Teachers spend a portion of their summer breaks thinking about and preparing for the next school year. Most of us are contracted for 185 school days, which includes usually at least two, but sometimes up to five days at the beginning of the school year as "prep days". But with staff meetings, catching up with friends, and many other to-dos, there is no way you can be ready for a whole year in just a few days. We have to spend our "summers off" planning, revising, and deciding what went well last year and what we want to do different next year.
For others, including myself, we get the opportunity to participate in professional development to help make our teaching better. This summer, I was chosen for a special opportunity to reboot my teaching. Google's dictionary feature gives the following definition for the verb reboot, "restart or revive (a process or sequence, especially a series of films or television programs); give fresh impetus to." Our educational service unit sponsors a program allowing teachers to stop and evaluate their teaching, set some goals, and freshen up their thinking based on Shelly Sanchez-Terrell's #30GoalsEdu challenge.
We spent our first two days last Monday and Tuesday evaluating our teaching careers and setting goals to be accomplished over the next several months of the summer and first part of the school year. I am excited to push myself to try new ideas and push my teaching to a better level. I picked three major themes I wanted to accomplish and several of Sanchez-Terrell's goals fit within those themes.
1. Passion Blogs - This is a blogging project I did last year with my seniors. I am still in love with the idea of the blogging project, but to be honest it fell on its face. I did not design it well enough to have a strong educational outcome in the end with a clear goal of what students were supposed to accomplish. This summer I am going to revisit an idea and try to make this lesson better. This theme will also incorporate goals to include student interests in the classroom and add some digital citizenship lessons to the mix.
2. Boost Student Achievement - Like many schools, especially small schools, sports are very important to our students and our culture. Sometimes I think student academic performance gets put on the back burner and I want to bring that to the forefront. As a young teacher, both in age and experience, I also find it hard to connect with parents about their child's education. This is my stretch goal this year to be more active with parent communication and boosting up my students' classroom performance. I plan to communicate with parents through a parent letter, newsletter updates, Twitter updates, and post-cards home with student highlights, just to name a few ideas.
3. Increase My Web Presence - I have profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and About.me. I have blogs on Weebly, Blogger, and Wordpress. I am on the web, but my active presence on the web is sporadic at best. My twitter feed can jump several hundred tweets in just a few days at a professional development conference, but it might take the next 3 months to get another 25 tweets. I want to be more active. I plan to rework all of my online profiles, update my blogs more, and spend at least 5 minutes on Twitter a day building my PLN and finding resources to make me a better teacher.
These are my goals at this point. You can take a look at this Google Doc to get a better idea of some of my plans for how to reach my goals. I will be updating this page of my website and the rest of the website (have to increase my web presence!) over the next several months, tracking my progress and working toward being a better educator.