Professional development and middle school community building are in full swing. I'm especially hopeful to learn some specific and practical ideas as I begin reading Dweck's Growth MIndset, the book that South Campus teachers have already read. I've found that grades really matter to our students-I'm glad & I get it. Not completely surprisingly though, sometimes the grades seem more important than the learning. I'm thankful for so many things about my childhood schooling- one is being taught that growth is the goal and not perfection-(which you can't help but learn when there are 6 girls on the basketball team and being the tallest at 5'6" you're guarding the Tornadoes 6'1" superstar!). I hope I'm able to be a part of helping my students to value excellence and growth and not to fall for the pressure and unreachable goal of perfection!
This year has to be the fastest year of my teaching career yet. Teaching part-time has been a huge blessing! I continue to be so thankful for opportunity to work with these students, for the support from their families and our administration, and for the team of people with whom I teach. When I take the time to count my blessings, I'm reminded that God must love me a whole bunch. (-; Hope you're feeling His love today!
Homecoming and NDEA are upon us. It's time to pause and assess and take action! What's working? What's not? What needs follow through? Which plans aren't as effective as I envisioned and why? Is it time to double down and reinforce or is it time to hit the drawing board? Reflection is an under utilized discipline. It keeps us from operating on autopilot or from settling for the status quo. Reflection keeps us responsive and mindful of the specific needs and potential of the students we teach. Whether reflection comes naturally or it is something that needs to be written on the calendar, it's a "game changer".
We just wrapped up 2 days of teacher inservice meetings. I'm really excited about the differentiated professional development focus area and group that I joined. Mariah, Julie, Tracy, and I make up the Grover Gamers. We are preparing to research, implement, and share practical, best practices for increasing student engagement by incorporating movement and games into the classroom. As we begin the adventure of instructing in the block, this focus will make a difference for students right away.
Monday's inservice was especially refreshing and encouraging and timely. The ongoing emphasis on faith development individually and as a community will make a difference. I pray we'll keep gathering momentum and not lose sight of this part of Oak Grove's mission. I pray that we’ll "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...” (2 Peter 3:18)
At each start of the school year, I know God will grow, change, and lead me. What I wonder is-"What will that look like this year?" Let the adventure of 2018-2019 begin!
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Today was new student orientation. One of my favorite parts of this day is the contrast between the excited, nervous energy of the the new students and the hospitality and confidence of our older student ambassadors. I've been around long enough that I remember these Grovers when they were new on North Campus. I don't think I'll ever quit being thrilled to see students' transformations.
Another thing that new student orientation brings is a distinct awareness that it's time for teachers to "be ready" instead of "be getting ready". Not unlike today's new students, I am feeling the mix of excitement and nervous energy/butterflies that comes with every new school year. I'm definitely ready to grow and almost ready to go!
During the entire time I've been at Oak Grove, our MS team has been really special. Even this summer, there have been lots of opportunities for creative collaboration. Recently Heidi and I were figuring out how to best share a classroom. Tracy and I were planning most effective ways to teach world culture and world geography. Steph stopped over and we shared our research and frameworks regarding best practices for teaching in the block. Our regular team time helps us address the needs of all students, keeps our focus on the mission of Oak Grove, and keeps us on the same page logistically all while supporting our personal and professional growth. We are aiming for iron sharpening iron! Effective team time makes a huge tangible and intangible difference for students and for teachers. Shout out to Sarah, Renae, Vanessa, Janice, Megan, Sam, Aaron, Renee, Paul, Hayley, Jess, Chad, Rochelle, Tracy, Dave, Steph, Heidi, Terri, & Aimee!
I recognize how blessed I am to work with y'all.
Ephesians 1:16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Our youngest started football practice last night--great coaches and great kids! I grabbed my picnic blanket and my teaching bag and found some shade. After an hour I look up and see lots of moms across the field visiting on the sidelines. I'm torn between making more progress and getting to know Danny's friends' parents. This is the moment I'm thankful for maturity/being old! I will be ready for my students whether or not I work another 1/2 hour on this particular day. Long ago I read the advice to develop authentic friendships with your kids' friends' parents and we have found it to be true with our older son. As Evan goes off to college we are so aware and so thankful for our friends who have walked through his childhood with us- all the joys and challenges and everything in between. So I stood up and made my way across the field- thankfully to a warm welcome. I wonder which, if any, of these potential friendships will be short-term blessings and if any of these families will become close friends...
All that said, Day 2 of practice is tonight and Mike is still in Canada- will I stay and visit or drop Danny off and go work at school!? I admit it- I'm torn. I'm so excited for school and have SO much I want to do. :-)