Where my path is leading…
In the beginning of this year when I took the initial self assessment my top 3 strengths were, Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning, Assessing Students for Learning, and Developing as a Professional Educator. This year is my fourth year teaching and my second year in induction to clear my credential, so I did not feel surprised about my top strengths that arose when I took the assessment. These skills have been the focus of my professional development and self exploration. Each of these areas are important to me to maintain a sense of community in my classroom and professional learning community.
The final self assessment was comprised of 2 of the 3 as the initial. I was glad to see that what I felt was important in my craft as a teacher was still at the forefront of my learning experience. The top 3 were in this order, Developing as a Professional Educator, Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning, and Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning.
Finalizing my induction this year has shaped the foundation of what I feel creates a leaning environment that is open for all learners, a safe place to nurture new learning pathways, and a community of teachers that help to develop plans together to harness students achievement. Content can be taught in an assortment of modes, but developing a craft in teaching that puts the social emotional aspect of students learning first takes practice and research.
As students’ needs change and the current events shift, the structure for social emotional development also shifts and molds into what the students need at that time. When students do not feel safe or loved, they have difficulty learning. They need stable adults to help reshape the experiences they may have had in the past to shape new bonds. My hope is to continue learning more about what makes a cohesive learning environment and how to self reflect on their in order to improve that way I inspire life learners.
I learned the hard way… Advice for new teachers
When I went back to school to become a teacher, I already had four kids and was working a full time job. I knew changing careers and going back to school would be difficult, but I could not imagine the demand that would come with being a teaching professional. There is a tendency in teaching to acquire so many resources and influences that it can be like drinking from a fire hose. You feel the need to be up to standard with the teachers on the left and the right. This starting point will lead to nothing but fatigue in a career that is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Self care became very important specifically in my third year of teaching. Through my own physical health trials, I realized how much of my time and energy was being placed on doing everything that all the other teachers were doing, even it if meant mental and physical burn out. I am not saying that they had wrong intentions, but each teacher needs to find their path that works for their personality and also their lifestyle. With my own family to tend to, I came to the realization that I need to do what I can with my time at school and management it closely so I do not carry it over home.
This year, I started carving out time to excessive, eat healthy and spend more time with my family when I am home. I became more efficient during my prep times and limited what I could do on my lessons to what was applicable and targeted. There are many options for adding fluff into lesson, but ultimately it creates more projects for the teacher that in the end may not even have the results that you were looking for. I also have surrounded myself with others who love the profession and also curate an amazing life with their families. We fuel each others creativity and also help to bring each other down to reality when things seem chaotic.
Teaching is just a s cliche as they say it is, “The most rewarding job”. It can be that many days of the year, and also be sandwiched into days where you want to crawl under your desk and cry. You are asked to be a mama, friend, mentor, and many more hats that require constant talk and feedback. Just like carving a teaching practice that caters to your needs, you also need to have an outlet to release the pressure you may have on you to be the best at these roles. You matter to so many people in this career and your mental and physical health will help you stat focused on what is important.