Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolution: Putting a Positive Spin on 2013

The first half of this school year has been noticeably busier than years prior.  New policies, philosophical changes, and plenty of pressure from various media outlets have consumed the minds and conversations of nearly all the teachers I know.  Teaching for five years, I feel as though there have been a few more challenges and changes that have captivated my time.  Change is difficult for most people, professionally and personally, and I am not exempt from this.  This calendar year, I hope to continue to embrace the dread "c" word spend each day of this year CELEBRATING the positives of my vocational choice.

I became a teacher because I love working with students, am passionate about my content area, and believe that young people need to learn to communicate with others to be successful in any career path they choose in the future. These are the thoughts that I need to focus my attention on, each and everyday.

Here's just a few reflections on what I am grateful for in 2013:
  • I am grateful for the students I coach.  Speech team is a 200 day a year (academic) sport.  While I know the kids are not running miles or learning offensive plays, we do practice two to three hours a day five days a week and compete for at least 12 hours every Saturday.  In totally, I spend about 30 hours a week just on speech (on top of about 60+ hours a week teaching, prepping, and grading).  With only 50+ days left in the season, today I am grateful for the opportunity to work with kids who truly love being a part of this team.  High school is a time for kids to find out who they are, where their skills lie, and what they are passionate about.  Today, we had an all-day practice with the regional team.    These new few weeks will be fairly intense practice schedule and competition, I am glad that Speech Team has become the outlet that allows these students to find their voice.

  •  I am grateful for the ability to be flexible. Another day of coaching today has reminded me that teaching and working with students requires me to adaptable and open to change in a moments notice.  Everyday, something unexpected happens.  A student may walk into class in need of advice, technology my not work, timing may be off, or any number of unforeseen events may arise. While this may be stressful at times, its also exciting.  Teaching is a dynamic career, and year to year my responsibilities/courses/content will never be the same. Sitting in my classroom on a Friday afternoon working with my Performance in the Round students makes me realize that I have a job that embraces creativity; I have a job that will always require me to stretch myself as personally and professionally. Flexibility is synonyms with adaptability. This is a characteristic that I am happy to embrace.

  • I am grateful for the opportunities that technology provides.  While technology is not perfect and does certain has negatives, I believe that the  changes in technology that are occurring right now have and will continue to provide amazing educational opportunities for our students.  Introducing Google Apps for Education into the school district I teach in has already increased the amount of contact I have with students outside of the classroom, challenged students to produce better/more creative/original presentation and writing projects, and has encouraged me to provide more PBL experiences and real world application assignments to my students.  Technology also allows me to network on Twitter, interact with other passionate and creative teachers, and keeps me up-to-date with current articles, practices, and fresh ideas.  Web 2.0 Tools, smart phones, Chrome books, social media, and more... technology is bringing positive changes and challenges to me this year.  I am excited to see what opportunities arise as a result  for my students and for me! 
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