I generally set goals at the beginning of the school year, but the #SundayFunday blogging prompt has got me thinking about them a little early. (Consider joining me for #SundayFunday - a weekly blogging prompt where you can get inspiration!)
I have spent the past year really focusing in on creating a curriculum for Algebra 2 Honors as well as trying to make some significant changes to the way we use our Problem-Based curriculum in Geometry Honors. While curriculum is always important, this year my hope is to make small changes with that and instead focus on student relationships. All my goals are centered around that theme. (As a caveat, I feel like I do always spend time working on relationship building....I simply want to center my goals around that theme this year!)
Something I used to do, but that got pushed to the back burner last year was to write cards to all my students. I started with having a list of all my students and through the course of the school year I made sure to write cards to every person. I also included a lot of teachers/staff/faculty in my card-writing. I LOVE getting cards/letters from people. There is still something about hand written card (compared to an email) that makes me happy. I am reviving this again this year!
I want to be more obvious with language changes in my classroom this year. I followed along a conversation on Twitter during/after #TMC that I believe was started by something Glenn Waddell said and/or presented. I want to make sure when I address my students, they don't have to think about their gender. No more, "hey guys." I want it to be my goal to use non-gendered language when asking for the attention of the group (or even smaller groups).
My other language shift is inspired from Tracy Zager's book (Becoming the Math Teacher you Wish you'd had). When students use language calling problems "easy" or "hard," etc as they're doing them, that can shut down other students who might not think they're so easy. I haven't done a great job with shutting this down in the past, but I want to have open, honest conversations with my classes about using this language. I loved the conversation that transpired in the book. I'm hoping that by being transparent about my desire to stop using that language, that it will be easier for students to not use it or to correct themselves when it happens.
Lastly (though not the last change I will make...but the final goal I'm setting for now), I want to seriously rethink homework. The biggest shift in my thinking has actually come from becoming pregnant. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the tiny human that is about to join our lives and what I want for him. The students at my school can be assigned 30-45 minutes of homework PER class, PER night. That is crazy. I really want these kids to also be kids. I want them to have time to have a meaningful conversation with their families. I want to make sure that if I'm assigning homework, it is necessary. It doesn't mean I'll never assign it again. I simply want to be more thoughtful about it.
That's all for now...I'm going to #pushsend because I definitely meant to blog this yesterday!