Thursday, April 24, 2014

Adequate, Inadequate.

This evening's post is about putting too much pressure on yourself as an educator, second-guessing your methodologies and internalizing when your students do not follow through with what you desire for them to complete. Around this time every year, coming off the "high" of state testing, I tend to find myself venturing toward a "valley" of sorts, entering the realm of What If-Ville. When the school year officially ends, I wonder if I have adequately prepared my students for the upcoming grade level, which this year is even more stressful than ever because I have never directly sent students on to middle school. I have always told my students, "Next year will be middle school, and fifth grade is all about responsibility", but now, I am saying things like, "Middle school is a time of immensely high expectations, and you are approaching that period in... just a few months."

Here is some advice for self-assessment while you are lurking in the valley--
My reflections are written below. 

1. Affirm yourself. Where did you succeed beyond measure this year? You need to think of some area in which you have achieved success.
I am now well-acquainted with the fifth grade curriculum and can proudly say my students have mastered the majority of the content. I feel like when next year approaches, I will have a stronger sense of accomplishment and elude a greater deal of self-confidence. Fifth grade science was a tad intimidating at first, but I have completed more experiments with my students this year (currently, 69) than probably all my previous classes combined. 

2. What has driven you insane this year? What do you want to fix for next year?
I want to have a student in charge of making sure homework has been turned in so I do not have to spend time sorting it out of my classwork basket. I want to have a separate classwork and homework basket. Also, I think putting folders in a crate for turning in work will make it infinitely easier to see that my students have turned in their required assignments. Obviously, too, I want to work on organization.

Sometimes, too, it is good to make a list of procedures you would like to change in your classroom for next year based on how you feel about them right now. The end of the school year is a wonderful time for honing in on how you want to strengthen your classroom community for next year's students.

3. How do you want to develop professionally this summer?
If anyone asks me this question in "real life", they get a marathon response because of the initiation of the new domains. I plan on collaborating with (now) thirty-seven others this summer, meeting with the local contributors, planning sensational content. Doing that immediately opens so many possibilities for watching TED talks, brushing up on educational philosophy, and delving into pins on Pinterest to plan an "inspiration board" for the team. It means asking some of my friends deeper questions about education than I have ever asked them. I also plan on attending the Whole Brain Teaching Conference in Pineville, Louisiana, as I pointed out yesterday. Right before that, I am going to officially be gifted endorsed as well! At the end of the summer and in the next few years as the domains develop into what I really desire for them to be, I feel like I am going to evolve monumentally. 

4. How can you take time to love yourself (even) more this summer?
Exercising and learning to not internalize stress. I hope to at least decrease that internalization by half. I hope to develop better eating habits that carry on into the next school year and incorporate some kind of exercise into my daily routine. Developing better habits will help me to not over-exhaust and underestimate myself. I hope to put myself closer to first!

5. One more time, tell yourself you are human. You are constantly living on the threshold of change and revolution. Every day you live makes you wiser and stronger, more appreciative and well-rounded. You did the smartest things you could do at the time you encountered them. The best thing is to get past anything you consider a "shortcoming" or "failure" with a definitive plan.

I am leaving you with some profound quotes--

  • "You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are." -- Yogi Bhajan
  • "Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are."-- Malcolm S. Forbes
  • "Our entire life consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are." -- Jean Anouih

Most importantly, love yourself, don't be afraid to evaluate yourself, and understand you are always growing and changing for the better.

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