Teaching Reflection: Weeks 23/24/25

The past couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster emotionally. I took my first emergency mental health day. The dread I felt in going back to work that day was overwhelming and honestly even though I made it to work the rest of week, every minute was a struggle.

But then there were the conversations I had with students about race and culture in Africa versus the U.S. versus France. My kids asked why I hadn’t stayed in France when they learned that I had lived there. I told them there all the same problems there as in America, which prompted them to ask about racism in France.

The past week has been ok. Most of my classes have settled into the semester and the quarter is almost halfway done! One student asked me what we’re gonna do come June, but I’m gonna wait to surprise them with the fact that it’s pretty much gonna be us watching the NHL playoffs!

Teaching Reflection: Week 22

  1. Culturally responsive teaching: I introduced family language in French using Black Panther and my predominantly Black 8th grade class LOVED it. I used a clip from the movie (dubbed in French), and they were so excited to talk about it. They did groan at first about not being able to watch in English, of course. I had a lot of fun teaching those lessons. And that class did better overall on the quiz than my other 8th graders! #blackfutures
  2. Building relationships: I had a student stay after for help with his homework, which became a therapy session in the end. He didn’t ask for advice or anything, he just talked about what was going on in his life. As he was leaving, he noted how much he had talked and how it had been nice for someone to listen.

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Teaching Reflection: Week 20/21

Negotiated syllabus: I love the negotiated syllabus because it makes me (and hopefully my students) so intentional.

Shout out to the critical crew at the University of Hawaiʻi, Second Language Studies department: I felt really comfortable scaffolding activities to help students contribute to making the syllabus There’s a lot that we had no choice on (county requirements), but I was surprised by how much they bought into deciding things like expectations for themselves and specific things they want to learn about. I feel a lot of more comfortable in planning lessons since I’ve surveyed them on how they want to learn.

Watching students develop: It’s also been interesting seeing them hit different points of puberty/maturity. The 6th graders are starting to develop attitudes, the 7th graders are getting bigger attitudes, the 8th graders are becoming teenagers. It’s making me thinking more about myself in middle school.

Other thoughts: I’m feeling more energized by the start of the third quarter. I feel like the second was a lot about surviving. I feel like I’m beginning to emerge from the weight of everything that’s been put on me. I’m just hoping I can keep some of that as February/March/April go on.

Also have started showing my kids “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and they are HOOKED.

Teaching Reflection: Week 18/19

  1. Personal time: I’m in a transitional moment right now, which is making reflecting a bit harder. But maybe that’s a part of the reflection process? I’m intentionally putting more time into developing myself, outside of my teacher role. Not thinking about how what I do outside of work can be brought into the classroom. Just thinking about the things I want to do and accomplish. The person who I want to be.

I think that sense of personhood can get lost in any job. In teaching it comes from the quantification of people (students, teachers, etc.) and their work (test scores, hours worked, certification classes, turnover, etc.). It’s something I have to confront at work, but not something I have to take home. Continue reading

Teaching Reflection: Week 16/17

Having time away from work has been such a huge blessing. I’ve gotten time to re-evaluate who I am as a person, and thus who I want to be as an educator.

I plan on finishing out this quarter focusing on getting the students ready for their Quarterly Assessments. I’m honestly happy to be running on autopilot for this month, essentially.

For the 2nd semester/ 3rd and 4th quarter, I plan on starting with a negotiated syllabus. The students know enough about French and general expectations to have more say in how they want to work towards the last half of the year.

Honestly, that’s one of the few things I’m excited about in this job. I’m still figuring things out, but my general thinking going into 2020 is that I can’t let the system of public education make me forget that I matter.