In just 19 short days, my first year as a teacher will come to an end, and what a whirlwind it has been! The past few weeks I've finally felt like I've sort of had my head on straight. My mind is till going a million miles per hour in about a billion different directions, but it's an improvement. I can see the finish line, not that I want this year to end. Perhaps the most heartbreaking moment I've had recently comes from my 6th graders. It's been such a pleasure seeing them grow up from timid little elementary school students to confident preteens. Sure, there have been some moments, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Anyway, after they asked if I would be teaching 7th grade next year (I teach mostly 7th grade this year), I told them that while nothing's set in stone, it looks like I won't be teaching 7th grade. That set off a tidal wave of "No!"s and "Seriously!?"s, and it broke my heart to know that my 6th graders so desperately wanted to have me again next year. I'll miss them, but I'll see them around.
Anyway, I digress. I've never been one to sit still. Even now, I have about five webpages open, my PowerPoint for tomorrow, and I'm flipping through several television channels (at least I turned off YouTube). In order to fill up that humongous void that is summer vacation, I have decided to fill it to the brink with all sorts of classes, conferences and workshops. I am currently registered for a fabulous class at Dominican University of California called Instructional Design where I basically get to log all the hours I put in over the summer as I prepare to completely overhaul my 6th grade lessons and implement interactive notebooks on a full-time basis (I'm using them in my 7th grade classes this last quarter as a trial run). I'm also signed up for an online class called ESOL in the Mainstream, where I hope to get more ideas to help support my numerous ELL students in the classroom to make them academically successful. I'm wait listed for a third class through MCPS. On top of all of that, I signed up for a two day College and Career Readiness conference. I'm very excited about this conference, it looks like it has a lot of wonderful resources connected to Common Core. Finally, I applied to an awesome sounding workshop at the Newseum about the First Amendment and social movements. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I'm hopeful.
Okay, by now you're probably saying that enough is enough. Yeah, to any logical person that would be enough, but I'm not slowing down yet. I'm currently in the process of applying to graduate school. I'm honestly worried about getting in, but people keep assuring me that I'll be fine. I'm just going to borrow everyone else's optimism and keep you posted. If I do get in, I'll start in the fall, so I'll be teaching during the day and doing my classes online in the evening. It'll take some time management, but I'm not worried.
Finally, I'm seriously considering a one credit class on collaborative learning in the classroom. Structured student discourse (a fancy way of saying having students work together) is HUGE not only in Common Core but is also a part of my school's improvement plan. I figure a one credit course will give me a little bit of a foundation to work with as I try to implement more structured student discourse in my classroom next year.