This is my favorite night of winter break… The whole vacation is ahead of me, time hasn’t started flying by, I can just pause a minute and reflect on the good and the bad of semester 1 before I unplug my mind from school for 13 days.
Trust me when I say that I realize I am VERY privileged. At my school, we have the best administration you could ask for and I work in a department with like minded colleagues. I teach in a rural district with kids who are generally motivated intrinsically. It isn’t the same for everyone and I want to recognize that before I begin.
First, the bad:
- I was struggling in August. I run Somewhere to Share full time as well. After two really hard years, I was having trouble convincing myself that I could continue pulling double duty for 6 more years. If this year were like the past two, I probably couldn’t have. I had to DRAG myself to school the first week.
- I did not find a good way to work with my difficult class. I have had difficult classes in the past that responded well to more manipulative activities, more comprehension based games, etc… but this semester, they spent a lot of time tuned out. I feel like they did not acquire language like previous groups have. I need to figure out how to tune them in.
- I did not incorporate enough music. In many years, we have studied 10-12 songs by this time. We are WAY behind. I don’t know why I didn’t make it a priority. Maybe because when I brought back SSR, I lost balance in my planning. I’d like to do better at including BOTH next semester.
- Covid isn’t gone… and now it’s brought friends to the party. Everyone is sick. They’re not sick for a day or two. They’re sick for 4 days at a time. This makes it hard when a class is centered around in class activities! I felt like kids were missing half a unit of content and there really wasn’t a good way to disseminate the information to them.
- I’ve been terrible at time management. I have to be worried about school, about family, about grading, and about Somewhere to Share… and I think my family is getting shorted time.
- Units that I thought would be engaging needed a lot of tweaking to get my quiet class to participate, the same units didn’t keep my loudest class from being loud… Sigh.
Now the good:
- We were able to do a LOT of units in semester 1. They learned a ton about the environment, the planet, and their role as a global citizen. That made me really happy. I missed class moving at the pre-2020 pace.
- Who knew that they’d be so into a unit on sustainable agriculture?? Spanish 4 blew me away with their farms at the end of the unit.
- We read two readers as a class at level 2, 3, and 4 and over 130 readers in SSR. That’s a lot of great input! I feel like reading was back on par with pre-2020 levels!
- That tough class is the first one to tell me they missed me if I am gone. They may be tuned out some days, but they are like my own kids… they are sweet when they want to be.
- Huellas 1 and 2 are completely finished and they are being used in about a thousand schools. It is so much fun to see the units we’re studying in my classroom through the lens of other classrooms across the US and Canada.
- In semester 2, my class groupings shake up so that a lot of the quiet class is moving to afternoon and a lot of the loud class is moving to morning… so MAYBE the loud class will be a little sleepier and will keep participating (but not so loudly) and the quiet group will be awake and will participate more!? It’s possible, right?
- We did a lot of comprehension games this fall and it made the class periods go fast, the days go fast, and even made this semester go fast!
I have had SO much better year this year than last. I will not dread going back in January. (Although I will hate having to turn the alarm back on.)
Here’s to enjoying the 13 days off and going back ready to end the year strong. I was wishing away these six years, but now that I am realizing it’s already only 5.5… I am holding on a little tighter. I get my mojo from the kids. I know I will miss them when I do leave! I hope your semester has been uplifting for you as well.