A rough start

I don’t typically create New Year’s Resolutions. Now that I’m a teacher, I’m even happier to not create them. Personally, I believe that if you want to change something, you can start at any time. Starting at the new year, month, or week makes it easier to succumb to failure. “Oh, I ate terribly today (January 8th.) I can’t come back from this! Now I’ve messed up and this year is a total waste! Until next year, diet plan!”

But, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have great expectations for this semester in my teaching life, and I’d be lying if I told you that I thought it was going well. But, that’s what we’re expected to do as teachers. We’re expected to smile, say everything is going wonderfully in our classrooms as to not raise suspicion, and to stay on top of everything when really we’re hoping to stay in bed for a much-needed mental health (snow!?) day.

I wish I could say that I spent the two snow days this year catching up or doing work. I haven’t. I’ve needed them, because if not for those unexpected days off, I think that I’d feel like I’m drowning. And I still feel that way, just a little. It’s been really hard to blog effectively when I feel like I’m in a rut. Maybe EDOFMA is real, even if it’s only January.

If you wonder what’s been contributing to my rough start, here you go:

  • Trying to segway into speaking more TL and expecting my students to speak it too. And not knowing where to start.
  • The pressure I feel to never be standing in front of my students. “No sage on the stage,” they say, “10 minute mini-lessons and that’s all. Your students should be doing the work. You should be a coach, they need to do the work themselves.” I think my instruction has suffered this year because I’m feeling that pressure.
  • The Ohio RESA. Seriously, it’s like they’re trying to get me to go for National Board Certification in year three and I just can’t be that great. It’s that complicated. If you’re interested in knowing what it is, click here.
  • Trying to be more engaging to my students than the lure of their 1:1 devices. Try as I might, my class is not more interesting than the internet.
  • Creating EVERYTHING. Next year will be the first year where my curriculum hasn’t changed and I don’t have to start at square one. Until then, I make new resources every single day.
  • Writing an entire #oneword16 post and then not posting it because it will not inspire or excite anyone.

 

But, I’m not ungrateful. This week alone, I:

  • instituted a personal policy of high-five-ing every student that walks through my door when I’m having a bad day. It really helps to turn my grumpy moods around. Middle schoolers are the best for this.
  • had students complete a graphic organizer while reading a text and I was super impressed with how well they did and how engaged they were. This organizer was an amazing pre-speaking activity, when I asked them to share with a partner, everyone did, and everyone spoke French. *swoon*
  • differentiated the second part of that activity and everyone really did seem to thrive. I only got one complaint of “her paper looks easier,” but most other students were content with the explanation, “different people need different things.”
  • had an awesome day where PBL in WL excited me, frustrated me, kicked me in the face, and overwhelmed me. But I cannot wait to explore more possibilities with it.
  • got to tell a student who is generally less-than-compliant that I was impressed with the hard work he did that day. We both smiled and he told me what I said was a confidence boost. I almost cried right there in front of him.
  • read the questions to an activity out loud to a student who usually struggles. She was able to comprehend and answer every single one; she just needed to hear how they sounded. I need to do this more.

 

As hard as this job is, I honestly love what I do. Just today, my husband called it “superhuman.” I guess if I had a takeaway from this year, it would be:

It is okay to be imperfect. It is okay to have a rough day, or 20. It is okay to not be 100% positive on the internet (but it is not okay to 100% negative.) It is okay to wonder if what you’re doing makes a difference, and it is okay to not be doing your best. It is okay to share your struggles with others, and it is okay to lay in bed hoping that today will be snowy.

I’ll leave you with my new favorite quote:

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credit: Lucie Rice

Bonne Année!

Well, it seems that break has come and passed, though I’m enjoying this last day off before we head back tomorrow.

Things I’m looking forward to in the next few weeks:

  • Seeing my students again
  • Finalizing my #oneword2016 (and subsequent post)
  • Going to three days of PBL PD
  • Exciting units and activities

Also, In case you were wondering about all those goals I made for the break, here’s an update:

Professional

  • Look into starting Real World Homework options w/ students. I’m starting with the Creative Language Class options this unit; you can check out all the ones they have here.
  • Redo Bethanie’s big boy sheet Nope, didn’t do that.
  • Plan for after break. Just a little. I will cross this out, but it’s still a work in progress.

Personal:

  • Play through an entire video game with my husband. Didn’t play through a whole game, though we did get ample opportunity to game together.
  • Spend at least 4 days unplugged from my phone and my computer. I did this and it was one of the most amazing things that I have ever done. My mind actually got a chance to rest and focus on only ONE thing at a time. I’m actually considering doing this weekly.
  • Read at least two books. It’s time for my yearly re-read of Pride and Prejudice, at the very least. I didn’t do this either. Oops.
  • Laugh uncontrollably. I highly recommend friendship and the game of “things” for this.
  • Rest and relax (I don’t relax well. I am always go-go-go.) See “unplugging”
  • Love on my family and friends. #extrovertsloveholidays And I miss them already.

Things that I did that didn’t make the list:

  • Spent my time without a schedule (I am notoriously bad at this. It went really well, though.)
  • Became (re)addicted to warm beverages, if only because it makes my hands warmer
  • Stopped thinking about teaching for an actually substantial amount of time
  • Made a trip to IKEA to furnish my (new) home office/teacher-y space. Isn’t it adorable? (PS a different chair is on its way, and don’t mind the mess on the side.)
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Everything is not actually crooked. Or that’s what I tell myself.

I’m really excited about what this year has in store for me, and I can’t wait to share it with you!