A School Year End Reflection
Life of a teacher almost always entails deeper understanding, longer patience, and greater sacrifices towards lessons and students. Much of it requires shorter sleep, making use of the weekends to prepare for the following week’s lessons, and bringing home papers to check.
Aside from the practicalities of a teacher’s life, other aspects need attention. I need to see the growth of my students in terms of their learnings in class, even looking at their personal growth as an individual and as a person who will eventually be playing an important role in the community that he/she belongs for the generation to come. [paragraphs from my Black Saturday reflection]
School Year 2017-2018 had been mind-boggling to always have an end in mind (habit 2), a tough tests of prioritizing (habit 3), full of discussions to have win-win (habit 4), and took times to listen to students (habit5). In short, tremendously wanting-to-end-it-immediately challenging school year. I remember I kept on counting how many more months, weeks, and days left before this ends.
I started the year with all the vigor and zeal towards teaching and the learning process. I was so excited to start implementing the plans planned during the summer. I was thinking this school year will be relaxing due to fewer activities compared to the previous school years. There will be fewer things that I will be dealing with despite the new subjects I will be teaching, namely, General Physics 1 and General Chemistry 1. Wow! These subjects will be my new major field now. So, during the summer, I spent more time in studying the subjects, helping myself to be prepared for the school year.
But those vigor and zeal slowly fade away as I started to traverse the year. I was caught with the daily grind, my studying with the subjects including the preparations of the materials needed, deliver it in class, then plan again for the following week. Also, I am playing a role in the movement where I serve that I need to oversee too. I lost my grip on the important matters that I needed to do. I failed to submit the necessary documents on time. I was not that creative in my delivery of each of the lessons day-by-day. A lot of times I compromised my lesson plans and that includes my health. I began to be sickly. I visited the doctor twice last year and had medications to take.
With these experiences, I learned and pondered upon three things: a) importance of always having an end in mind, b) knowing and acting upon my priorities, and c) to trust myself and others.
Have an End in Mind
Having a goal, a vision of what we want to achieve in life is essential. As I have gotten from Stephen Covey, “People don’t achieve what they want to achieve because they don’t know what to achieve.” Last school year was like that. There were several times when I jumped in the class without full vision or unclear goals on what to achieve in class. I just got inside the classroom and discussed what I usually do. I submitted lesson plans with not so clear goals. I ended up unsatisfied with my teaching.
On one hand, with my personal life, I failed in this one also. I have been strolling and enjoying so much the journey, and just living always at the present. I mean, I did not mind much the future, what I wanted to achieve or to be with my life. For example, if I will be for married life, I did not plan for some practical matters such as finances. I have thought about finances but not on that state of life.
Now, I realized how important it is. I have been learning the 7 Habits since it was introduced to me back the summer of 2012, but still, I haven’t applied it yet, fully, in my life. I need to start minding the essentials of my life. I need to see to it that the upcoming school year, I will always have a better plan for every lesson I will undertake. To help me out, I need to always check the essentiality of the objectives of what I am teaching, and even learning. I need to think ahead always maybe 5 sessions ahead or more.
Knowing and Acting on my Priorities
In order for me to be successful in the plans set, knowing that being a teacher is my priority, I need to act on it or else I will only be daydreaming or hallucinating. As Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”
Having a bunch of things in mind last year, I really lost the grip of my priorities in life. I was at a crossroads every day, especially the latter part of the second quarter and early part of fourth quarter. Those were the times when I failed to submit the required format of lesson plans. I failed to follow up the Feedbox Reflections of my students. I may be passionate about my teaching. But in terms of what is being asked of me, as a teacher/employee, I failed.
The good thing about being in this school is to have a leader who will be there to remind me of my priorities since I lost it. I remember she said, “Find your center teacher.” After that, I was able to gain confidence to rise up and keep going.
I realized that it is very difficult to keep on rowing in this journey without knowing where to go and the ability to row. Plans will be useless if I won’t be able to know what is it for if they are needed, and if it’s my priority. Since I knew, then actions are required of me. There were times that I fell as I keep on rowing. But, what matters the most was that I learned from that experience. Such experience is not worth doing again.
Now, am slowly applying it by mainly focusing on what is needed to be done in school as the next school year is about to come.
Trust Yourself and Others
One of the battles I faced last school year was that I relied on myself so much and forgot that I have other people with me; other people whom I can depend on. Because I wanted to do all things the best way possible, according to my own narrow mind, I did almost all rather than delegating. It only shows that I was overconfident that I can do it, relying and trusting only myself. Because of it, I ended up unsatisfied and also, I gave an impression that I did not trust others.
Those actions of mine made me realized that I was leaning too much on my own understanding hindering God to work in me and others to grow. I need to be disabled too to enable others (Ms.Ching). Moreover, some coordination by the subject teachers will be done by themselves. My task will be for documentation purposes so as to avoid confusions in the given instructions. With these, I can focus more on my own work, my priorities, and plans.
It is always best to look back, ponder, learn, and apply in order to progress in my own capacity, as a teacher, and as a person. This summer, I am more determined to focus on the essentials, to check the areas where I have failed and missed, and to improve the way I plan, I prioritize, and execute. Also, this will be the time to find my center. A time that will help me determine my rate of success for the upcoming school year.
I wanted to become ‘a good teacher that can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning’ (Brad Henry). In order for me to do this, I need to keep doing and improving the good things I have been doing such as being passionate with my teaching and the genuine care of the learning of the students. I will emphasize values more rather than purely math concepts.
With my hopes and prayers, paired with determined actions, I would be able to start the next school year strong and finish it much stronger. And it should begin this summer.