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Changes Over The Past Two Years:


My Big Goal:

  • Connect better with families and students
    • I've always been an advocate for and example of personal responsibility to my students. This creates high expectations and a no-excuses environment. However:
      • It has frustrated and potentially alienated some students
      • I had an adminstrator note that I had a higher student drop/leave rate than other teachers
    • So, I made a few changes
      • I trained myself to begin meetings with positive notes, and connecting with the students and families about their personal lives and mine; not just about academics. I also make a point of being able to talk about several things the student is doing well.
      • Rather than 'getting down' on the student for lack of progress, I tried to be more subtle, and let the data speak for itself. Student's know what they are/aren't doing, I just need to show the results, and offer help/suggestions


My next focus:

  • Differentiating Instruction
    • One of my foci during this process has been differentiating instruction. I've made improvements, but can still do better
      • Students have not just different learning styles, but skills, views, backgrounds, personalities and countless other factors that make them unique as people and as students
      • My goal is to continue to develop a variety of instructional methods that include all learning styles, and give all students an opportunity to shine / display their strengths


Staying Connected / In the Know:

  • As a science nerd and credentialed Biology teacher, I subscribe to scientific journals and keep up to date on NGSS.
  • I attend local conferences, and all training/development events offered by my school
  • I'm not averse to asking other educators for their help and input, and am open to changing/improving myself


Keeping my Energy Up:

  • Teaching requires a large skillset, and burnout is a real risk
    • Having fun, and teaching in a way that is interesting to me is my key to continued enjoyment in the classroom
    • Setting a clear distinction between work life and the rest of my life allows me to compartmentalize work, giving me needed space and a change to recharge


Advice for new Teachers:

  • Strap in because you're in for a ride
  • Don't take yourself too seriously
  • Aim high, but be gracious with yourself. At the end of the day, if no one died/got maimed, it's a win :)


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