Sunday, January 7, 2018

#SundayFunday: New Year’s Resolutions!

The #SundayFunday challenge has become more of a monthly prompt than a weekly one recently.  Which is ok with me because I was having trouble keeping up :)  This post is actually a week early!!  Here is more info if you'd like to join in the fun.

This month's prompt it to write about our New Year's resolutions.  I rarely make resolutions.  I don't need to really because I make goals for myself all the time.  Before I share my new goals, I should mention that I have recently accepted a new job.  My current employer will likely be holding me for close to 60 days (a state requirement so that classroom are not left empty).  This means I'll probably be starting my new position in early February.

First, I want to be clear that I've had a good run with my current employer.  I have received many opportunities and I have grown tremendously during my 12.5+ year tenure.  I met many people and was given the opportunity to speak at conferences and attend professional development sessions.  However, I've started to outgrow my current school.  One of the many great opportunities that I was given at my current school was to implement a rotation based blended model of instruction.  I've written tons about it in the past 4-5 years.  However, I was the only teacher in my building to fall in love with the model.  I like the small group instruction piece for remediation and acceleration the most.  I also like the fact that students build both independence, responsibility, and collaboration skills every day.  The tech coach that was in my room for most of the first 2 weeks was amazed that my students experienced at least 3 of the 4 Cs everyday.  My students even earned the highest passing rates on our state test in our building (by about 20%).  Unfortunately, none of that carried enough weight for my current employer to buy-into the instructional model and I was forced to teaching using only a lecture and worksheet cycle.  Needless to say, I have been very unhappy for the last 4 months.

I put out the word with my contacts at local schools that I was in the market for a new teaching job at a school that would support me in my journey to provide a more engaging classroom environment.  The funny part is that most of the local districts have embraced this model widely and have seen growth.  I'm fortunate to have found a position at a school that started using this blended model even before I did.  When asked, my new principal stated that one of the goals at his school was to create an educational experience that meets the needs of students by offering flexibility.  The district is incorporating more blended and online classes as a result.  I'm hoping that this will be a better  fit for me.

So, here are a few of my upcoming goals.  First, I know very little about my new school.  I hope to spend some of my holiday break learning what I can through the school's website and social media accounts.  Second, I know nothing about my new department's policies and procedures.  Thankfully, the lead teacher has been helpful so far.  I'm planning to stop by the school tomorrow to pick up some instructional resources that she left for me in the office.  I hope to use these resources to learn a bit about the two new courses I'll be teaching: statistics and consumer math.  I've never taught either course but I'm excited by the idea of teaching the two most applicable math classes ever :)  Third, I know very little about teaching on a block schedule.  I think my experience in using stations will help tremendously to keep my students engaged for a much longer period of time.  I'm hoping to connect with some other teachers in the building who have been using the model to learn about how they have used it in a block setting.

I plan on taking full advantage of my fresh start.  I'm hoping that I may actually be able to start on the first day of the new semester (January 26), but I know that it will likely be a few weeks later.  I'm excited by the idea of teaching at a much smaller school (literally half the size).  I hope that the teachers have closer relationships with each other and that students are more welcoming to newbies :)

Wish me luck!  It will be a very challenging few weeks as I pack-up my old classroom and move into my new one.  I'm sure I'll struggle with the fast paced transition but I know that I'll be in a much better place soon enough.

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