This post is the latest, and I believe it to be my last, one in my series wrapping up my experiences this school year.
The previous posts have been:
Today’s post will briefly share four mistakes I made this year:
1.Taking on too many students and too many different classes. I’ve chosen to take on big loads every year – entirely on my own initiative with no administrator pressure. The stress of the pandemic, and my increasing age, made it clear to me that it was just too much this year – and in future years. The school is making changes next year, and I will have a much more reasonable schedule that should dramatically increase the odds that I’ll be staying around for another five years or so.
2. Getting stuck in a rut of doing the same types of lessons in my ELL social studies classes. Routines offer many learning advantages, but you can have too much of a good thing. Though students clearly liked the classes, and I was able to “mix it up” a bit in the final two months of the school year, I was in “survival” mode for much of the year and didn’t always apply what I know about the importance of “novelty” in the classroom. I will make this more of a priority next year, and it should be a lot easier with fewer students and fewer different classes.
3. Not maximizing the use of peer tutors in my ELL classrooms. Don’t get me wrong – as I’ve made clear in several prior posts in this series, having seven-to-twelve peer tutors made an enormous difference with students, and contributed immensely to accelerating learning. I just hadn’t thought their use completely through when we began, and did things “on the fly.” As I’ve said, though, now that I have a year under my belt, I’ve got some clear plans now how to do better from the beginning.
4. Not being as helpful as I could have been with my student teacher in engaging with some students facing challenges. I’m not trying to take anything away from the very good job my student teacher did this year. We just have two-or-three students who have been experiencing particular challenges that most, if not all, student teachers would not be prepared to handle very effectively. I was not able to help as much as I should have because of feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate. Again, this should not happen again next year with a more reasonable class load.
I feel like I did well this year, and none of these mistakes were really that bad. Next year’s working conditions should be substantially improved for me, which means the primary reasons I made these mistakes won’t be there.
I’m expecting the 2022-23 school year to be a great one!