My Hopes as an Educator

As I exit the classroom, I am coming to terms with the reality that my impact on students will be in another forum as Assistant Principal.  A secondary impact on students as the Guy-Who-Schedules-The-School isn't as glamorous as creating an awesome learning expedition that directly impacts students and their learning...but just as important?  Yes, I think so.

I dusted out my journal from my first year of teaching and revisited some of my journal entries and reflections.  Much of what I reread from those years ago still applies to my hopes as an educator of middle schoolers, though not as a classroom teacher:

1st Year Teacher Reflection Administrator Hope
"Overwhelmed and excited.  These are the two words that describe how I am feeling." (September) I hope to feel mostly excited (though I'm sure I will feel overwhelmed at some point!) throughout the entire year.
"I didn't realize how much I would be looking back and thinking about what I had taught and how I had taught it." (October) I hope to always be willing to hit the drawing board again and again.  Continuous improvement is sometimes about reflecting on successes and failures.
"I probably should have different ways of delivering instruction, and in chunks.  Kids need a way to reflect and process the information." (November) I hope to be honest and reflective about my leadership, and continuously work to improve it.
"I think that we, as a cluster or grade, miss a lot of potential for interdisciplinary units." (December) I hope to systemically encourage staff to collaborate, go beyond their comfort zone, and create meaningful learning experiences for students.
"I still feel passion for teacher (and know I always will), but feel like I am getting into a slump with my creativity." (January) I hope to be balanced in my professional and personal life, and recharge my batteries; I've got to take care of myself to be there for others.
"I wanted to do something different than my colleagues, but I wondered: how much would I be rocking the boat?  Would it be acceptable to create these other options?" (February) I hope to be a boat rocker.  I hope to be a boat rocker that is respectful, inquisitive, and listens.  But still rocks the boat.
"My colleague and I both contributed ideas to this exciting lesson plan, but all our students benefited from the expertise of two brains.  I wonder where and how this can happen again?" (March) I hope to encourage collaboration and develop structured PLCs that improve student learning!
"If students are motivated through something they are god at as well as the desire for more knowledge, their overall engagement and comprehension will increase." (April) I hope to encourage good behavior and relationships through my interaction with students.  I hope my interpersonal connection with students will increase their learning.
"It is a great way for students to begin the process of researching, writing, notating, paraphrasing, and note-taking." (May) I hope to encourage teachers to focus on academic skills, 21st century skills, and content knowledge.  Middle school must be a blend if our students are to be successful in their next setting.
"This week I encountered my first instance of plagiarism.  At first the girl denied it, then she denied she meant to do it.  I feel like the most important consequence should be what she learns from the mistake." (June) I hope to always remember that kids are kids.  Perhaps the most important impact I can have on their lives as an AP is to have them reflect and change their behavior and attitude for the better.

So what have I learned from this reflective exercise?  I have learned that I am still an educator, that my role has shifted but the genesis for why I am a teacher, for why I am involved with educating our youth, and why I want to make the difference in the lives of others is still the same...I just needed to revisit how it all began for a little reminder.


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