Monday, July 25, 2011

Back at it again

Hi ho, hi ho...it's back to work I go!

Today I started back to work after a wonderful 7 week break and can officially call myself a second year teacher! Wahoooo! Year one was challenging, stretching, amazing, and a great experience. I learned on a steep learning curve and threw together some last minute lesson plans. It is amazing how quickly time flies (after all, the summer certainly did), and it's unbelievable that I'm preparing my classroom for a second year of teaching.

I'm very excited to welcome this year's geniuses into my classroom. I'm ready to open minds and help students look at their world in an inquisitive way. I love this quote from Albert Einstein, "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."As a history teacher, I've been asked how I teach history and how I decide what to cover. Well - the state of Arizona tells me what to cover, but within that, I actually have a lot of freedom. I've determined that I'm more concerned with whether students understand the concepts behind an event than whether they memorize every minute detail of that event. Of course, there are certain big dates I think they should know, but overall, I'm more concerned with whether they understand what the Bill of Rights does for them than whether they know the exact date Bill of Rights was ratified (December 15, 1791 in case you were wondering, a while after the Constitution was written in 1787).

I've seen incredible growth in myself as a teacher over the last year. I find myself looking for teaching moments everywhere I go and in whatever book I'm reading. Truthie Ruthie: I even took my World History book on vacation with us last weekend. But, I don't ever want to get complacent. I want to continue to challenge myself and continue to refine my teaching. I would love for my last year teaching to notably be my best.

Being the list maker and goal setter I am, I've been working on some goals for this year. Some of these won't mean anything to you, but I figured this was a good place to document them.
  1. Work on classroom management. Refine my policies and procedures, and stick to them!
  2. Increase the number of projects I have my students do. This one is bit more tough because I only have my classes for a semester and there is so much material to cover. But, I know they will remember it much better if we do a project!
  3. Work on differentiation within my classes.
  4. Don't be afraid to skip sections in the book - with only a limited amount of time, I need to realize it's ok to skip sections that don't pertain to the standards or offer pertinent knowledge.
Is anyone else making career goals for themselves? Or have advice on any of my goals? I'd love to hear them!

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