I am just going to be frank here. I have taught two years, and I have never been truly “excited” for school to start. Of course, this is contrary to what I have said when people asked me, “Are you excited for school to start?” I always gave a big, fat “Yes”. Sorry.
The first year, I was just nervous out of control to be truly excited. The second year, I had kind of a big thing going on (I got married), and when school came rolling around again, I felt completely unready. What have I learned? I learned the feeling of being ready is a rare feeling in teaching for me. The feeling of being 100% ready is a never. I can spend hours upon hours trying to establish the ins and outs of the lesson, the demands I am making of my students, the anticipated problems and questions the students will encounter, the connections to be made … You need to jump in with the best preparation job you can muster.
This year, I can say honestly- I am excited and ready to just jump in. Here are some reasons why:
1.) I am blogging this year. During the summer I have started to follow several awesome blogs. Today, I just read at http://samjshah.com/ about a BLOG INITIATION where I hope to extend my stealing and sharing web even more. I cannot speak more highly of samjshah and how he has impacted my teaching. Good bye to teaching in isolation and regular nights of labor to birth ideas and projects (graphic I know, but it can be ugly). Hello huge network of teachers to exchange ideas. I already have two great new project ideas that I took from other blogs.
2.) I just finished my STEM Externship experience, and we had a last get together yesterday in Des Moines. From this conference I have learned about Iowa’s FIRST Tech Challenge where students work with designing programs and building a functional robot. There is more information at http://iowastem.gov/imsep/businesses/inventory/first-tech-challenge-program. If you are in Iowa, Rockwell Collins, an aerospace, communications technology, and defense company, is providing support for newby companies. There is the applications and information at http://www.rockwellcollins.com/Our_Company/Corporate_Responsibility/Community_Overview/FIRST/FIRST_Grants.aspx. At the beginning of the year I am going to get kids on board as soon as possible, and if there is interest I will be applying for the Rockwell Collins FIRST robotics grant. My students will learn to be producers of technology. I do not think there can be anything not exciting about robots.
3.) I get a $150 stipend for my classroom this year, a generous gift from the STEM Externship program I participated in this summer. I am thinking about using that money to purchase items for building mini wind turbines in the classroom. I was directed to Kindwind http://learn.kidwind.org/. I will start looking into this. I find the idea of my students doing the work with me to figure out wind turbines a very exciting prospect.
My goals are starting to seem a bit overwhelming. I have the initiative, however, and am mentally preparing for the follow through. Gah! I have so much to do!! I definitely don’t miss this feeling. Again, there is no true feeling of “I feel ready and completely prepared,” so that only leaves excitement now.
Before I start anything, I will finish up my summer goals that ends with me creating 10 new calculus videos for my flipped classroom. This week I will focus on nothing else. Success will be mine.