I (officially) go back to work on August 10th. Students report on August 12th. I went to Colorado last week (it was amazing and fun and I climbed a mountain on my own two feet!) and as soon as I got back to Lincoln, my brain immediately turned to SCHOOL TIME! I both love and hate the few weeks leading up to the start of the school year. I love it because I am so enthusiastic and ready to get back to work. All those great ideas that I came up with in April, that were too late to implement during last school year, have waited patiently all summer and are now bursting forth from my brain. Plus, I miss my students. However, I hate these weeks because I mostly feel terribly impatient. I woke up at 4 am and can’t go back to sleep because my brain is in overdrive about all the things I want to do. It also makes it hard to spend my last week at home relaxing!
Instead of fighting it, I usually just decide to go with it. So, without further ado, here are some random goals I’ve come up with for this school year.
Read two novels per class level (except Spanish 3)
Free voluntary reading was a big hit in my upper classes last year. I may eventually start implementing a bit of FVR in Spanish 2 or even 1 at some point, but for now, I am happy with just having it in Spanish 3 and AP. The biggest change is that I am adding a novel per class, so now my reading schedule looks like this:
Spanish 1 – Brandon Brown quiere un perro (Q2), Pobre Ana (Q4)
Spanish 2 – La tumba (Q2, preferably around el día de los muertos if I can wing it), Casi se muere (Q4)
Spanish 3 – Mi propio auto (Q4)
AP Spanish – La Guerra Sucia (end of Q2 or start of Q3), Dónde está Eduardo (Q4)
Keep working towards my target of 90-100% Spanish
Like many teachers, this is a work-in-progress. Depending on the day and the activities, sometimes I meet my goal, and sometimes I come up way short. One of the double-edged parts of having easy access to technology is that I often have to show my students a new computer skill before we can do the Spanish part, and it’s usually less problematic to use English to teach the skill.
Use only Spanish the first day
My upper level students won’t have a problem (I hope!) but I have never tried a Spanish-only day one for my newcomers. I hope that we have a 1:30 out on the first day (some years we’ve had a 2:30 dismissal which makes for super awkward period lengths that are too long to just go over the syllabus, but too short to actually do a lesson). A 30 minute period would be just enough time to go through an introductory ‘me llamo’ lesson with Spanish 1. With the other levels, I’ll probably tell them about my trip to Colorado (or maybe just show the pictures and have them ask questions, or both!) then have them upload a picture of something they did this summer to a class Google Slideshow that we can talk about on the 2nd day. Even though I don’t think they’ll have their school laptops by day 2, they can use their devices to upload it (since they already have an account).
Become a Google Certified Teacher/continue being a Technology Encourager
This came up on a whim the other day when I decided I wanted a new project. I’m pretty familiar with Google and its various products, but I’d like to become really proficient in order to help the other teachers in my school. Our tech guy is really great with hardware, but he is not particularly fond of Google. We have a software expert available through the educational service unit, but that’s 45 minutes away and he only comes in about once a month. We also had an issue last year where our paras were issued school iPads, but not laptops, and some of the Google functionality is different on the iPads. (I hope they have actual laptops this year.) I am also going to make it a point during the workdays to pop into classrooms and ask if my less technologically-savvy coworkers have any questions or things I can help them with. I truly believe that if I show them a skill AND they know I’m right down the hall if they need me to show them again, or if they have a question or problem, they will be more likely to jump in and try something new.
Limit my days out of the classroom
This seems like a weird goal, but I felt like I missed a ton of work for conferences and such last year. I would say I missed 10 instructional days due to school-related extras. The problem is, I was so stressed out (I knew it was going to happen; that’s just how my body does things) that I also missed more school for illness than ever. So this year, I am going to scale back. I have two dates that are mandatory for my literacy strategies group, and I plan to attend NILA (which is on a Saturday). I might attend an edcamp or NETA again in the spring, but I am pretty much conferenced out for now. I need time to implement all the stuff I’ve learned.
Get someone else into my classroom
I decided after my first student teacher that I would be willing to take a teacher-learner in my room every other year, if one was offered to me. This would be a year that I am open to that option, so we’ll see if I get any offers from the local colleges. I would also like to have another language teacher or two come observe me and give me language-teacher-specific tips. Now that I’ve done some networking in the state, I think this is a much better prospect than in previous years. I am also open to visiting other language teachers and offering the same deal. Or if we can’t go in person, do some sort of video/Hangout/Skype exchange. I don’t know – it’s a work in progress. I feel like I can safely call myself a veteran teacher, but I’m not yet a master.
I’m sure I’ll come up with some more things when I haven’t woken in the middle of the night, but now maybe I can get some sleep! What goals do you have for the upcoming school year?