We are about to be knee deep in a school year (meaning, the end of the first quarter is slowly approaching) and this is about the time when things start to get settled. Students get accustomed to the routines and the way things are done in the classroom, and teachers get to know their students and understand their characters and individual strengths, weaknesses, and needs. It is also about the time when things may start getting out of hand if you have not established your expectations properly beginning of the year or if you have not been following through with them.
Late August, just as school was about to start, I was reflecting on my first two years of teaching and trying to figure out what things I should focus on this year. Obviously, you can only work toward a few goals at a time, so I settled for just three:
- To improve my teaching techniques (aka to become a better teacher).
- To improve my classroom management skills (aka to have a productive and positive environment in my classroom).
- To have a life during the school year (aka to have time to do things other than related to my job).
I must confess, I was not sure I could pull it off with these goals, and, honestly, it is too early to make any definite conclusions, but at least I share my current observations.
It is the first time in three years that I am not dreading Mondays, I am not constantly nervous or feeling like a failure.
A little retrospective here. For the last two years, I felt like I am not measuring up to the standards of teaching when others have no problem doing so. My classes seemed very boring and I pitied my students who had to suffer through them. I seemed to never be able to realize my ideas no matter how creative and engaging they looked in my head. So, in the end, I was upset and disappointed with myself. At the and of the day I always felt like I did not achieve anything and only waisted my students’ time, and any hope to improve something tomorrow faded away under the pile of things to do today. On top of everything I had the hardest time waking up and my energy level was close to a zero pretty much right after the school was over.
What an awful way to live, someone might think. Oh, and I would agree with this someone one hundred percent. And it was what made me rethink my entire approach to teaching and life.
I cannot express how grateful I am to God for putting that idea into my mind! Things have been very different this year, and I am very happy for both my students and myself.
Update. It WAS the third week of school when I just started writing this post but it is now sixth. Things are not without bumps here and there but things are going much smoother than they used to anyway. Not all classes are the same but I am pleased to see that many of my students have matured and start to put more effort into their studies.
As for my personal goals, I will probably cover my progress in this area in the next post.