Well August has begun which means it’s inevitable that school will be starting soon. Even though this will be my 21st year of teaching, each year I still am anxious and somewhat nervous. I’m not sure why but I’m sure some of that is caused by my excitement of all the ideas swirling around in my head that I’ve gained during the summer after having time to reflect on the past year (and relax) . I love to learn new things and hear what others are doing – I just don’t have unlimited time to make all of those ideas come to fruition (nor should I ever try.) So when the #SundayFunday challenge was to focus on our goals I thought the timing was perfect.
So what is my goal this year? I’ve actually been wrestling with a couple of things this summer about a course that I’m going to be teaching. I’m part of a new content team and I really want to be a part of a team that works together (which has not been the case so far in this content area) but I want to be able to do things that the others may not be willing to try yet. I’m sold on a lot of the strategies and things that I do in my AP Stats class and I KNOW they can work in a regular non-AP class but I can’t seem to get my department members on board. It’s frustrating in part but then I also know that these teachers are great – they just have different comfort zones and how far they are willing to stray from them varies. Me on the other hand – I hear something that can help my students and I’m changing tomorrow’s lesson plan the night before to reflect it. I know there needs to be a happy balance of work with 3 preps so I can’t go crazy but if I think it will help my students it’s worth the extra effort in my mind.
So what do I do? Do I join the new team and try to encourage a collaborative environment with give and take on these ideas to create a cohesive group where the students get the same thing? This is what I did last year with my Algebra 2 team. It was needed and I think it worked out well (and it was a TON of work on my part) but I left thinking there was more I wanted to do. This year’s new team is different and I think I want to go my way and try to show them what I’m doing to try to get them on board. Is that being selfish? Is it wrong to be selfish? So many questions to think about and then the most important one rises to the surface: “What will help the students the most?” and I have to believe it’s going in the direction that is different than what’s been done.
I was inspired my @mathequalslove‘s most recent post on this same topic and so I believe my one word this school year will be PURPOSE. My goal is that I want to make sure that I do things this year with purpose. I looked up the definition and here’s what I found: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. This means what I may choose to do will not be popular and I’m going to have to be okay with that. This year I can’t just try to fit in and not make waves because I know I won’t be happy and the students will miss an opportunity. Now I have more reasons to have butterflies before the school year starts but I know this will help grow my comfort zone. I know if I’m going to try to expect it of others, then I need to be willing to model it myself 🙂