Just hours stand in between me and the beginning of my second year of teaching. Second! It’s incredible that I’m already here; it feels like just yesterday I was student teaching in this room, and now it’s entirely my own (pictures tomorrow!).
I’m nervous about this year. Not so much for the students, as I have already taught 95% of them. Not so much for the new team, as I have worked with them previously. Our schedules were thrown in the proverbial blender this summer, and teachers have been relocated to all corners of the world. Some teachers moved while others assumed new roles in the same building. Consistency is a lost concept as we move forward and try to spread the assets we have so infinitely thin across the school. Classes are mixed with a variety of special needs including but not limited to IEPs, 504s, and ELLS. Teachers are serving as rotating aids rather than stable co-teachers. From my novice stand point, it all seems to be a hot mess.
However, where there is a will, there is a way. Last year was not perfect, certainly not for me, but we made it work. From a curriculum standpoint, I felt unprepared, behind, and out of place focusing on reading instead of writing, and yet, with the help of my special education teachers and working in conjunction with the language arts teacher, our proficiency percentage on the ELA section of the state test increased from 37.5% (2012-2013) to 55.2% (2013-2014). We made lemonade out of lemons, and our hard work and persistence paid off.
Taking that mentality and putting it toward the beginning of this year, I feel that a lot of our upcoming success (because, believe you me, there will be success) will be self-driven. Our teachers will have to push through a lot of muck to get to the promised land, and it will certainly take a lot of personal strength and determination to succeed. We can do it. We’ve done it before, and we will certainly do it again.
As one year is now officially in the books and the next is hours from beginning, I wish all of you teachers out there the most incredible year full of exciting, shocking, “blog-worthy” moments that make you proud of your students and proud of the work that you do. Keep calm, and teach on.