Friday, August 22, 2014

School Year 2014-2015

I have been trying to write a back-to-school post for days now. I am very excited for the year. A big part of that excitement stems from the 9th grade team. This year, I get to work with Sarah and Becky on the 9th grade team. Sarah and Becky are my best friends and working with them is natural. Nothing is forced, we have great conversations, and we work through things well. I am looking forward to seeing how the year unfolds. I have never taught ninth grade, so I am looking forward to this new adventure!

Back to the happenings this week. Our principal started her second year and rolled out a ton of new initiatives. I knew most of these changes were in the pipeline, so nothing was a total surprise. We are working on school climate, so our biggest changes involve improving school climate. SGA has been working on this by doing school beautification projects. We swapped out posters with random students for posters with our own students. We adopted the "We are..." motto (borrowed from Penn State) and printed it on the posters and on tee shirts. We already unveiled our homecoming theme- The Wizard of Oz- using the quote, "There's no place like home" as the unifying idea. Things are coming together slowly but surely.

I can't say this week hasn't been without stress. When a bunch of new initiatives are rolled out, it can be stressful. There are new things to remember, new ideas to adapt, and new rules to implement. The amount of data and documentation is unbelievable, and, honestly, is a bit intimidating. I will say, the new changes have forced me to rethink how I run my classroom and that has been refreshing. I want to cut back on the number of assignments and really focus on quality of work and grades, rather than quantity. I want students to have a really authentic experience that enables them to get their hands dirty. I want them to dig into, and play with, really rich texts. I am a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of all of this change, but I think that, ultimately, it will make me a better teacher. That is always my goal: to be a better teacher. 

So, here's to school year being a better new possibilities...and to big changes! Here we go!

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