Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Year End Reflection...The Good, The Bad, and The Trout

Another school year has come to an end.  A pattern is beginning to come forth.  First a flurry of blog posts in September and October, excited at the beginning of a new year.  Then November, with conferences and turkey, a slow down.  Here and there posts resume in December and January.  Then my brain issues a cease and desist blogging order once CMT season comes upon us.  I feel too worn down  at that point to spend any excess energy on Saturday night reflecting.

I wish I could keep it up and post at least once each week.  Maybe next year.  Maybe this summer. Who knows?

There is a need to tie up loose ends though in 11 steps.

1.  This year of trying to do inquiry science has been an overwhelming success. Using new techniques to teach science, and math and reading too, has been fantastic.  I feel more able to let go and let the inquiry process lead students to new discoveries, learnings, and understandings.  They learned more than they ever have in the past.

2.  Pets and I have never had the best relationship. The trout are a fine example of my poor pet parenting.  The trout eggs caught a fungus that I didn't notice until it was far too late.  We saved three trout that did hatch.  We got a new delivery of trout from another school that had too many. The tank had issues.  Well, it was the tank owner that had issues.  I didn't take care of the tank very well.  The students reminded me of this each day as the water turned greener and murkier.  I just figured that's what happens.  We'll let the tank do what it does.  This was quite the bad mistake.  One morning I came in and the fish were gasping.   I have never done emergency CPR on a fish, but decided to just bring the ones who were not floating upside down to Mr. Stentiford's room.  He is the Mariano Rivera (the closer or the guy who gets the save) of the trout world.  Most made it.  Some didn't.  I got rid of the water and soon after, the tank.  No more pets for me.  Well the rocks on the window sill have made it a few years.

3. Graduate science education classes at WCSU were hard, really hard, and really confusing. That's all I have to say about that.

4. We had a great class this year.  The students learned a lot and sure taught me a great deal each day.  I know I learned more from them than they did from me. I also have the greatest teaching partner in the world. Thanks for everything Gael!

5. It is easy to get caught up in the daily hoopla in a school.  I think I have learned to just stay in the moment in the classroom and deal with the important part of school, data collection and RTI forms.  No, just kidding...teaching and learning.

6.  I definitely have the greatest colleagues at my school and in my DESICA cohort.  I learn from all of them all of the time.  They are all so creative and share wonderful ideas.  They are pretty funny too.  Good old sophomoric humor can sure get you through a crazy day or a three hour lecture or both.  Thanks Todd and Peter, (and Gary too).

7. It is important to remember when dealing with people (and we deal with hundreds each day) to remember that each person has their own unique qualities and has wonderful things to offer.

8.  Teaching, although not the most lucrative business in the world, rewards the soul.  All it takes is the one student who evaded you all year to have tears coming down their face on the last day of school.

9. It is easy to think back to the lessons that didn't go well, the learning objectives that flopped, and the bad days you had. But as  Lee Iacocca so bluntly said:

"So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late."

10. We'll follow that with Mr. Walt Disney's vision:

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things,

because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

This is what keeps us going each day!

11.  I'm curious to see what next school year will bring.  I am more curious to see what wonderful adventures lie ahead this summer.  

As the kids in grade six say: "H.A.G.S!" (This means have a great summer for those of you too old to understand Bieber Fever.)