Wrapping Up 2020 On a High Note

I spent the year teaching full-time, in and out of the art room, while working towards a graduate degree in Elementary Ed. Most of my time was spent at my desk at home or in a 5th grade classroom. December 18th, 2020, Lasell University finally wrapped up for winter break. I had gone round and round with a professor all semester. I apologized for being a pest, she responded that I wasn’t a pest, “You’re tenacious.” (Thanks?) And I had spoken to several classmates of growing concerns over our progress throughout the course. I wasn’t the only one who felt the professor was grading unfairly all term. I know I’d done a good job, but my end grade for an important class was a “B”. That’s not a terrible grade, I know. Besides, 6 As and 1 B at the end of the year wasn’t so bad at all. But if I’m telling my students grades shouldn’t matter … then I need to own up and take my own advice. Finally I decided, as of 2021, I will be judging myself based on my work progress. How much did I learn? What will I take away for my own classroom? To date I’ve learned a lot about the potential of a strong literacy program, the importance of culturally relevant pedagogy and LGBTQI inclusion, Gr. K-12. I have a little less than a year to go before earning my new degree and I think I need to refocus on what’s really important. šŸ˜ƒ

UPDATE: It just so happened I needed to reference my unofficial transcripts. My grade for Literacy Instruction was changed to from a “B” to an, “A-“.

Meanwhile, checkout some of the work I’ve presented to students. It was a busy year and I am proud of my progress as an educator. Teaching in a hybrid model (some students in-person, others at home) has its challenges. Gone are the days of traditional snow days so there were times I had to get creative at home. This past Thursday was jam-packed as students helped me bake pies during our discussion of cultural family traditions (and I brought math and science into the equation), we discussed fire safety from my kitchen, went to the ballet in my living room, got a weather report from Ottomotto, and shared fitness tips and a mini-workout to motivate each other (and help Mr. Wilber burn off those pies). I’m working alongside some AMAZING and experienced teachers who have been my guides throughout the year. And if not for my family and friends’ support. none of this would have been possible.

Teaching In the 2020-21 School Year, Day 4

So … it’s my first week of returning to school … except I don’t exactly have a school. Long story made short, my district is scrambling and multiple teachers are being moved or expected to teach at more than one school. My principal said he’s planning on my return, but because of the chaos of distance learning vs hybrid teaching across fifteen schools, there’s no guarantee. So while I wait for assignment this week I enrolled in a Healing Centered Engagement workshop. The idea is to not just help students dealing with trauma (of all kinds) by coping, but to give them tools to heal. I’m learning a lot and feel this will be setting me on a new path to explore as I continue adapting my curriculum for the future.

Meanwhile, I also started designing my new online classroom. When I’m done each image on the screen will link a student to a particular lesson, all art related work. I literally just pulled or cut images from my desktop to incorporate into the ‘room’.

UPDATE: Following the weekend, on Day 6, was officially assigned my school of the last five years. *PHEW* But I’m still waiting on updated hybrid schedule. All I know is that I have to zoom afternoons from the classroom.

UPDATE 2: Day 11 – Our first morning of zoom orientation went awry and several of us found ourselves playing musical classrooms as we searched for a quiet corner of the building in a matter of minutes. Tomorrow is in-person orientation for Cohort A.

UPDATE 3: Day 13 – Today was the first official day of school, working off a semi-hybrid schedule. My head was spinning all day and it still is. I found out Friday Iā€™m splitting my time between classrooms. Then a leak overnight left me reassembling the classroom an hour before the bell. I made it with a minute to spare. I can’t believe I have to go back tomorrow and do (most of) it all again tomorrow.

Sending love, luck, and patience to ALL educators out there trying to make things work. šŸ˜“