It's been interesting looking back at 2009. Looking at it objectively, I was so not rookie of the year at being an adult or entering the teaching profession. It has been a rough ride and I have made more than my share of mistakes.
Yet, I feel more secure in being an independent adult and more competent in being a professional educator than I ever have. I learned some big lessons in 2009 and for that I am grateful.
This is my last reflection list post. For the new year, I want to look ahead to 2010.
This is my list of things I learned about teaching and life while teaching in 2009.
10.) Wait for perspective instead of jumping to conclusions. I don't think I'll ever learn this lesson as thoroughly as I should, but I am trying. It is so easy for me to take the facts I know, apply sound deductive logic, and hold onto conlcusions I reach with a deathgrip. The problem is that I am missing a lot of facts. With time, comes perspective. It is the waiting that is soooo hard!
9.)Think Longterm. This is hard to do when you are in your early twenties (at least for me), but it is better to live frugally than take out loans. It is better to wait for things to improve in work situations than to abandon ship. It is better to spend the time you have with your family than to party. It is better to live for eternity than for the present.
8.) Record Keeping and Organization Is Key. I knew this in theory for a long time, but believe me I only have been able to practice these habits this school year. I have had to work on it financially too, since I live on a budget now.
7.) Red Light Cameras Have Video Devices. This lesson cost me 200$ and one day.
6.) Failure Is Good Medicine. It is not so bad to lose some pride. It is good to learn that you are still learning.
5.) Don't Quit When Things Are Hard. There is a time when it is okay to change paths, but it is certainly after the struggle. Quitting because you haven't yet learned something or haven't figured it out is a terrible idea.
4.) I Can Live with Less. It has been a hard financial year, but I have learned that I can live with less.
3.) Being Independent Is Its Own Reward. From roof rats to huge tuition bills to career issues I have dealt with a lot on my own this year. It is interesting because so many of my peers got married this year, but I have realized that I can handle a lot. Life is such an adventure and I would hate to miss it because I thought I had to rely on everyone else. Don't get me wrong, I think marraige is a blessing, but I do feel a bit bad for my friends who seem to feel helpless. I guess I am just saying it is good for me to be independent because if I wasn't forced into it then I might never have done it.
2.) Teach Social Studies! I can't believe how much I love teaching this subject. As an elementary teacher, it is easy to sweep this to the side, but it is so important. I just saw our latest benchmarks and my kids scored above the other classes again. I think it is because they are authentically reading so much informational text through Social Studies. I can't wait to start The Age of Exploration and Discovery on Monday.
1.)Bring who you are to the classroom. There is more than one right style of teaching. As a new teacher, lots of well-meaning people hope to see you grow into their style. Learn from those more experienced than you but don't try to fit into a mold you don't fit into. The more that I have relaxed and done what feels natural in the classroom, the better things have gone for me. I am really academic and people told me I was missing the heart of teaching, but by trying to be something else I lost what I loved about the job. Sharing my love of knowledge with the kids gave me common ground to do better with them. Start with your strengths and use those to compensate for your weaknesses.