16-17 Reflections

Wow. This school year was crazy, and it went so quickly! During the middle, I thought I wouldn’t make it out alive, but now that it’s over, all I can talk about is how “fast” it went.

I read a motivational post earlier this year that said something to the effect of, “why do we always judge ourselves based on what’s left on our to-do list, rather than what’s checked off?” MIC DROP! I’ve been trying to keep that close to my heart as the year went on, but it seems like the end of the year is just a long reflection on all the stuff we didn’t do this year!

That list could be the death of me. I actually CRINGE (and I am not exaggerating) when I think back about all the stuff I didn’t cover, teach well, or “check off” this year. My colleague and I even talked about spending time during our PLC next year sharing successes on a big Google Doc so we can remember the great things, especially during the hard times. What an amazing idea.

So, rather than showing you the list of thing I “didn’t cover,” I’m going to share my pluses and deltas from this year:

Pluses:

  • I was transparent about proficiency w/ my students this year and gave appropriate feedback to push them toward those goals.
  • Even though there were lots of downs and a limited number of ups, my students read a novel this year and did pretty well!
  • My students LOVED having pen pals this year, and while I was not the biggest fan, I’m trying to let student interest guide me in this way.
  • I was pretty good about following my motto from last year’s Camp Musicuentos: “I will not sacrifice the good on the alter of the perfect; when I find a resource that is good enough, I will stop looking.”
  • My students were using more verbs this year than ever before because I intentionally taught high frequency verbs at the beginning of the year.
  • My end-of-the-year strategy for pushing my students: “a one word answer is not acceptable for the second semester of French 1!”
  • My end-of-the-year strategy for student feedback: *me, pointing to score or feedback:* “tu es content?” If yes, I said “okay!” If no, I asked them to do it over.


Deltas:

  • I did not get through as many units as last year and I think I missed less days … I need to be more intentional in my planning so that we aren’t treading water because of me!
  • Interactive notebooks were a hit w/ students … when we kept up with them. I need to streamline these and use them more next year!
  • The LOGISTICS of pen pal letters … and then students telling me they “turned them in” when the physical copies were halfway around the world … next year there will be drafts and online submissions or I will pull my own hair out.
  • You know how you always feel like one skill falls to the wayside? This year it was listening! I need to be more intentional about listening activities for next year as well.
  • Due to my crazy number of classrooms this year, I didn’t keep up with stamp sheets or redos like I wanted to. Next year will ALREADY make this easier, I can tell.
  • I left at contract time a lot this year, which meant that grading was a slow and arduous process … but next year, I’ll have a place of my own at the end of the day, which should help with this problem.

 

I’m sure there are a million more (I have a whole Google Doc of “things to do next year”), but I will leave you with these, and with another wise thing that my colleague said to me:

“Did [whatever is bugging you] hinder your students this year?”

If, like me, the answer is no, than it’s probably not worth worrying about. After all, it is SUMMER — you can find me at the beach, or at least Instagramming about it.

May confessions

Guys. I haven’t really been around lately, and I apologize.

At the end of March, my grandmother, who I continue to love with all of my heart, passed away on my birthday. And while I’m coming to terms with that, the rest of the year hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a few days of bereavement leave, and then Easter was here, and then it was May … and, well, you know May. I don’t feel caught up from April yet, and here I am, three days of school left before exams. Whew.

So, as an uplifting rest of this post, I figured I’d contribute my May confessions, if nothing else, to the collective blog world.

  1. There are three days of school left, and basically, as long as my kids are working quietly, I haven’t been pushing them to get assignments done. I usually start the class with “you have 15 minutes to finish X activity” and then 15 minutes go by … then 20 … then 25 … and if they’re working on the activity and still quiet, I’ve been letting them be. They’re overwhelmed, and so am I.
  2. Last week I had a lot going on, and I’m pretty certain that I didn’t consume a single vegetable. If I did, it came frozen on a pre-packaged meal and probably wasn’t a real vegetable. Like the frozen pizza purchased on a whim that had metallic-y tasting spinach on it … but that might have been two weeks ago.
  3. I haven’t done a brain break in my class in awhile, even though I KNOW they need it and I need it. May just brings a rush of so many things that I forget to plan well.
  4. I’ve been using “it’s May” as an excuse for everything. “I don’t have time to grade this, it’s May!” “Everything is crazy, it’s May!” “I probably won’t make it … it’s May!”
    This is fine when I talk to teachers, but when I talk to other adults with non-teaching jobs, they look at me like “why are you reminding me what month it is?” They don’t know the utter chaos that May brings.
  5. When people ask me about my summer plans, I am no longer ashamed to say “getting paid for watching Hulu on my couch.” You don’t know how I need this break!
  6. I have a running list of changes for next year, and I’m SO excited for it, even if I do want to take the whole month of June off. I guess this is the teaching curse!
  7. Since I teach at three middle schools, I’ve been on a rotating schedule of annual DC trips – this means that I don’t have one class while they’re in DC. So I have 4 classes (three days a week) instead of 5. Tuesday was my last day of 5 classes, as my last school left for DC Wednesday. I found myself, Tuesday afternoon, starting to complain about how hard teaching the normal amount of classes is. Come ON, Wendy, it’s your job.
  8. I, much like Allison, have been planning in the morning before my classes start. I only have one new lesson a day, and I’m pretty fast at creating materials. Plus, after school these days, I feel like a glorified vegetable, and getting off of my couch is kind of a chore.
  9. Yesterday for a belated staff appreciation week, one of my schools had free neck/shoulder/arm massages. I got finished with mine about three minutes before my class started and we spent the period with the lights off, windows open, and working quietly, even though that wasn’t the plan before my massage. I blame the cocoa butter they used; everything smelled happy like chocolate!
  10. My 17-18 teaching planner came in the mail this week and I long to fill it with important dates, information, and the like. However, I haven’t updated this year’s planner in weeks …

 

There you have it. I could continue this list with a TON of confessions, but I probably shouldn’t, for my own safety. I’d love to hear your confessions, too; I love reminding everyone (and being reminded) that we’re all human. Last, I’ll leave you a beautiful picture of my new planner haul!

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