As we get ready to embark on our 190-some day journey, another round of Mastery Mann-tastic adventures, it’s time for me to reflect, set some goals, and pray.
While I take some deep breaths and relax from a week of Proffessional Developments, school updates, schedule dilemmas, and brief moments of classroom set-up, I decided to re-read my first ever blog post, “On Purpose.” (http://bschwam.teachforus.org/on-purpose/) This was exactly what I needed to do. While Mastery does a good job reminding us why our work is so important and urgent, that first post reminded me why I am a part of it. Re-reading that post brought me to tears. I can honestly say I am even more passionate, more focused, and more invested in my work and purpose now than when I first began writing because I can attach faces, names, families, and moments to those statistics. We are a part of something bigger than just school. It is about ensuring every child receives an awesome education, but it’s so much more than that. This is Philly’s future, my students’ futures, and that future deserves to be filled with opportinities, happiness, love, and success.
Feeling refueled, a fire re-lit, and a heart renewed with purpose, I have some work to do; goal setting. Without some specific goals formalized and communicated honestly with myself, I am afraid I would just fall back to the ways I did things last year. While nothing was outright awful, I definitely want to improve, a lot, and build on the things that were successful last year. I want year two to be more successful, more joyful, and more meaningful.
Here are some ways we are going to make those hopes happen:
- Consistency: I want to be more consistent in everything, from following the Choice Chart consequences to communicating to families. I want to find that balance between providing each child with what he needs to succeed and grow, while keeping us all more accountable for our actions. I want my lessons to move more consistently, and to plan more purposefully.
- Fun and Games: I want to play more games within our daily routines. This is why I have chosen a Game theme for our classroom this year. What better way to constantly remind myself to incorporate more games than to surround myself with them? Looking at the giant Candy Land game board on our wall, and the ladder of Chutes and Ladders, will force me to consider how I can add a game to each lesson I plan. I want my studends to learn to be partners, team players, and cooperative learners.
- Challenges: I want to force challenges onto my students. I want them to struggle. This may sound odd, but when we think about how a student makes significant gains, they have to struggle, and “sweat” just like an athlete training to improve in their sport. I need to step back more, allow my boys to be more independent. I want to let them struggle, not to the point of frustration, but just enough to push them a little extra. This will be a personal challenge for me, to watch the struggle and know when to jump in, as each boy can take a different level of independent sweat.
I am sure more goals will be written, I will have plans for each boy, but for now, those are my three big hopes. Hold me accountable friends, family, and coworkers! Ask me if we’ve played any games lately, or if I’ve let my students grow more independent, and if my student’s families are in the know about our classroom happenings.
And finally, before we begin Year 2…
I pray for renewed patience, and that it be refilled everyday. I pray that I approach each new challenge and obstacle with an open and creative mind. I ask for more focus, daily. Even though I am returning to room 306 with more confidence than a year ago, I pray that I stay humble, and willing to try new strategies and continue to learn as much as I can from the amazing educators around me. And I pray that this year is filled with more joy, success, and laughter.