In my most recent post a few weeks ago, I made a few predictions about what I thought the kids might recognize in my progress this year, as well as areas that I thought might show a lower score based on a variety of factors and events. I was correct in that my score for “Care” went up a few points, and that makes me proud. I’m glad that the kids notice and recognize that I care about them…that is very important to me. My other areas of strength are Confer and Clarify, areas in which I scored well on both student surveys this year.
I was also correct in my assumption that “Classroom Management” would have a lower score than at the start of the year. The difference was significant, and while I said in my previous post that it wouldn’t bother me, it did. As a former elementary teacher, I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve for classroom management, and I’m usually pretty good at managing behavior, time, and transitions. Again, as I said previously, the problems that I’ve encountered with student behavior and lack of focus are primarily with my homeroom class. This is also the class that I see three times a week for Mentoring. I believe that the fun games and activities we do during Mentoring have led to somewhat “blurry lines” during humanities class with that particular group. It’s not out of control in this classroom by any stretch, but my homeroom class is very chatty and tends to get off-task easily, which does frustrate me at times. I am looking forward to a fresh start with a new group of kids, and making sure that my expectations are super clear next year from day one.
The component of the survey that surprised me the most was the area of Consolidate, which was the goal I selected. I had been looking forward to getting the results to see if the students noticed my efforts in the area of summarizing what had been taught each day. In fact, this indicator, which had been scored “Medium” in the fall, went down to “Low” during the spring. I’m a bit baffled, really, because I feel like I’ve been making a strong effort in that regard. One thing I thought about since receiving the results is that I haven’t actually used the words “summarize” at the end of each class. Therefore, maybe they don’t recognize that’s what I’m doing. Perhaps I should have been saying, “To summarize what we’ve done today…” in order for that to be more clear.
Overall, to be honest, it’s been a tough year. I made a huge move to a new city, new country, new school, and new grade level. I underwent massive personal changes in my life. We had an unexpected death in the family, which shocked us and saddened us to our cores. It’s been frustrating and lonely in so many ways. And yet, there were a lot of successes as well. I feel that I’ve learned a lot about middle school, ISB, and the content I’m teaching. I feel that my students know I care about them. I think they learned some things, despite me often feeling like my teaching wasn’t great. I can take comfort in knowing that next year, I will come back to a home in Beijing, and a bit of a clue as to how things work around here. I will know what to expect in terms of content, curriculum, and the general flow of ISB. It will be a fresh start, but I won’t be starting from scratch. And that gives me comfort and confidence that it will be a better year all around—in the 7 Cs and in my feeling about my role here in general. I’m looking forward to it.