used to and because of that, I don’t get to much of that list. And don’t even get me started on blogging. As much as I would like to blog, I have not felt like I have had the time to sit and do it (or being motivated to do it). I have spent most of my break so far just vegging on the couch, playing mindless games and trying to decompress. It is now Tuesday and I go back to work on Monday and I have not touched a single school thing (not that it’s a bad thing). However, I haven’t done much of anything else either. (Well, we did buy me a new minivan and we did go and visit my parents, but that’s about it).  With only a few days left before school resumes, it’s time to do something.

However, determining what that something is is challenging me at the moment. Like, I should be working on cleaning up part of my house right now, but I’m sitting here blogging instead. Both are important on varying levels, but I am using one to put off the other. 🙂 I have come to some conclusions though. The biggest one is this – when making changes, pick one or two things to work on. That’s it. Anything more is too much to swallow and it becomes overwhelming. I have said this to others and thought it but until I really went through it this year (rather uneffectively), I don’t think it really rang true to me. I guess I have to learn it on my own. 🙂 Right now, I am working with interactive notebooks somewhat effectively and that’s a good thing. It has forced me to re-think (to an extent) of what students should record in their notebooks and it has forced me to re-think some of my base lesson structure. It still has a long way to go, but I am making some improvements. I have been doing a little better with formative assessment but it is still a very conscious process for me. I should probably take some time to really read Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam which I have started twice but never got as far into it as I should have and also go back and do the same with Mathematics Formative Assessment (#75facts). Though, now that I have I written that, I probably ought to switch the order around. That would give me two things to concentrate on rather than the laundry list I started with. I will probably still work on digitally cataloging my resources because some how I need to find my resources again. But I think that gives me plenty to focus on for the remainder of the school year.

I suppose I have procrastinated cleaning long enough. Off to tackle a few other things on my list. Happy New Year everyone!

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One thought on “End of 2013 Mid-School Year Reflections”

  1. Laurie Line says:

    “As much as I enjoy teaching, so much has changed over the last few years that it has become harder and harder to keep up with all I am “supposed” to be doing. ”

    You are SO right! I don’t want to be thanked and I’m tired of being spanked is how I have felt the last two years of teaching. That being said, teaching is the best job I’ve ever had. I highly recommend reading Embedded Formative Assessments. See if you can do a book study because there is A LOT of information in it. (I did mine through Twitter.) Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Happy New Year!

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