It is my last week of school! I am so excited to be done. This year has been so much on me in so many different ways. Honestly, I think I am more excited to be done than my students are.
It has been such a long year for me. Like I mentioned last week, I learned a lot about myself and about my teaching. I got to teach some new content to my students. I feel better overall with my content delivery, as well as creating or finding activities that will engage my students. It doesn’t always work, and there are times when things don’t go according to plan, but I feel like overall lessons went well.
I also spent a lot of this year focusing on classroom management. Because I started teaching in the pandemic, I didn’t really have anyone to guide me in terms of how to run my classroom. I got skipped over a little bit through no one’s fault, and I went directly from student teaching to having my own classroom. I didn’t have guidance, and unfortunately there were no classes on classroom management in college. That’s really something you have to learn on the job itself. My first year teaching went from virtual to hybrid. My second year was all in-person, but it was kind of figuring out how to transition back into learning. This year really felt like I was a brand new teacher. Fortunately, I found help along the way. However, by the time I got the actual help that would work for me, it was already September/October. I was able to successfully implement certain routines and procedures, but some of the routines and procedures for sure would have done better if I had them for the whole year as opposed to just part of it.
But overall, I think this year was successful. I made strides towards having less issues and having more engaging material. I still had issues for sure. However, I’m hopeful that I can continue to improve as I teach more.
I also learned a lot about myself this year. I was reminded that I’m not alone when it comes to the issues I face as a teacher. Other people have faced the exact same issues I’ve faced. I went to a conference in September about teaching practices and ideas. It was so encouraging to hear ideas from other teachers and to get resources that are helpful to me in my own classroom.
It’s hard to imagine that I’ve finished three years if teaching. I still feel new to all this, and it continues to be overwhelming at some points.
With the way I set up benefits for after I’m done teaching, I have to stay in this district for five years. I won’t lie. It feels surreal that I’ve crossed the halfway point. There were times this year that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it all five years. And while I am for sure exhausted and ready for break, I don’t feel burnt out. I’ve actually been spending the past few weeks getting ideas for next year. I’m attending some seminars over the summer to hopefully continue to help me get better at teaching. I’m excited for the things I can and will do next year. I’ve set a lot of things in motion for who I want to be as a teacher.
I have things I’m still working towards and goals I’m setting for myself. I’m starting to figure things out. I feel like I’m finally starting to get comfortable in my role as a teacher.
I’m not the only one who has noticed improvement. I continue to improve on administration evaluations and observations. Lesson planning comes easier, and activities in class run smoother.
I’m also seeking out opportunities outside of the classroom to improve. Like I mentioned, I attended a teaching conference in September. I’ve also got a couple of seminars lined up. This past school year, I was on the committee for approving a new textbook for all Social Studies teachers in my district. I spent a lot of time going through the textbook options and evaluating them. It was really cool to be there because I got to be a voice for middle schools, and I believe that my decision directly impacted the possible options. Therefore, I’m excited for next year and for the curriculum we’re going to have. It was super cool to be so involved, and I’m thankful I jumped on the extra opportunity.
Something that has always stayed consistent is my relationship with students. I bonded well with my students, and created relationships with some that might be labeled “difficult”. I also got to see the majority of my students do well this year. Even students that had struggled were able to complete projects and pass my class.
This year has been long and exhausting. I’ve learned so much and done so much. It’s been both good and bad in some instances. I’m thankful I had this year, and I’m looking forward to what comes next year (after summer break!)