I am naming my annual learning plan ALP. Every year I am to make a new plan for my growth as a teacher and find markers and strategies to reach these goals. I should also find ways to measure if I’ve reached the goals I’ve set for myself.
This year’s goals seem quite simple : communicate with parents, improve my technology skills and get involved with the school. They are simple, they are things I already do, but I still feel there is room for improvement and really, shouldn’t these be continuous goals anyway?
Communicate with parents. Yes, I send mark updates home. Yes I call home for both good news and not so good news. Yes, we on occasion send home newsletters. I decided to up my game. I asked for permission to launch a school Facebook page. So simple, really, but we didn’t have one. Facebook seems to be popular with both our students and their parents. (no matter what study you show me, our students are still actively using Facebook!) We encouraged our students and their parents to “like” our Facebook page so they could receive news, events, pictures and updates right into their newsfeed. Admittedly, this did not catch on like fire, but I will say for those that have liked our page, they have given positive feedback and noted that they are more more aware of happenings in the school. They are happy to see themselves (or their children) participating in school activities when they never had that opportunity before. Step one well underway.
Improve my technology skills. I have recently started teaching e-learning courses. I have lots of room to grow in this arena. I am reading about and trying new apps and programs in leaps and bounds. I am trying new things with my face to face students. I am using twitter in the (real) and virtual classroom. I’m tweeting!! I have this blog. I created a personal class Facebook page for my face to face students. However, my absolute pride and joy in working towards this goal is my FIRST (and second) EVER conference presentation! woopwoop! I can’t believe the absolute pride I had in leading sessions at two separate technology conferences. Okay, I’m not a leader here, my presentations were for beginners, but one year ago, this wasn’t even a blip on the map. Seriously, highlight of career category status here. Step two: check!
Get involved in the school. This may seem strange, but you should know that my school does not run typical extra curricular sports teams. We are considered a special education school, and pull kids from all over the county. We have limited ability to have practices or meetings after school as a high percentage of our kids are bussed. At times it can be quite a struggle to get our students interested in participating in the many clubs and activities we try to run during school hours. I decided to create my own event. I created a “Girl Power” day in our school to help benefit our female students. Our community struggles with mental illness, drug addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts and low self esteem. (as do most schools I’m sure) This year we chose a theme of “Healthy Choices” and had a number of guest speakers come in to speak with the girls only. They participated in a self defence lesson, learned about sexual assault, exploitation, sexting, cyberbullying, exercise and food choices. We even managed to scrounge up a few prizes for girls who gave feedback on the sessions. This event was well received and the girls seemed eager to continue this group. Step three: every girl knows who I am now!
I am very pleased I have accomplished these things in the first half of the school year. It has been a very busy couple of months. I am happy I have made contributions at my school and outside. I felt I have added to my professional growth in such positive and compelling ways that are more impactful than I have in previous years.
Wish I could retire on this high note, but still have a few more years left!