Over the summer, I took some time to reflect on what I learned last year as a first-year teacher. There were some bumps, I admit, but it was a wonderful journey nonetheless. Connections were made with other teachers, students, and staff, and a lot of awesome parents!
First, let me start off with a thank you to past, present, and future parents. Thank you for allowing me to teach your child, and trusting that I have their best interest at heart. You can rest easy knowing that I will do everything in my power to honor that trust. It's no easy feat letting your kiddo explore the world, and in a lot of cases, experience a challenging situation or two. I totally get where you're coming from as a parent preparing for my child to grow up faster than I'd like (yeah, it's still a year away, but it will be here in the blink of an eye).
I know plenty of teachers who have been working tirelessly over the summer to improve their classroom, instruction, or strategies. Over the last few days (because we are all starting to return to our schools), I had the opportunity to hear their wonderful ideas, and every one of those thoughts came from their deep desire to help students succeed in life. And there, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the core concept behind my motives.
When I became a teacher, I knew that I wanted to give my students the best education within my capabilities. After college, the love of learning grew in me. I started reading botany books, marketing books, or anything that my brain latched onto. Now, you might be thinking, "Well, what does a bunch of knowledge gathering have to do with anything?"
Because I hated junior high and high school. Learning wasn't enjoyable to me. Though looking back now, it wasn't learning that was the problem. It was the delivery (just so you know, I had wonderful teachers, and this realization certainly isn't pointed at them.). When I say delivery, I mean the curriculum. My 16-year-old self frequently asked, "Why do I need to know this garbage. I'll never use it." And at the time, I was right, though, I know now that I was sadly mistaken. Kids need a why to understand the abstract concepts we teach.
As a math and science teacher, I have a unique opportunity to incorporate both subjects in both classes. It makes for a less boring classroom experience. It is my dream to spark hidden ingenuities in your kids. It is my dream to help them find something in the subjects I teach to be interested about, especially 6th-grade math. Math is an easy subject for students to develop an aversive feeling towards.
In the classroom, I can only do so much when it comes to math. I have my students for an hour a day. That's five hours of math a week, and it's not enough. Not with our current curriculum. That's why I'm urging parents to have their kiddos do the homework teachers send home. It isn't to punish the kids, and we don't send it home for our benefit either. If I had a choice, I wouldn't send out homework, but that's just me.
Until something changes in the education system, I'm truly sorry, but our hands are tied.
Another challenge with how fast we move is that if a kid misses a handful of days, they have an uphill battle to catch up. Without proper teacher and parent coordination for home instruction, the odds are stacked higher against the student. If the student isn't in class, we can't teach them the subjects, and because of the fast pace, that student ends up failing, and then our hands are really tied. I know my school has really tried to utilize Canvas for kids that needed to learn something they missed.
So, it is my dream to create a learning environment to help kids rediscover their love of learning and have them actually want to be there.
With all of this said, I am so excited to start the new year and help my next classes reach their full potential!