Reflecting on the School Year

1.  What are some things you accomplished this year that you are proud of?

  • Science fair
  • 8th grade projects
  • Overall better rapport with students
  • 6th grade flood projects
  • Began thinking of ways for my students to impact the community

2.  What is something you tried in your classroom this year for the first time? How did it go?

Large scale 8th grade project –

Overall, it went quite well.  The students were able to research something which they were passionate about.  Learning happens willingly when personal interest is involved.  The organization of the project was poor.  I set a goal to make it happen without planning how it would happen.  But, we got it done!

3.  What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?

My “it could always be better” attitude.  I struggled at staying happy throughout the year.

4.  Which student in your class do you think showed the most improvement? Why do you think this student did so well?

V. L. had motivation issues at the beginning of the year and had to be forced to come in by her parents.  By the end of the year, she was willing to attempt the assignments, but she still struggled.  I think the support she received both at home and from me helped.

5.  What is something you would change about this year if you could?

My classroom management is not consistent.  I want to have boundaries set and spend more time with the students which disrupt the learning.

6.  What is one way that you grew professionally this year?

I focus more on organization and planning.  Huge differences stemmed from it, including lower stress!

7.  Who among your colleagues was the most helpful to you?

K. D-J.  She would always lend her ear to me and make suggestions.  She even met with me over winter break to discuss teaching.

8.  What has caused you the most stress this year?

The feeling that the students didn’t appreciate my lessons.  I must remember that as students, school is not normally their highest priority.

9.  When was a time this year when you felt joyful and/or inspired about the work that you do?

Many students would trust me to know the problems which are occurring to them.  Having that type of bond caused me to believe I was making a positive impact on these students.

10.  What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?

I hope they remember my attempts at acting compassionately and the struggles at living that way.

11.  In what ways were you helpful to your colleagues this year?

I was the recorder on our data team.  I also participated in staff development and shared my lessons with the other 8th grade science teacher.  I also greeted most everyone with a smile, which is always a plus!

12.  What was the most valuable thing you learned this year?

Start with “Why.”  Why should the students learn this?  What impact will it make?  Without a reason, there will be lack of effort.

13.  What was the biggest mistake you made this year? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future?

Letting up on my classroom management.  I must set a system up.  A good place to start would be brainstorming ways the students disrupted the learning in my classroom this year.

14.  What is something you did this year that went better than you thought it would?

The 8th grade poster project in the library went much better than expected.

15.  What part of the school day is your favorite? Why?

My 6th period class was my favorite class.  The students were kind, fun, and willing to work.  We had fun together.

16.  What were your biggest organizational challenges this year?

The 8th grade project.  I must begin putting things on a calendar to help plan out large projects.

17.  Who was your most challenging student? Why?

J. G. constantly pushed my buttons.  She would show up late from lunch, talk back, and copy other students’ work.  I think a lack of support all around has caused her to act very selfishly.

18.  In what ways did you change the lives of your students this year?

I was told my class had great hands-on activities.  Hooray!  Students were generally excited to be in my class and I was able to model how to be yourself.

19.  Pretend that you get to set your own salary for this past year based on the job that you did. How much do you feel that you earned (the number you come up with should be in no way based on your current salary – rather, come up with a number that truly reflects how you should be compensated for your work this year)?

45,000

20.  Knowing what you know now, would you still choose to be a teacher if you could go back in time and make the choice again? If the answer is “no,” is there a way for you to choose a different path now?

I think I am starting to like teaching more and more.  There are more positive memories than negative now.  I thnk I would like to stay a teacher.

 

Value Mind Map – Learning – April 20th – 26th

Learning is great!  Abbie chose for us to focus on our value of Learning this week.  Below is the mind map I created to help me keep track.Learning mind map

Looks like I need a better camera!  That picture is hard to read.  But here are the key ideas I took away each day this past week.

The endless library thought experiment caused me to realize the difficulty in unlimited choices.  Our lives are sometimes too open and we become stagnant instead of taking action.  Creating a sense of limited resources will improve our productivity.

I was meditating and realized that doing is required.  Specifically, I was thinking about how fast paced society is and how we rarely take time to appreciate it.  I had an urge to get up and go tell people to slow down.  However, this would cause me to become fast paced and not act how I believe we should live, which in this case was slowing down and appreciating what I did have.

We should all take a vow to do the important tasks first thing in the morning.  If we put them off, then they suddenly become something to do later.

We must play within our values.  I sprayed some water in my students’ face when they wouldn’t be quiet today.  I did it with a smile on my face.  Guess what happened?  Students began doing it to one another.  I wouldn’t like that either.  My “play” was disrespectful.  We must keep our values in mind for all our actions.

