A year ago, I left my job in public school to enter the private sector. I did not know then how different and difficult my year would be.
Due to those difficulties, I made a commitment to myself to write a review of my year to better reflect on my accomplishments and struggles and to help those in a similar situation.
This past school year, I found myself on the verge or at burn-out levels multiple times. And, I'll admit, I still struggle despite it being summer. I found myself questioning my effectiveness; questioning my job. Have you felt that way before?
I found myself at levels of disappointment I had not felt since my first year of teaching.
That's when I realized this was my first year. Though I had more years of experience behind me, this was a new phase. This was a transition. I had taken a leap and now, I was finding my footing.
I am still finding my footing. We are all still finding our footing. And, if you have found it, it's time to take another leap.
It's that point of frustration we want to keep our learning an our students' learning at - that point where you want to quit, but you won't because you want to see through the journey. In a classroom, we support our students through this. Professionally, it can be isolating. This was my struggle. And, unfortunately, I didn't realize it until the year was nearly over. So, my goal for 2016-2017 - keep my network of support close. Don't pull the weight on your own.
I spent a lot of time alone, planning. I did not spend time collaborating. I need collaboration. Again, don't isolate yourself. Reach out. Don't be shy.
In my time alone, I had plenty of time to dwell on what wasn't happening. When things are moving fast, there is little time to focus on the negative and only time to embrace the movement. So, take breaks. Write down your accomplishments. Make note of your successes. And, when all else fails, get up and take a quick walk. Rinse and repeat.
I found myself becoming negative and uninspired. At this moment, take a break and create. Create, create, and create. It will instantly boost your inspiration. And, you might discover a new idea to implement.
I have plenty of fears for this next year, plenty of challenges, and, hopefully, plenty of positive moments.
Next year, I'll be teaching freshmen English again for the first time in six years and a makerspace course - the first of its kind at my school. I'll also be continuing my normal job as a technology integration coordinator. My work is cut out for me. I'm excited for the busyness. I'm also nervous and anxious, much like our students are.
This school year, I am going to blog more about my daily experiences rather than just my successes. Writing is therapy. Sharing is therapy. Sharing leads to collaboration and networking.
This year, I started a digital citizenship team that led chapels, parent discussions, and student panels. I also created a makerspace course and helped set up three smaller ones around campus. I also created an infrastructure for change. It's the last point that is hard to see and believe. I still don't fully believe it. I'm sure many of us have been here before.
This year was nothing short of a challenge. And, I won't sugar coat my experiences. However, I won't let them define me, my job, my school, or my work. Rather, when the challenges get heavier, I will write more and share more.
We are connected. Share your experiences and grow.
What were your experiences this school year? What will you do next school year? What advice do you have to share?