I remember my first year of teaching well. I was hired to teach third grade in Cathedral City, California at a school called Landau Elementary. The school had a year-round schedule where there were four blocks of students that rotated one month off. My schedule had me starting in July, taking off August, working September through Thanksgiving then off until New Years. From there I worked January through March, had April off, then returned to finish the year in May and June. There was a one week "reset" at the end of June and beginning of July, then the new school year started.
This system had pros and cons - but that's for another blog.
I still remember my principal that year, the music teacher, my co-teachers... I remember my students and my first class photo. I remember how I arranged the classroom and where I set up my two desktop computers...
Those students - those third graders - are just about 30 years old today.
I wonder if those students or I went back to Landau how similar it would look. What has changed?
Here is a pop-quiz. What year was this photo taken?
You might say 2012? 2006? 1998?
What about this one?
Could've been from my first year of teaching... Could be the classroom across the hall from you today.
Let's contrast that to another hobby of mine: video games...
Here is a video game I played in 1997:
Final Fantasy VII
I don't own this game system. Accepting donations.
So this leads to my word of 2018: Evolve.
As a veteran teacher (that feels so strange to write) it is easy for me to fall back into routines and previous lessons that 'worked well.' It is easy to fall into 'old habits.' It is easy for me to have a bunch of 'traditional' lessons with a once-a-month "lookie at what I did" lesson so that I pat myself on the back. It is harder to create lessons, set up a classroom, and develop relationships that engage all students while focus on best practices. Now is the time to reflect on previous teachings and evolve my lessons.
It is also time for me to evolve as a leader within the education community, both locally and globally.
And yes, evolve will also apply to my running goals in 2018 as well. Stay tuned!