I can’t believe it’s already time for back to school! My life has been a whirlwind this summer, between getting hired at a new school close to my hometown and hoping and praying that my husband would also find a job nearby, the first half of the summer flew. And then, as the beginning of the year drew closer and closer, my husband and I were making plans that involved him staying at his job and in our house (which was up for sale by owner) while I moved in with my parents to start the school year.
And then he got offered a job! Yay! I’m so glad that we don’t have to live apart, but that meant that the last couple of weeks were crazy! We emptied our house of all possessions, listed with a realtor, and now both of us are living with my parents. So, needless to say, I have gotten a little behind on the whole back-to-school thing.
I shared my first week plans weeks ago, but since that time, I haven’t even come close to getting all the things I wanted done. I didn’t get to revamping all the units that I wanted to revise. I didn’t create a treasure trove of authentic resources on Pinterest that I could magically pull the perfect article or video from at a moment’s notice. And I didn’t recreate a bunch of exciting new games for my new students. Honestly, this summer I had a hard time getting myself to work much on school. Planning the first week was fun, but I didn’t have the motivation to go beyond that.
But now it’s here and after two teacher workdays and meeting all my new colleagues and decorating my new classroom I am so ready to go back! Who doesn’t love back to school?! And I think setting a few concrete goals for this year will help me harness my newfound motivation and channel it in the right direction, so here goes.
- Plan smart, not hard. Last year, I made some huge changes and it was, in my opinion, a big success. Now I’ve got a year of experience teaching with CI and a communication focus under my belt, but I’m still going to be teaching students for whom this is a whole, new, scary thing. This is one reason I didn’t go crazy revamping curriculum this year. I don’t know these kids yet, and I don’t know what’s going to work best for them. Besides, last year I put in so many hours of work over the summer, and I still ended up burning myself out re-planning during the school year. So my goal is to take it one unit at a time – some general pre-planning before the unit starts and a good idea of where I’m going (which may or may not be the same as last year), and one week at a time – my goal is detailed lesson plans and resources ready to go before I go to bed Saturday night. Since I only have 3 preps this year instead of 4, this should be doable.
- Get to know the kids! I’m kind of amazed at how nervous I am for the rest of this week! For the first time in 3 years, I won’t know 2/3 of my students before school starts. I’m starting totally blank again, and I have little idea what to expect. It’s scary! Based on what I’ve gleaned from the other teachers the last couple of days, and the kids that I met last night at open house, I think it’s going to be great, but I just can’t shake the butterflies! Of course, this is an easy goal to meet, but I am definitely excited to get to know a new group of students, and I want to learn as much about them as I can as quickly as possible so that I can really make this year great for all of us.
- Plan a trip. I’ve already actually got the ball rolling on this one. I’m in touch with a representative from World Strides (the company comes highly recommended by a good friend who just took a trip with them) regarding a trip to Costa Rica, and during the interview process, both the principal and the superintendent seemed amenable to the idea of sending the kids on a trip. My plan is to take the kids in the summer of 2017, but I want to iron out details and get board approval as soon as I can so that we can start fundraising!
- Maintain an active Spanish Club. This is the first time that I will be paid to do Spanish Club, and I definitely feel the pressure from that! At my old school, I sort of let it slide, and my plan was to really get it going this year, so I guess this is just the motivation I need! I already have a few ideas to get kids involved – not the least of which is plugging my trip as loudly and frequently as possible.
- Go to CSCTFL conference. I’ve never been to a WL conference before, and since CSCTFL is in my state this year, it seems like too good an opportunity to pass up! I’ve already talked to my principal about it and she’s totally on board, so I’ll see you there!
- Keep it up with CI. I think last year went about as well as it possibly could have, and I learned a lot. This year poses its own new challenges, but I know that sticking with CI is the way to go. I tried to plant the seeds of this idea at open house last night by saying that we would be using Twitter, listening to music, and not worrying about conjugating verbs, and the kids seemed intrigued. No doubt it’s still going to be lots of work, but I’m excited for take two, more learning (both for me and the kids!), and getting more comfortable with this method that, despite having changed everything about the way I teach, is still relatively new to me.
There you have it. I’m sure I could write six or seven more goals, but I have to cut myself off. Some of these are pretty specific (and exciting!), but some of them are broad enough to definitely keep me working all year!
Good luck with your new year!