As a teacher, I think of the year as beginning in September and ending in June. However, with the abundance of New Year’s related posts being generated and the media flooding the public with top 10 lists, I decided to jump on the bandwagon.
This year has been a time of change for me. So many new things happened that it makes me catch my breath. I’m overwhelmed by how many new things and experiences I had. The word that comes to mind to describe it all is global.
In June, I was fried! Burned out and exhausted. I had taken on too many extra responsibilities at school and found myself drowning in tasks that didn’t bring me joy. It was taking my focus off of teaching. Moreover, the environment had some toxic elements that needed to be cleaned out. (How’s that for being vague and not stating what I really want to say?) I decided to take the summer off.
I completely disconnected from school. I tutored a few students because I wanted to and set my own hours. I spent hours reading and researching new tools and techniques I wanted to try in the classroom. I read constantly and wrote blogs on a regular basis. I wanted to refuel my passion for learning and open new doors.
At the beginning of the summer I connected with @tcash on Twitter. Tania had this idea to start #elemchat and along with three others (one from Australia), a new chat on Twitter was born. Thursday nights at six is my “Do Not Disturb” time. Each week we discuss an issue in education/teaching and connect with fellow educators in a global way. My need to keep learning is fed. Now, we’ve expanded to Saturday nights as well. The added and unexpected bonus was Tania and I formed a friendship that is closer than the ocean that separates us! Originally, from Canada, Tania lives with her husband and son in Morocco and teaches at an international school. She has sent me books about Morocco and is determined to get me there for a visit. She is my first international friend.
Also, during the summer, I was presented with an opportunity to write curriculum for Abu Dhabi. A company hired me to write lessons and help construct a scope and sequence for twelve grades. I had a taste of how things are done in the corporate world and loved learning about another country. The experience opened up a whole new world for this small town girl. My naiveté was at times embarrassing, but I just kept asking questions. No one seemed to mind.
As I moved into the fall of this year, I was determined to add blogging to the world of learning for my students. It took me longer than I had expected to get it started, but it was worth it. My students are learning to think globally. We track our hits on the maps and research the countries that visit our blogs. This might be one of the most powerful tools I’ve brought to my classroom in years. It is hard to describe the enthusiasm the students have for blogging and comments. Along with my students, I’ve learned to think outside my own backyard.
When I reflect on 2010, I’m in awe of how much I learned. For a girl who has never left the borders of the United States, I’ve begun to travel. My horizons have expanded and who knows, I may even get a passport in 2011.
I would love for you to share where you “traveled” to this year.