As educators across the country are settling in to the new school year, NYC public school teachers like myself have just finished our first week back. It has been a successful week for me and one I entered recharged and re-energized. This year is unique to me for several reasons since this year I’m teaching completely alone whereas in the past I’ve had co teachers for most of my classes, I’m teaching ELA and social studies, and I’m entering my fourth year of teaching which means I’m up for tenure. Even the administrative surface of my school has changed as my former principal has retired and a former assistant principal and colleague has moved on to another school issuing new leadership. So one can imagine the amount and impact of change not only for myself but for my school community as a whole.
However, in the days leading up to the new school year, I found myself surprisingly not stressing as much as I would’ve had this happened earlier in my teaching career. Perhaps this could be attributed to the fact that I had my share of nightmares when the previous school year ended or else towards actual growth as a teacher within my craft. Maybe this could even be attributed to the fact that I had an extremely relaxed summer after a much stressful previous year. Whatever the case may be, I definitely felt more assured, confident and overall at peace with the upcoming year. This mindset, I think, paid off greatly in my first week with my new kiddos that I feel even better about the school year. It’s not to say that I won’t have challenges, we all do at some point and trust there were a couple of moments even in my first few days, but the mentality seems to make a world of difference.
This in mind, I have some goals that I definitely want to accomplish this year in strengthening my craft and continuing to grow as an educator:
- Continue to create and modify lessons to make as engaging and enriching as possible.
- Strengthen relationships with students by offering more opportunities outside of the classroom through field trips, extracurriculars and the like.
- Conduct more frequent conferences to check on student growth and keep them cognizant of their progress.
- Keep a journal to reflect.
I think with these goals in mind, some of my practices will be even stronger and so will my students because of it. I look forward to this year and all that comes with it. It will most certainly be a year to remember.