As I shared in my recent post “2018: A Year of Contrasts” last year was as dark as it was bright—finding the light in the last half of the year. The year 2019, one way or another, is going to be a pivotal/landmark one in my career. This is my fifteenth year working in education and my eleventh year of full-time teaching…. but it is the first time that I have been up for tenure.
After completing my degrees at Niagara University and being on the staff of a NCAA Tournament team in 2005 I spent the first part of my career teaching (High School Social Studies) and coaching (High School and College Basketball) in Florida. I bounced around because, at that point, part of my primary focus was coaching. By the time I did settle into one school the state had done away with tenure for teachers.
In the Summer of 2013 I decided that I couldn’t bear being 1200+ miles away from home knowing that my Dad was struggling in his recovery from two cancers (and battling other health issues)—so I called my principal, resigned my positions, and moved back home to Central New York with no job lined up.
Family First, Always
To this day it is the best decision I have ever made (but picking up Teach Like A Pirate is a close second) and after subbing/teaching part time for a few years I landed my current position teaching 9th grade Global History at the Junior High of the district I wanted to teach in—which has always made me feel amazingly lucky.
After three years of effective APPR scores (even in that dark period) I am still anxious about the looming tenure decision but confident in my practice and know that I have done my best at every turn…. with the last six months having been a period of exponential growth for me as both an educator and a human being. Still that unknown is tough because its something that is on the road ahead but still unseen—will I stay on the main road or forced off road? I have done everything in my power and now only time will tell.
“Will I stay on the main road or forced off road?”
My districts nickname/mascot is the Northstars so, to combat thinking about it too much, I created a visual in the shape of a star to remind me of the 5 things/points that I believe make me worthy of that long term investment. It helps guide me to the positive and reminds me how I best serve my students—-because that is what this is all about!
My “North Star”
I am constantly striving to improve my professional practice and not afraid to “Cannonball In“ and try new approaches. I have always participated in extensive Professional Development provided by district and pursued other learning experiences to grow my practice. Having found “The DBC EDUverse” has helped taken this to an all new level!
I have always been committed to being a positive influence on the overall school district —both in my building and the district. Participating on several committees (BPT, Scheduling, Standards Based Grading) and PLC’s (Literacy, SBG), participating in a AFT Teacher Leadership course, chaperoning/assisting with school events (Semi, Evening of Excellence, Talent Show), and supporting students outside the classroom (athletic events, plays, concerts). Most recently advocating for games during lunch and proposing to star an after school Game Club for students.
Students genuinely enjoy my class. I create a welcoming environment that is engaging and meets students Social and Emotional Learning needs. Students take ownership and efforts are made to meet the diverse needs of students through student choice.
Student Academic Performance
Students in my learning environment consistently perform well on common assessments (Benchmarks) that are given to Global 9 students. Comparable to or exceeding the performance of their peers.
I genuinely bring a positive and upbeat nature that improves the overall school climate and I am always ready, willing, and able to help out when needed—often lending a hand before asked. I think who we are and what we bring to the learning environment plays a HUGE role in how students learn.
So as we all embark our individual chapters titled “2019” I am going to push aside the anxiousness about that tenure decision and focus on what I can control—so here is my “One Word” and goals….or as I like to call them “intentions”… for 2019.
For my “One Word” I batted around several interrelated words but decided to go with:
How can I get better? How can I do that better next time? Is there a better way?
It is my hope and intention that on December 31st, 2019 I am posting about fulfilling this and having the best year yet—and wish YOU…. yes YOU… the same 🙂
While I know a lot of people make New Years Resolutions, I am setting some intentions that are realistic in the hope that they will help me be BETTER and continue to fulfill that all important “why” to:
“EMPOWER OTHERS THROUGH POSITIVITY”
My 5 Intentions:
- To share my experience by posting to this blog at least once a week in 2019, with a Monday by 7:00 pm deadline.
- To make more time to read
- To continue to being intentional and growing my professional practice
- To grow my Professional Learning Family
- To see a keynote/meet one of my EDUheroes in person
I hope to share my journey and joys with you as we embark on the chapter titled: 2019
Never underestimate the power of your thoughts and remember that: