When was the last time you spoke with a new teacher? I love their exuberance, passion, and courage! Yesterday, I wrote about seven positive changes I have seen in my seven years of experience. Today, I thought I would focus on seven traits that I hope to keep in the next seven years.
- I had a desire to make education the best for every student. I never looked at my class as the "..." grade. I looked at Rachel, Nathan, and Kayley. I planned to improve learning for each of my students. I planned to meet each of their gifts. While I am better at categorizing skills and gifts, I hope that I always teach to the kiddo in my classroom, not the standard or the assessment.
- I had a lot of energy. Late nights, early mornings, long weekends, and busy breaks - and I loved it. My life is more balanced these days, but I want to enter the classroom each day feeling ready to impart wisdom and grow with them. It is a fabulous feeling to wear your superhero cape.
- I had enthusiasm that can only come from a new teacher. When you are new, you are full of ideas, dreams, and plans. I spent one hour with a new teacher this summer, and I felt more energized than a week full of professional development could offer. I hope that I never stop adding new ideas to my classroom.
- I loved to play with my kids. We played tag, kickball, and board games. One of my more academic munchkins preferred to play sports with me on the field (to shield her from the ball). These experiences build respect and relationships that strengthen the learning experience in the classroom.
- I identified with my students. I still remembered what it was like to be ten. I kept up with the popular kids' shows and hobbies. My current principal says that she wants to retire while she still likes kids. If I can't understand what it feels like to be a 10-year-old, how can I teach them?
- I taught like my hair was on fire. Bottle rockets, Christmas cookie elves, travels to foreign countries, and building my library so every kid developed a love of reading were a part of my early classroom. I am not sure that I met the aspirations of Rafe Esquith, but my classroom was in motion. I hope my fuse stays lit.
- My faith grew in leaps and bounds. A career in church work is unique. Uniquely challenging and uniquely blessed. I watch student find comfort in their Savior that will get them through hard times on this earth and bless them for eternity. My faith is also a part of my job - watched before the public eye, developed in the struggles, and always there. It has been cultivated, watered, and fed, and I am confident that God's endless blessings will never cease.