Friday, July 3, 2015

This year, the good

Sitting in my drafts is a post titled, "This year, the bad." It was a few paragraphs about the ways I failed this year, the frustrations, and the dismal.

When I met with my supervisor expressing many of these struggles a few months ago (believe me, a huge leap of faith for me, since this is a new administrator, but this step went far in building our relationship of trust and support... lessons for me in many ways!), we tried to resolve these issues, but as the year progressed, his message turned to something like, "get through the year and move on."

So this is me, moving on.

This year, the good.

Twenty Percent Time
For the most part, my students took #20Time seriously, took on real work, and learned a lot. Some highlights were the student who learned how to cook, the student who improved her drawing, and the student who designed, wired, and programmed an animatronic dog.

I must improve this, though, because many students still get trapped in the "this project isn't due for months and I have this homework/test/etc due tomorrow." Procrastination remains an issue, and if it's ok to fail, they're ok with failing on this task rather than on the more immediate ones they face.

But the big success is that I finally saw students doing #20Time the way I want them to do it. Constant state of improvement and learning, using the time wisely (though this is an issue particularly for second semester seniors... oh, I'll just do this at home).

I just found this post, which will be great guidance in improving #20time next year. This infographic from that post is fantastic:

This year, I gave my US History students an extremely nebulous project. I was nervous, but they blew. my. mind. They tackled the work, and took it to another level, learning deeply not just about the stuff in the textbook (the time period being studied), but they learned how the theme developed over time in America AND justified their own positions on how the US should proceed in the future on this topic. I am so proud of them.

Going Digital
I finally had the opportunity to work with students who are happy to go digital. Work was submitted digitally, whether in Google Classroom (which we pioneered with each other) or shown on tablets, all class announcements were sent via Classroom or Remind, and they even (eventually) stopped asking to go to the restroom and just did it as long as no one else was out.

The Moment
I've had a rough time feeling like a good teacher in recent years. Some feedback has not been positive. I pretty much came into this year feeling pretty horrible and that I should either quit or go back to school. I ended up going back to school, but I also have incredibly supportive administrators who once again made me feel like I'm doing well. I hate to admit that I'm one of those people who like/need external motivation, but I do, so feeling supported and like I'm on the right track has done astonishing wonders for the way I feel about my day, my work, and as someone who spends much of her day in her own head about her work, this has had a huge impact on me outside of work too. Everywhere, EVERYWHERE, I am much more positive. It's amazing the impact one person can have one another.

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Thanks for learning along with me!