Thursday, August 16, 2012

And Now...We Return To Your Regularly Scheduled School Year

If you haven't already heard this a hundred times this month, I'll say it again just for fun:  

Where did the summer go!?!

It's hard to believe it's already the middle of August. The summer always goes fast but this was one of the best summers for me. I actually feel like I got a lot accomplished. Most of that sense of accomplishment comes from having participated in Teachers Write. I am already missing it!

School starts for teachers in my district officially on August 20th but I have already been in to school a lot this month. It was very exciting to greet new teachers to our district this week at new teacher orientation. This school year I am not going to be teaching my deaf and hard of hearing students. I am thrilled to have accepted a position as a teacher leader in my district. As a teacher leader, I get to work with some amazing and talented individuals who make up the Teacher Effectiveness Initiatives department in my school district. I will be working primarily with beginning and experienced new teachers. This is an exciting time for me because I went through the mentor program, have mentored before, and have served on the Oversight committee for the mentor program. My heart has always been with the teacher mentor program but now my heart gets to actually live there.

That's my exciting news...but I have a different reason for sharing my story other than to simply share my story! As part of our teacher mentor program we share the Phases of New Teacher Growth from A Guide to Prepare Support Providers for Work with Beginning New Teachers developed by Ellen Moir. 

It's time to go and read the few pages on these phases - or at least go look at the visual. I'm serious, go now, click the link above. It'll just take a few minutes. I'll wait.

What do you think? Were you able to identify with some of the attitudes new teachers develop throughout the school year? I really think the phases apply to any teacher, not only new teachers. Beyond that, I think it's even possible to go through these phases over the course of a day, too. And I can see how it applied to my feelings while I have been working on my book through Teachers Write this summer.

Right now is the calm before the storm. The excitement and anticipation of a new school year. If you are at all like me, you've been to your favorite school supply store (mine are Staples and Target) and you've loaded up on shiny new pens whose caps haven't been lost yet and lovely smelling pencils just waiting to be sharpened to that pointy-ness that breaks the second you try to write with them. Your sticky note pads are all fresh and stacked neatly. Maybe your classroom library is all organized and ready to go. Or maybe you haven't gone in to set up your room yet but you have it all planned out in your head.
That state of my itinerant "classroom" library!
Even though I won't be working directly with students, I'm eager to impact students through working with new teachers and their mentors. It's exciting either way, right? Don't you just want to rub your hands together and get to work?

If you look back at the phases, it starts with this excitement and anticipation...and then the students actually come. All of a sudden everything goes whirlwind crazy and you feel like your head is going to explode just trying to think about all the things you have to do. That's survival mode all the way. After a couple of months in survival mode, you stop and realize how busy and intense you have been and you feel utterly overwhelmed. That is disillusionment.

The good thing is that winter break rolls around and you get a chance to rest and get ready for the rest of the school year. You feel rejuvenated and feel like you can do it. You have the energy to plug along until you start to think back and reflect over the school year and then to anticipate the following year after a long restful yet busy, relaxing yet exciting summer.

There is strength in knowing that others - and most others, too - are going through what we might be going through, whether you are a new teacher or a veteran teacher. I am excited to know that as I head into this different kind of school year for me, I am not alone in the ups and downs of what lies ahead. That with support and some so-important me time along the way, I'll get through it. What are you most looking forward to and anticipating as this new school year is beginning? I would love to hear your hopes and dreams for this school year and also any tips or advice you have for new or experienced teachers going into the new school year!

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