Reflective Teaching Day 1: My Goals for This Year

This month has been big for me! I created a Twitter account and participated in my first #langchat ever (okay, I mostly lurked, but I was there!). It’s been less than a week, but Twitter has already been a great resource for me. I’ve discovered 3 new blogs to check out, gotten some great resources, and followed lots of different World Language teachers. One of the things Twitter has brought to my attention was teachthought.com‘s 30-day blogging challenge for teachers. It’s not just for language teachers of course, and I’ve had a good time perusing some of the responses that have already been blogged today and getting out of my World Language zone a little bit.

Anyway, today’s prompt is:

Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!

My school is already 8 days in, but that just gave me the opportunity to get to know my students a little before putting these goals down. This is really a great exercise, since the state of Ohio requires teachers to write two professional goals each year, and they’re due this Friday in my school. 

So here we go:

  1. Speak Spanish. Like, all the time. So far, I’m doing a pretty good job with this. In Spanish I, I try to get the most vital announcements in in English before or after the bell rings, but other than that we’ve been relying on Spanish much more this year than in previous years. So far, so good, but it’s definitely still a goal.
  2. Get the kids to speak Spanish! In 2-4 I’m not allowing English between bells, and so far it’s going well. The students, even my oh-so-skeptical Spanish II students, are starting to realize that they can make themselves understood, even if right now it’s mostly in single words and gestures. I know they’ll get more comfortable and better as we go. Right now I’m still letting my 1st years speak English, but I’ve already told them that after Christmas break, they, too, will lose the privilege. They aren’t really even trying to communicate in Spanish yet, but I can’t really blame them since we’ve only learned about 12 phrases.
  3. Authentic resources. I spent this summer researching and recreating my curricula. For all 4 levels. It was a huge undertaking, but I definitely think it’s for the best. I’ll blog about some of my issues and thoughts about that later, but for right now, the biggest thing is continuing to find authentic resources. I’ve tossed the textbook because of its lack of authenticity, and I want to make sure I don’t replace it with something equally contrived. So far this year, YouTube has been one of my biggest go-tos for authentic resources, but I’m constantly on the lookout. Pinterest is a great resource!
  4. Stay motivated! Last year, this was huge for me. Over the course of 3 years I’ve really been hit over the head as to how ineffective my previous teaching methods were, and my students’ lack of ability was really dragging on me. Not only that, but I “tutor” after school 16 hours a week. With 2-4 other teachers and 12-35 middle schoolers, mostly 5th graders (yes, they’re middle school in my district). I know there are some wonderful people out there who are blessed with the ability to handle younger kids, but I am definitely more cut out for high school.
    So, between an uninspiring school year, 3+ extra hours of middle schoolers every evening, a husband who worked EVERY night of the week because of his school schedule, and (I just found out) an under-active thyroid, I was pretty worn out last year. Now I have a new, exciting curriculum, my husband is off at least 4 nights through the week, and I’m on a (highly effective) new medication, so I have high hopes. I’m even hoping that tutoring will go better this year than it did lat year.
    Last year was far from awesome, but I’m in much better circumstances this year, so I’m sure with some prayer, a positive attitude, and support from those around me, I’ll more than manage. Hopefully, I’ll excel. 

I’m sure if I sat here and thought about it for three more minutes I could come up with several more goals for this year, but those were the first and most important things that came to mind, so I think I’ll leave it at that. Good luck with your own goals this year, whether in the classroom or not!

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