For the majority of my life I have been a student. Now, I am a teacher. I live and breathe by the school-year calender. In all honesty, I do not think in calendar years... I think in school years. I can tell you what grade I was in when things happened, but the year? Give me a second to figure out what grade I was in and then I can tell you the year. I do not have New Year's resolutions in January like the rest of the world. I have them in August.
As with most New Year's Resolutions, my school-years resolutions usually fade away. The ambitious goals I had are gone. The goals of how to improve my life, my health, and my education are gone. They are replaced by day to day routines, the monotony of every day life.
My teaching goals are a lot like my school year resolutions. The excitement and enthusiasm I had is now gone. It has been replaced by a daily routine--a cycle of going to school, bringing work home from school to do, eating and sleeping. My routine for the past 9 weeks was exhausting. It was not at all sustainable. This routine caused me to question myself and my career more than a few times.
Towards the end of my first nine weeks I made a bargain with myself. I will give teaching 4 years of my life, putting everything I can into it. It took my 4 years to become a teacher and I should give it at least that much time before leaving the field. After 4 years I will re-assess. My roommates and I joke that we need to find careers that you can leave work behind at 5 o'clock and not worry about it again until 9am the next morning. We joke because we know that we are not the type of people who would be happy in a career that we could just "turn off" when the work day is over. We could make teaching that kind of career, but we would not be the best teachers. We care too much about our students. We hate the work, but love it at the same time. The reality is I do not know what else I would do.
So if I am not ready to give it up, I have to get better. I have to find more of a balance in my life. I have to find it now, not later. The great thing about school year resolutions is that the school year is broken into pieces. My life used to be measured in quarters, not it is measured in 9 week cycles. My goals for the next nine weeks are...
- Find a balance in my life.
- Regain my passion for teaching. I want to enjoy spending time with my students. I want to have funny stories to tell. I want to enjoy waking up and going to school again.
- Help my students grow at least 2 reading levels. So many of my students did not show growth in the first 9 weeks. This is unacceptable. We all need to improve.
I can't say that tomorrow will bring the enthusiasm that comes with the first day of school, but I am using it as a fresh start. I need a fresh start. I can't wait until next August rolls around. Late-October will have to do. I have had a week to prepare for tomorrow and even though there are plenty of things I would like to have accomplished over fall break, I am as ready as I will ever be. Bring it on 2nd 9 weeks. Bring it on.