The year in retrospect

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This academic year has been one of constant learning. I did not imagine that I would be in a place where I would be pushed so far. Whether it was between frustration with rambunctious students, hesitance with how to handle a delicate situation, or tears from feeling overwhelmed, it was a very trying year. Although, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I feel that while I have grown quite a bit from being nervous in front of a hormonal burgeoning teenagers to feeling as if though they are my kiddos. The connections I've made with them has made a deep impact on me and I will hold the memories of my time with my cooperating teacher Elyse and with the students quite dearly. 

Throughout my journey I did not always feel as if though personal connection was a very valuable "superpower." With time I have seen how the kids have grown to become very close to me and how they have treasured my genuine connection with them. The kiddos were able to be vulnerable with me and ask for help while also sharing their bright spots of their day or a struggle. Taking the time to have a relationship with students and talk about something that makes them anxious or laughing at a cheesy joke they played on me, I value it all. However, I do also believe in boundaries with my students. I aspire to be friendly with the kids while maintaining a relationship that has respect for me as an authority in the class. I believe I have struck that delicate balance and that my students appreciate having a figure in the classroom who can provide guidance and maintain order (along with my CT of course). I believe that I am a warm demander for my students and that I will carry that with me as I move forward in schools.

Another "superpower" I believe I possess is that I can create lessons that are engaging with students. I know that my lessons reach students and that my biggest strength is teaching writing. I know that with my background of professional writing and my hobby of performative creative storytelling, I can help my students grow as writers. One of my favorite lessons was when I told a true humorous story from when I was my kiddos age. Then the students had to pair up and verbally tell their own funny story multiple times to peers while "editing" in the moment each time. They then used a graphic organizer to physically write their stories out and that was when I saw how my quietest students wrote so much that their hands cramped. Those are the lessons  I love to give. Engaging while being student-centered and creative. Even while filming my student's testimonials, I saw how my lessons have made a tangible difference in their education. That is something I treasure and that I pride myself on. 

One of the areas I feel that I could grow in is my preparation. In my personal life I am very spontaneous however I have learned that I must establish the good habits of being done with plans considerably ahead of time. Through the guidance of my CT and supervising teacher, they have shown me how completing my planning ahead of time allows me the time to meditate on and make improvements to make my lessons even better. Another area I can grow in is to have the foresight to anticipate classroom behaviors and where my lessons can have issues. I think that with time in the advancement of my career I will be able to improve this area. Finally, another aspect I would like to improve in is having a proportionate amount of "sizzle" to the "steak" of my lesson (Thanks, Michelle). While I can dream up having engaging and exciting lessons, I need to also make sure that the content is at the forefront of my objectives.