I’m seeing a fair number of posts in social media where people are laying out very ambitious plans for 2023.
More power to ’em!
I, on the other hand, will be happy to survive and maintain what I’ve been doing professionally.
I feel good (and, based on anonymous class evaluations, so do students) about my teaching this school year, but it’s been hard.
Between COVID challenges (student and teacher absences, lack of subs, increased student mental health needs, managing accelerated learning through peer tutors) and fairly large class sizes, I’ve been coming home pretty exhausted each night (I also just turned 63 and, though I’m in good physical shape, it’s a safe bet that my age also contributes to my fatigue).
Fortunately, in most ways I teach in an ideal situation (great students, great school administrators, classes I want to teach), so that offers a bit of a counter-balance to that physical fatigue, but I definitely still welcome weekends and school breaks.
For my classes, I plan on pretty much continuing what I’ve been doing in my Intermediate ELL U.S. History class and my IB Theory of Knowledge courses.
I do, however, want to make some changes in my ELL Newcomer class. During this first half of the school year, I was able to move up a fair number of students to an Intermediate class – which is now full. Now, I have to make new major differentiation moves:
One, to provide additional support for those who aren’t progressing rapidly in their English acquisition and, two, create a section in the same class for Intermediates who will be ready for more advanced work but can’t be moved because of class size issues. Of course, I’ll have to make these changes at the same time we are constantly getting new Newcomer students enrolling at our school.
None of those challenges are new to any ELL teacher anywhere. I’m just fortunate that my other classes are going smoothly so I can focus on these.
I’ve got some ideas I’ll be trying out, and will share the hits and misses in future blog posts here.
Apart from all that actual teaching, I do have a new book coming out in March, which you can pre-order: The Student Motivation Handbook: Fifty Ways to Boost an Intrinsic Desire to Learn. It’s the fourth book in my series on creating classroom conditions to support student intrinsic motivation.
And Katie Hull and I have begun work on the second edition of The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox: Hundreds of Practical Ideas to Support Your Students. To make it more manageable, that revision will be a two-year process, unlike the ridiculously short time we gave ourselves to complete the second edition of The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching All Levels, which came out several months ago.
I’ll also continue to share daily posts here, twice-a-week teacher advice columns at Education Week, and share occasional resources at my parent engagement blog. Though I have reduced the number of podcasts I do, I’ll still probably do another ten or so this year.
Good luck to us all!