January is nice but it’s not when we teachers begin our year. Ours begins in August or, for a few, September. Now is to time to think about what Stephen Covey tells us: Begin with the end in mind whether we are thinking about our business or our personal lives. We have had this raging good post stream about what we will do the first day, the first week of school, but to what end? What will those first days lead to in June? And how will they do that?
Whether personal or professional, what do you want to be able to say in June and what must you do to be able to say or accomplish that?
In lots of ways, this year feels like it will be my first year teaching all over again. So many moving pieces, so many commitments. Next year will be my third (or fourth, depending on how you count) in teaching. I’ve yet to have the same preps for two years in a row (1st yr- 5th American history and 3rd grade, 2nd yr-6th grade Language Arts, 3rd yr-6th grade Language Arts and History) and next year won’t be any different. I’m piloting a blended learning (online and classroom) 12th grade US History course in addition to teaching the courses I taught last year. During my first year of teaching, I also worked 25 hours/week as a youth minister. It was a very busy year, but also an incredibly rich one. While I know some people think that kind of schedule is nuts and I do have to be careful about packing things too tightly, there’s something about a lot of work that reduces my anxiety because there’s not much time to sit around and let thoughts run wild. By June, I’d to have the sense of accomplishment of taking on lots of good work and doing it well.
In the first several years at my current school, I’ve kind of flown under the radar, doing lots of teaching and some presenting, but not really getting involved in institutional work (committee, extracurriculars, etc). I think I’ve not really sought out those responsibilities because so often I find them an energy suck. I don’t think that that is going to become an area of passion for me anytime soon, but I would like to find some of that kind of work that would contribute to the community while also being energy-giving for me by June. (There are a couple things in the hopper toward this end.)
On the personal side, I live in an area that seems to “turn over” about once every three years as people who have come to the area for graduate school move on for further study or new jobs. While I love the energy of college towns, it requires “rebuilding” a group of friends every so often. By the end of the year, I’d like to have strengthened ties with some of those who are still here and found ways to connect with new people.