Eight weeks ago, I waited in my classroom for my first students to arrive – slightly nervous, mostly excited and completely unaware of what my students would be like. Today, I sit in an empty classroom looking back in time and setting goals for the coming quarter.
Like most new teachers, I’ve spent a fair amount of time wondering if I am good enough to actually facilitate my students’ learning; I’ve been buried under new terms like: EOLs, DART, iCommunity, SIPs, HSGQE, SBAs, QAS, and that’s before even considering what at first felt like a byzantine system of standards. There have been moments when it feels like I’m drowning in a sea of work, frustration and anxiety. Thankfully though, I’ve gotten the professional and personal support that I need from my mentor and friends so that those frustrations and anxieties have been minimized which allows me to focus on teaching.
I have a better idea what I need to do in order to promote success in my classroom. There are concrete steps and goals that I have in mind and they are all small enough that none is overwhelming in and of itself; that’s important from a sanity perspective. I’ll provide better visual tracking of my students’ progress so that they know what they have to do, I’ll set clearer expectations, I’ll have a timeline published for expected progress. Most of my students are visual learners and I will do a better job catering to that.
It’s nice to have an idea of what I want to do and the feeling that I CAN make it there. That feeling certainly makes sitting in an empty classroom on a Sunday afternoon easier. It makes the noises of bush planes, Hondas and dirt bikes on their way to grand adventures less enticing. Sadly, those are adventures that I never take enough personal time to experience myself. Oh well, I suppose that after the next quarter is over, I’ll need another set of goals – might as well make that a personal set.