Tomorrow marks my last day with my juniors. I did not allow myself to get too attached this year. Maybe it felt like a year of loss for me or maybe it was just the finale of slow losses over a decade. One’s heart only can be divided so many ways, I suppose. I am hoping as I close this school year in a few days, I will allow a few chapters to close. I hope my heart will grow (I mean after all even the famous Grinch’s heart grew a few sizes) by being filled with new joys.
Next year promises to be an exciting one professionally. I, like many teachers in Ohio, am feeling very scattered and pulled in so many different directions: a new teacher evaluation system based half on student growth; a new set a learning standards that represent a shift in teaching emphasis, intense increase in rigor, and completely new units and teaching activities; a new set of nationally normed assessments which will be completed online; another year of the four-year new teacher residency program revealed; redesigned district report cards; technology changes and opportunities; and more unfunded mandates. These just represent what I call the controlled changes….the ones someone or some body planned for. The other changes are significant. I can clearly say that this year, more than any other, I have had more students who simply refused to take responsibility for completing their work. I am going to have to find a way to manage that issue because soon their performance will be the basis for my evaluation.
What I find myself doing is grasping onto those things that excite me again about teaching…those things that renew and refresh me. I will spend the summer training teachers to use technology and attending training to become better informed about the changes in education. I will also work with colleagues to develop new units and find ways to better assess students. And I hope I can revive myself enough to be ready to greet the young people who walk through my door next fall. I pray for FOCUS. I am scattered and need to regroup. No, I do not get June, July, and August off. I will be working on getting ready and working on refreshing me.