January 3, 2010

One of the goals I set for myself in January 2009 was to continue to be a better teacher. In some ways, I think I’ve accomplished that goal. As a good teacher, I think you have to be continually growing. I took my teaching experiences from last year and have been able to apply them to this year in many situations. I’ve also experienced new things that I’ve had to deal with and hope I never have to again. In the long run, I’ve not felt like a good teacher so far this year. I’ve struggled from the beginning of the year, even walking out on one of my classes in a desperate attempt to get their attention (and maybe my director’s attention, too). I feel that in the long run, these negative experiences will make me a better teacher next year.

Working with Ryan has made me a better teacher in a lot of ways, too. While I often joke with him and tell him that I’m a better teacher than him and that’s he’s “just a gym teacher,” I know it’s not true. He has a very different teaching style and classroom management than I do, and our daily conversations about how we handle certain (problem, usually) students has helped me develop different approaches that I might not have before. He sees my desperate desire to help every student, no matter how unrealistic it may be. He helps me find the strength and wisdom to let go of many of the things that I hang on to which I cannot fix, and in turn does nothing but bring me stress and pain. I doubt he even realizes he is doing it. His humor lightens my day and reminds me to leave work at work, and take home a smile. It’s been amazing to work with him. I hope he knows how much I appreciate him.

Several students remind me that I am a good teacher and do have a positive impact on the students I teach. Two students come to mind. They were formally in the expelled program. One was chosen as the first ever expelled student of the year for demonstrating the 6 Pillars of Character (which our program is based around), the other has gone from a student who just didn’t care to one who stays an extra hour after school to help regain the credits he needs to graduate on time. Both students come to me when they have issues, problems and good things and remind me that I helped turn them around. It’s the motivation I need sometimes when things are exceptionally rough.

My goals for 2010 are similiar to previous years.
1. I want to continue to remind myself on a daily basis of the Serenity Prayer that my dad has shared with me… there are things in life I cannot change, and I must accept that. I must also be willing to step up and change the things that I can.

2. I want to keep growing as a teacher and never get stuck in the rut that I see other teachers in- or the one I was stuck in during 1st trimester this year. This includes taking the necessary college classes to add to my teaching certificate and eventually renew the certificate.

3. I want to keep reminding the people in my life that I love them and that they are important to me. This includes the people who are far away (like my Denver family!)… just because I don’t see them doesn’t mean they are less important to me. It also includes people like my husband whom I see everyday but want to constantly remind what an amazing impact he has on my life.

4. I want to stay in better shape this year, learn to eat better, and eventually run in one of the races in the Crim in August. This will hopefully lead to me eventually running (maybe next year) in the 8K of the Crim, and across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day.

5. I want to keep supporting Soldiers’ Angels, and my own personal soldier, Drew, who is currently serving in Afghanistan. If I make a soldier quilt this year, it’s going to Drew first. If I have time to make any other ones, Soldiers’ Angels can have them. My dad always says that we take care of our own first, and Drew is practically a brother to my brother, which techincally makes him my brother, too.

I’ve always felt that goals were important, and I have my students make them several times throughout the year in Character class. I usually have them set a weekly goal, a monthly goal and maybe a yearly one. I think it’s important to write your goals down, something my old boss Annie taught me. If you write them down and keep them somewhere that you can refer to them, it’s easier to keep them.


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