Image Map

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Mid-Year Reflection: Wins and Wishes

Now that I'm on break and have a chance to breathe, I'm taking a little time to reflect on how the school year is going so far. I always find it helpful to reflect on my successes and focus on my future goals and priorities while I have the time and energy to think about it with some proper perspective! So here is my mid-year reflection, if you're inspired to share your own I'd love for you to do so in the comments!

My "wins"

1. maintaining my vocal health

I won't say my voice is in top shape, but I can definitely still sing and speak in my normal range right now and that is HUGE! I am not kidding when I say this was my number one priority going into November / December this year. Last year I lost my voice for over a month (and barely had it for about a month on either end of that) this time of year and I was miserable- as in it was physically painful to do my job. I made sure to be more conscious of not pushing my voice both in and out of school, and I made a few deliberate choices in the interest of saving my voice as well: I said no to church choir, I asked my principal to buy me a megaphone for my outside duties, and I rested my voice as much as possible every weekend in the fall and winter. This is usually the worst time of year for my voice so I am celebrating my success, but I'm going to continue to be mindful through the rest of the school year so I can maintain my vocal health through the rest of the winter too!

2. including Ramadan/ Eid in my holiday sing-along

My whole-school holiday sing-along is definitely still a work in progress (read about that in this post), but I have spent a couple of years trying to find a way to include a recognition of Ramadan in a meaningful way that students would enjoy, and I feel like I did that this year. The students who celebrate Ramadan and their families in our school community were so happy to see themselves reflected in our preparations, and in some of my upper grade classes the students voluntarily started sharing about their fasting and other ways they celebrate and the rest of the class responded with genuine excitement and interest. It was the absolute best outcome I could have hoped for!

3. banner year for choir

I teach pull-out choir classes for 3rd-6th grade, and this semester was by far the best I've ever had with my choir classes at this school. I made a point of going around to individual students that I thought would be interested but hadn't signed up yet when the deadline was approaching this year, and got a tremendous response- my 3rd and 4th grade groups were the largest they have ever been, and my 5th and 6th grade group was double the normal size! Not only that, they were all incredibly motivated and focused- I was so nervous about having these giant groups but there were very few disruptions to rehearsal. In the 5th and 6th grade group in particular, every rehearsal was magical. We did challenging literature, singing in multiple languages, parallel harmony, and with dynamic contrast, and we had fun doing it. I really really really hope the magic continues this spring!!

4. parent communication

I finally got myself set up on ClassDojo by getting grade level teachers to add me to their classes, and it has been a fantastic way to communicate quickly and easily with parents. I've used it to communicate with individual parents when a child had a difficult time in class, but mostly I've used it to send little video clips of things we're doing in class, or send announcements to everyone when our concert got snowed out!

My "wishes"

1. lessons for self-contained classes

I almost put my self-contained special education classes in the "wins" too- I'm actually quite happy with how much I've learned as I'm teaching some self-contained classes that are completely different from any class I've ever taught before this year. But one of my goals for the rest of the year is to continue to learn more about the students in these classes and learn how to teach them more effectively- I know there's still so much more to learn.

2. pushing aside toxicity

This school year has been full of toxic negativity from other adults for some reason. I've had a few very difficult interactions with parents and seen a lot of colleagues treat me (and other "specials" teachers) like a lesser teacher. I'll continue to work to build respect for myself and my program, but the main thing I want to focus on is to not let that toxic negativity get to me so much! When I step back I can see that there are hundreds of parents that have lots of positive things to say about their child's experience in my class, and have had very productive conversations with me when there was a problem we needed to tackle. I also have plenty of colleagues who treat me like the professional equal I am. I want to learn to not let a handful of negative interactions affect my self-image or my mood.

How about you? Whether you choose to share publicly in a comment or not, this is an effective, easy way to take stock of where you are in the school year and get some perspective before heading into January. What are your wins and wishes?

No comments :

Post a Comment