I survived!

That’s right — I survived! Survived what you ask? Well, here’s what I survived:

  • 19 GRADUATE credit hours
  • MIDDLE school
  • teaching engineers

Before I decided to double degree (or whatever you call it), there were many who doubted and questioned my decision. “There’s no way you can do all of that,” and “Are you really sure this is what you want to do?” Well, those were just a few of the comments. Until the start of the semester, I kept quiet. Colleagues asked how I was managing and my response was always the same, “We will know soon enough!” But now that the semester is over, I’m not holding it in — I DID IT!!!

But enough of all that (though it still feels GREAT to hear myself say that I’m done, haha!:-) )…on to my semester reflection!Too bad I don’t have my pecha kucha to show you all…well, actually maybe that’s a good thing, ha! If you haven’t heard of what this is, check it out. Basically, picture this: 20 slides, 15 seconds each, 5 minutes total of my final thoughts. It’s not as easy as it might appear. Yet, overall, I think it was a neat way to present your information and stay on point…you couldn’t go off track or else your speech was off with the images that were helping narrate your points. (Note: images! I’m a big fan of the visual in the classroom and am excited to see how this new pecha kucha idea works out down the road in my classroom.)

So, what did my pecha kucha say? Well, I think if I could sum it up in a few points it would go something like this…

  • I’m not a middle school teacher. OK, well, I knew this before going into middle school, but now I REALLY know. I love kids. But I think I’m better suited for older students and can create more change at the high school level. With that said, maybe if I had a different middle school experience, I wouldn’t knock it out completely. Not saying I had a bad one, but I felt so restrained and confined into someone I’m not. I like trying new ideas out and I didn’t really have the freedom to do that at all. I mean don’t get me wrong, I had some really great teaching experiences. From Poe to grammar, I did enjoy teaching my own lessons, but it just wasn’t the right fit for me (if that makes sense at all???).
  • I do think new literacies have a place in today’s classroom (this should be common sense!). From digital to visual to “underground,” we need to focus on the new and emerging literacies our students face on a daily basis OUTSIDE of our classrooms and think of new ways to bring them into the classroom walls.
  • I have a voice. I repeat, I HAVE A VOICE! Another thing I have known all along, but a point that I do not think many acknowledge. To some, I’m just a “new” teacher with “overly ambitious” ideas. But my voice, my ideas DO have a place in the teaching world. I think I really recognized this fact at the NCTE conference (though even some people there talked with me as if I were one of their students at first!).
  • With my voice/ideas, I want to create a ripple. And it’s ok if that ripple has a little splash to it. I’m OK with creating a bit of chaos (if that means I’m staying true to myself, my voice). I’m OK with pushing my students’ comfort zones and my own. I think after all, that’s how we really learn, especially in today’s diverse society.

Next semester, I will be working with all seniors, including both general English and AP. I’m excited to see how I can bring my voice into the classroom. A big jump from teaching 8th grade, but one that I’m ready to leap into! This doesn’t mean I’m not “nervous,” though. I’ve already lined up some refresher texts so I’ll be able to review “senior year” readings and be ready to go…

(I really just want to teach.)

And my voice….matters. I guess this is a little bit more behind the making of English Teacher 2.0…

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