The first year (2014-2015) was not one my best teaching years. I was afraid to take risks. I stopped flipping my Psychology class which I had been working towards flipped mastery. I tried to keep a low profile at school. I wanted to be invisible. But---personally, I did start taking better care of myself. I started the process towards becoming physically more healthy and since that time I have lost 50 lbs. which, for me, is a pretty big deal.
At the end of that school year, there was a big shake up in my district and ten percent of the teachers were transferred to other buildings. Although I was not transferred, my schedule was changed for the 2015-2016 school year. After teaching US History Inclusion for ten years with the same teacher I was going to be teaching on-level US History. Instead of teaching Psychology, I would be teaching Advanced Placement US History.
There were two really big changes that I had to deal with: 1- I had worked with my inclusion partner since he was 21 years old. We were partners. The idea of teaching US History without him was not only a little overwhelming but also sad. 2- The other change that ended up impacting my life both inside and outside of school was teaching AP US History (or APUSH). I taught APUSH my very first year teaching as a complete novice of 22. I had no prior training before jumping into teaching it and had gone to my old high school AP teacher to help me out. It was a different test in 2001 and a different time. Now I knew what I was getting myself into. I had very high expectations and as a result I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself. Because of all of the things that had happened during the previous few years my confidence was shot. I think that it was a combination of the students sensing my insecurities and the fact that they were a difficult bunch that really put the icing on everything. Let's just say that I came home and cried on occasion. It was this year, more than any other where I really considered leaving the teaching profession.
When we were asked about what we would like to teach for the following year, I asked to have inclusion back and I got it! Only snag was that my partner decided to leave the district. In July I got my students AP scores and surprisingly they did well! I wasn't a failure. I entered the 2016-2017 school year with some new confidence.
This past year was GREAT! My new inclusion partner is young and up for new ideas and even has red hair too! It's cool that we can be pale force together! ;) APUSH was pretty awesome too. I got away from direct instruction as often as I could---this was something that I was afraid to do the previous year with the amount of content I had to cover. My biggest achievement was organizing my first field trip (I promise to blog about it later). I took my APUSH students to Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was an amazing experience!
Now I feel like I am reemerging back into society and coming back to my old self. I'm also really refocusing on self care so that I can be the best teacher I can be.
That all being said----hopefully, you can forgive my three year lapse in posts AND hopefully I will be able to better maintain a presence on my blog in the future!