I often become lethargic when thinking about work.  I want to do anything but it.  I realized I am missing having a purpose in my educating students.  Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  In anything we do, I think it is best we have some sort of purpose to fuel us.

Oddly, I often find myself ruminating over my work.  This is draining.  I realized I need downtime to help keep myself energized for my important, yet challenging, tasks.

Lastly, I learned about physical computer manipulations.  I watched a TED talk about a using physical objects to work with computers.  For example, he showed how we could have 3 different objects representing Fire, Ambulance, and Police units and physically place them on a map.  Also, there is a way to learn about protein structures by having the objects respond when moved (i.e. feeling the way proteins are folded).

Overall, it was a great week.  And I am glad I had this moment to reflect upon my learning again.

From Stagnant to Growth – Set Some Goals

We must grow!  Feeling our bodies becoming healthier.  Feeling our minds expanding.  Feeling like we are beating away our fears.  These feelings are what I consider growth.

What happens when we do not get this feeling?  Well, I can tell you how I feel.  Stagnant.  Lost.  Severe confusion.  Then, I fail to act because I have limited fuel to power me.  Surprisingly, the feeling of being lost is extremely draining.

How can we overcome this feeling?  We must set a new goal we know we can achieve.  If you are severely drained, then the goal might have to be extremely easy.  For example, going for a walk is a good goal.  The walk allows the environment to change and with new stimuli come new thoughts and feelings.  Or, writing down the fact you are lost and that you will begin brainstorming ways to get going again is an easy step.  Make your goal to choose a goal.  A last option might be to make your goal reviewing your goals.  Seek the motivation.

The one aspect of goal achieving I largely fail to do is to measure my progress.  If you do not measure, then you will not know if you are growing.  I am trying to think of ways to measure my goals for students.  I am failing in this aspect.

But, now I know my next step!

See the Good, Feel Important

Teaching is a lonely profession.  This is an odd phrase because teachers are with students all day.  But, people can feel lonely even in a crowd.  The feeling of loneliness comes from feeling a lack of importance in life.  How can teachers be lacking a feeling of importance?  We shape the minds of the young and this is a very important undertaking.  However, the day-to-day battles are intense.  The students can be vicious.

Constant negative feedback is tough to swallow.  I had students not trying after discussing biking, which I thought would be applicable to their lives.  I had a student tell me she doesn’t do work in my class because it is boring.  Today we were building an environment out of Legos and other pieces to understand watersheds and pollution.  I had a student write “Mr. Hingstrum is a bitch” on the desk after I took her book away because she wasn’t doing her assignment.  These constant negative actions cause me to feel unimportant, and thus, lonely.

Changing our mindset in order to see the good we did is hard in these situations.  I had excellent visuals for gears for the students to see.  I tried to make the problem applicable to their life.  I gathered the resources for the students to be able to build the environment.  I did have some students interested and trying.  I was important to some!

We all must note when we feel stress or anger begin to rise. More importantly, we must use it as a trigger to begin looking for the good around us.  This will help steer us toward a positive mood, which in turn will help the environment around us.

What are some good things you did today?

Learning Toward Happiness

How do we learn things?  What causes us to remember events?  Why are these questions not mandated in the public school’s curriculum?

There are two primary types of events we remember: 1. A cause of happiness and 2. A cause of severe suffering.  Our brains have evolved in order to repeat happiness.  To see this, be mindful of your habits.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  Why are you drinking one more beer?  Why are you eating ice cream?  Why are you listening to music on your way home from work?  I may be wrong, but the answer to all of these is for enjoyment.  We’ve learned to act in a certain way in order to feel happiness.  And according to The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business  by Charles Duhigg, the easiest way to change a habit, in other words learn, is to maintain the same reward but change the act.

I understand if you think this is difficult.  I love ice cream and it makes me happy.  In order to maintain that happiness, I decided to switch to portion-controlled yogurt AND add the thought of the benefit to my health.  These two things results in a happiness feeling.  Though it is a struggle from time to time.

On the other hand, we have memories full of moments of intense suffering.  For me, I remember watching my mom convulse before she died.  The feeling of guilt washed over me as I realized I hid from her the months prior.  And I remember the time I smashed a milk carton and received 5 minutes on the wall during recess.  Plus, the breakups of my life.  Oh, the tragedies!

We remember tragedies in order to avoid the suffering which follows.  Again, we want happiness.  And remembering the causes of great pain helps steer us on a, hopefully, happier path if we are ever to come across a similar situation.

Powerful emotions are connected to our learning.  Yes, repetition can help us learn skills, but if they do not have a strong emotional attachment, then those skills will soon be, at least partly, forgotten.  We learn toward happiness and away from suffering.

What have you learned today?