#DITLife: January 16, 2017

This post is part of the “Day in the Life” project by Tina Cardone.

Today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so we didn’t have school. I was in LA for a friend’s wedding, so I spent the day at Universal Studios. I didn’t really do any work all day, so I don’t have much to talk about. On to the reflection!

Reflection (Written on 1/23/17)

1) Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day.  Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming.  When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of?  What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?

I think I’ve mentioned this concern before, but we’re writing a new curriculum for Algebra 2 this year that is more common core aligned. Through the process, we’re constantly trying to find ways to cover as much material as possible while also doing justice to each topic. There have been many days where we have 8 slides planned, but I choose to focus so much on slide 2 that we don’t get past slide 5. On the one hand, I’m proud that I’m focusing on depth of knowledge for kids. Yes, we’re not covering every topic, but I want them to really understand what we are covering, and to try to look for interconnections in the different topics we’re learning. But maybe this will really hurt the kids later on, and we’ve made a horrible mistake. I don’t know.

2) Every person’s life is full of highs and lows.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are you looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?

It feels awkward to complain about lows when I was at Harry Potter world on Monday, but this year has been rough.The job is always a lot of work and stress, trying to make sure kids learn not just content but also how to be good people, and any teacher can detail those challenges. This year is different though, after the election. There’s an undercurrent of stress about the state of things that is just exhausting.

That said, I start teaching Calculus in IB Studies, and I’m excited to teach my Studies class again and to be teaching the topic. I feel like there’s some sort of level of accomplishment as  a math teacher to be teaching Calculus. So that’s pretty cool.

3) We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.

As a Grade Team Leader I’ve been working hard to visit other teachers during their lessons. As part of that I also write a follow-up “shout out” email to the team talking about all the great things I saw. I think it’s been really good, although I wish I had more time for it. Our teachers are doing awesome things and deserve recognition.

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year. What have you been doing to work toward your goal?  How do you feel you are doing?

Kind of the same as all year. I think I’m better about note-taking than I used to be but there’s still room for improvement. Specifically on giving them time to organize their notebooks. Kids are just SO SLOW. Lesson closing is going much better than in the past though. I’m becoming more comfortable making a few minutes to synthesize everything. I just need to talk less at other points.

5) What else happened this month that you would like to share?

Between winter break and Regents week is always kind of a flurry of activity to get end of semester stuff done, so I’ve mainly just been working my butt off. I’m excited to get to the new semester.