Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thankful Thursday: I Finished a Year of Teaching Again!

I am proud of myself. 

I feel like we don't say that enough for fear of sounding boastful. This year I took a giant leap back into the classroom after being at home for almost NINE YEARS. Yes, I had been subbing but that is very, very different. Once you're "locked in" to a one year teaching contract, you are in and flexibility is out. I'm thankful for the roles I had while I was at home for those nine years–from photography to foster parenting, I grew in my skills, resources, ability to set boundaries and understanding of the needs in our classrooms.

When I remember myself walking across that graduation stage 23 years ago, I imagined becoming a doctor working full time outside the home. I loved biology with my whole heart and felt that is how I would make a difference. Along the way I realized I loved teenagers just as much, probably even more. Being open to change and opportunities has led me to a full life rich in love, experience and growth.

Talking about changes, many have occurred in the classroom since I started in 2001. When considering returning, I feared I would be too old and slow to adapt to the technology (laptops for kids with distribution of work through OneNote etc) and new terminology and mindset (all the curricular and core competencies, online portfolios, self-assessments, learning targets etc). However, I have learned through the feedback of my students that although things are different, what truly matters (being known, curious and encouraged) has remained the same. Here are some comments that filled my heart and made me realize that I was made for this and still have "it".

  • You make science fun.
  • I looked forward to coming to class each day.
  • Our class felt like a family. You are like a mom to us.
  • I've decided to go into Biology now because of your class.
  • You believed in each and every student in your class and did not put one student above the other.
I realize that likely not everyone enjoyed being in my classroom but when you feel like you give a lot it is so important for teachers to hear feedback like this. Can you tell I'm a "words of affirmation" kind of girl?

Balancing family life and work was hard

The first semester was especially hard as we were also still fostering full-time. I'm proud of myself for hiring a cleaner in that first semester–it's okay to not do it all. I am thankful that although I was at work each day, we still had plenty of time together as a family as I was able to keep most of my work at school being that I was at a 70% work load. I was hoping to work less this upcoming year but it will be the same percentage. I can do it.

What am I thankful for overall?

1. A husband that believes I can do anything and is fully supportive in action as well. 
He did the majority of the cooking this year and drove the kids to school when I just needed a 20 minute commute on my own.

2. Amazing students. 
I know some people would be terrified to teach teenagers but they are awesome. I loved being able to teach such a range, grade 8 and 12, as the relationship and interactions are unique. 

3. The opportunity to work part time.
I wouldn't work otherwise.

4. Being able to teach Biology. 
I want to be passionate about what I am teaching. That said, I'm also teaching Math 8 this upcoming year...let's see how excited I can be about math. Yay, integers and fractions?!

5. A summer break to rest and read and run and travel.
Let's do this!

I hope to return this fall with a spirit of mindfulness. I want to be less of a "check off the box" kind of girl getting through each day/week/month/semester and come with more of a "let's see what today brings" attitude. 

I hope you have a wonderful summer and I cannot wait to share about our trip to Europe with you all!


1 comment:

  1. Congrats on making it through such a year of transition and change! Have an awesome summer!