Did You Savor This Past School Year?

Last July I wrote the blog post AFTER NEXT YEAR – WHERE WILL YOU BE? about the uncertain future that many teachers face in today’s world.

The reality is that Recovery Act money is running out, the economy still sucks and budgets are tight, there are attacks on the teacher pension plans in many states that are forcing veteran teachers out of the classroom before they are ready to leave, the increasingly negative attacks on teaching as a profession by politicians/corporations or media, the ever-present specter of “teacher burn-out” and the “I just don’t want to put up with this anymore” all made me ask last year:

Will we have our current teaching job or will we be looking a new position somewhere else or will we even be in education after next year (meaning the 2011-2012 academic year)?

Which led me to also ask:

If next year  might be your last year at your school (for whatever the reason i.e. lay-off, retirement, change of career, or other) what do I think we should do (this was referring to the 2010-2011 school year)?

Below are positive ideas that we should/could have done during this last year to have made it a better year for everyone:

  1. Did you enjoy the time you are in your classroom?
  2. Were you idealistic about the difference you can make in your school?
  3. Did you smile more – it makes a difference in your attitude and the attitude of the people around you?
  4. Were you able to not sweat the small stuff – if you look at some behaviors (from adults or students) from a different perspective (a year from now), they might not seem as serious or as obnoxious?
  5. Did you enjoy the camaraderie of fellow staff members (teachers and support staff)?
  6. Did you enjoy the “aha” moments from your students, fellow staff and even an admin or two?
  7. Did you try to make peace with old enemies?
  8. Did you make new friends?
  9. Did you try to open the door more to communicate positively, not just negatively with student’s parents?
  10. Did you mentor a fellow teacher (either a vet who is not tech savvy or a less experienced one)?
  11. Did you mentor a student and notice the difference it made?
  12. Did you look at things from the student’s point of view?
  13. Did you try to look at things from other teacher’s perspectives?
  14. Did you try to look at things from an administrator’s point of view?
  15. Did you look at things from a parent’s point of view and take into account what they are facing
  16. Did you integrate technology into your classroom, not just incorporate it?
  17. Did you really talk with your custodians – they are people too?
  18. Were you able to be positive most of the time?
  19. Did you remember that teaching is your job, not who you are and have a personal life
  20. Did you have fun

As an educator:

  • which of the things above did you accomplish?
  • which did you neglect and wish you had done?
  • which did you not think very important?
  • are there any that you did not do on the above list – that you wish you had done this past year?
If this was your last year at your present education position what would you have done differently, if you had known it was going to be your last year in your present position.

Before you write about or reflect on this list please listen to “If Today Was Your Last day by Nickelback.  It will make you think a little differently about this list and it just seems to set the right mood for reflecting on those questions.

Did You Savor This Past School Year?

Next week after my last day, I will publish my answers to those questions.

Most of you who read this blog, have found out that I have submitted my resignation back on June 1st and will not be returning to the classroom next year.