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What went well:
- Taking over the ITGS class was a lot of work, more than I expected or imagined, but I did it. I got those kids ready for the exam, and I learned a lot in the offing.
- Language and Literature. The new course launched, and while there are some things I'll do differently next year, it went really well. I feel very confident about how the course has run this year.
- Some experiments with IT integration, especially digital sharing, blogs and continued use of Google docs for collaboration.
- The use of stations in the classroom has been a real discovery for me and has become a valuable part of my teaching repertoire.
- I've been working on appropriate peer and teacher conferences with students about their writing, and it feels like I've hit a new plateau with that process.
- Grade 9 had some good moments, especially the memoir unit.
- Working with lower school teachers to differentiate for gifted students.
- Being a homeroom teacher was generally good. There are some things to work on, but my own balance between high expectations and approachability seem to have struck a chord with them. I really enjoyed most of it as well.
What could have been better:
In many ways, this was a survival year: I taught five hours overtime, taught two classes I've never taught before (one out of my normal subject area), managed the changes with a new principal, plus the reality of four young boys at home kicked in. So there was a lot that could have been better, but I want to highlight the stuff that was more than just 'Take more time to...'
- We have a system for communicating with parents (Wilma) which I did not utilize as much as I could have.
- The leadership I provided for Language A teachers was minimal and reactive.
- I need a higher degree of tolerance for what I consider foolishness, especially with colleagues. I was a little too outspoken about some issues this year and it resulted in hurt feelings and alienation which was not really worth it.
- I was a little too spontaneous in my MYP planning this year, responding to student needs but not looking at the whole picture. As a result, we ran out of time and missed a few key skills.
- As always, I need to give faster feedback on assessments to students and parents.
What I plan to do next year:
- Time management. I start a new role next year as Accreditation Leader. I have fewer classes, but I have some administrative things to manage. I can see already that I am not used to filling hours of non-teaching time with administrative stuff, and I'm going to need to develop some strategies for getting things done.
- Student relationships. I had an epiphany the other day with my own kids, realizing that all quality interactions happen one on one, even in a group context. I need to develop that idea and find ways to apply it in my classes.
- Curriculum leadership. I need to be more active as Area Leader for Language A. I plan to institute observations between department members, for instance.
- Parent contact. I need to use Wilma more and smarter.
- Contextual analysis. I need to wrestle this out next year, including how to write an effective reader response analysis, and then I need to articulate that down to MYP 4 and 5.
- Teaching writing. My ideas about teaching writing have been evolving over the last few years, and I want to articulate those changes and codify them into a more coherent approach.
- Blogging. I just did not have time to blog this year, or to be terribly active on Twitter. I want to change that next year.