The 2018-2019 School Year: Looking Ahead

The 2018-2019 school year is off and running! I have a soft spot for goal-setting, so every year I try to make a few in August. It's like New Year's Resolutions, but for teachers, I suppose. Here's what I plan to work on this year: 

1. Grade ten essays a day: I collect other assignments besides essays, but essays are ALWAYS, WITHOUT FAIL are the ones that pile up. If I grade at least ten a day I will be able to stay relatively on top of things. I think I am going to go as far as to add this to my grading calendar (see below).

2. Keep using a grading calendar: I've used this consistently for probably a year and a half now and it has really helped me stay organized and accountable with my grading. I'm not perfect and I screw it up ALL the time, but assigning myself grading tasks really helps. I am really motivated by lists and charts, so this is perfect for me. (For those who are teachers and are wondering, I just print out a blank monthly calendar and write in what I am going to grade on what day, taking into account busy weekends, my late TOK-class day, etc... I also keep a running list of what assignments I have, so that I can cross them off as well as I input them into the grade book).

3. Apply to be an IB-Scorer: GAH! I have had this on my to-do list for about a year now, and the biggest roadblock has been the fact that I haven't done a resume. I've done so many things since I've started teaching that I haven't kept good track of, so the task of trying to think back has been daunting. I don't even know if I want to become a long-term exam scorer, I just think knowing the process would help my teaching.

4. Have my students journal four days a week: I've done this here and there throughout the years, but I really, really want to hit it hard. My plan is to have the students silently write for 5-10 minutes most days and then finish up at home if necessary (each prompt will require one full written composition notebook page). The prompts will be a combination of personal responses and then also more in line with what we are reading, so that they are practicing personal narrative writing for college essays but also having time to reflect on our classroom content. 

5. Quit caring (as much) about what others think: I am a solid teacher who knows my  content area well and forms strong connections  with my students. I am proud of the growth my students show, demonstrated by the improvement in their writing, the depth of their discussion participation, and, ultimately, their IB test scores. Nonetheless, a part of my brain still thinks that there are certain people who doubt my capabilities. Like they think I'm an IB teacher because I fool people by dressing professionally or talking a good game or am friends with the right people or something. Hell, this might not even be true (anymore). I need to let it go. 

6. Revamp my outside reading accountability assignments: I am so incredibly tired of trying to cram quick little conversations with students into a few days at the end of the semester! Last semester I had the students choose a novel with a social issue, research the issue, write a short paper, and do a quick presentation. They weren't exactly thrilled, but I really enjoyed seeing them combine fiction and expository text in different ways. I don't think I'm ready for a new crop of juniors to do this, so for now I am requiring them to pick at least one book that is set internationally and do a paper that discusses the country in relation to the content. I'm also going to have them do some explications and a "Pop Question Presentation" at the end that will minimize the process. 

It's definitely going to be a busy year, and there are a lot of changes at our school site and district. We have a new-ish principal, a brand new superintendent, and our union is in the thick of messy negotiations. I really can't control any of that, though. What I can do is make sure I am teaching to the best of my capabilities, that I am having fun outside of school, that my students are learning, and that I don't go crazy. Fingers crossed. 

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! Your teaching goals are inspiring to this teacher and your post has such a positive feel to it - I wish you a great year back at doing what you seem to do very well - definitely you have the passion which is evident in the way you speak about your classes and particularly your students. I have two weeks left before I start back at my high school and you made me feel rather excited right now (I started planning last week - I teach theatre arts and yoga and run the book club). All the best balancing so much this year!