Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The End of the School Year- The time for Reflection

The end of another school year is here (for me) and for others is fast approaching. We all find ourselves in the middle of a mixed emotions of excitement, exhaustion and also a bit overwhelmed of the hundred and one things it needs to be done before we can finally say "Happy Summer everyone" It is during those last particular days that I keep reminding myself that when all the boxes were packed and put away, things were label and organized, that I would take a couple of days to s-l-o-w down and look back.
As I  look back in my 13th year of teaching, I have learned a couple of things about myself as a teacher:

* I love challenges. I feel like I need them in order keep pushing my thinking to higher levels.
* I fear "getting stuck in my ways"  I believe that is one of my biggest fears. I don't want to find myself pulling out the same format, same worksheet, same book just because it is "familiar" or because I don't want to explore something new.
* Parent connection is not just "important" to me. It is vital for my teaching life to make sense. If I don't see the families or communicate with them often, I feel out of place. I feel that when I have them by myside, then there's nothing my students and I can't achieve. They've proven to me over the years that they want to be considered partners in education. I understand it . I really do.
* I have to fight  the struggle of balancing the "pressure to perform" and my beliefs to raise life readers and writers. I had that fight with myself constantly because I hear administrators telling us what it needs to be done, what it needs to happen, but I also know who I am as a teacher and what I believe in. This struggle for balance has help me push my thinking into a new direction. By pondering on the question..."how knowing this can help me in real life?" has helped me put in perspective some real-life situations in their hands, making the preparation for OAA testing less painful and more concrete.
*Life is intense at times. People get very intense as well. We all deal with a huge amount of stress, fears, complications in our daily personal lives. Some people like to bring all that into a school setting and it comes out in the wrong places and at the wrong times. In my last 13th years of teaching, I have never eaten  my lunch at the teacher's lounge. It is not because I don't care about the people I work with. I actually get to work with some of my closest friends in Columbus. However, I like to remain balanced and focused during the school so I can be there for the students and their families. Sometimes, we carry a negative aura when we overload ourselves with all the daily negative comments.
*I had a lot on my plate this year. There were time when I couldn't simple be part of some events or put on my shoulders another responsibility. I had to learn to say no and I believe that it is OK to take the
" time card " for one year. I needed to find solid ground. We always have next year to  bring it.
* When my students request a familiar read aloud for just enjoyment and fun, it is still one of my favorite moments. The time freezes, nothing else matters. It is just the book and us. Nothing else is needed.

And last but not least.....Maya Angelou's quote is still my mantra in my personal and my teaching life:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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