Combating change; it’s all progress

No apologies for 10 months with no posts. Life happens.

Someone told me this week they liked my writing. Inspiration comes from all over. So here I am again.

Another school year – number 6 for me – is 9 weeks underway, but with so many changes, I feel like a newbie again. Making the change from PASS skills to Common Core Standards and going from block scheduling to 7-period days has had me changing up everything. Plus, I added a class I’ve wanted since my first year – introduction to journalism. Every weekend is built around revamping English lessons to fit CCSS and shorter time periods while adhering to an overall schedule that agrees with what my peers are doing in their English I classes, inventing lessons for the intro class and trying to make sure my newspaper class and yearbook class are getting a chance to get done what they need to in their reduced time periods.

Upon waking on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I immediately begin thinking about what I have to accomplish in order to be prepared on Monday or even feeling guilty if I am behind. BEHIND – on a weekend, which is supposed to be a time of regeneration. There is very little regeneration.

It’s so hard to prioritize when everything seems to be a priority.

But it’s not all bad. The more I get to know this year’s students, the more attached to them I become. I’m learning what works for some and what works for others, when to push, when to leave them be for a bit. I’m beginning to see growth in many of the younger ones, more focus on what they need to be doing.

My intro kids are researching journalists and, for the most part, seem to really be into what they are learning. They share tidbits of what they are learning, from what Ida B. Wells’ childhood was like to “Hemingway was a jerk.” Yes, he had some rather jerkish qualities. It’s stuff they won’t forget. They are in charge of what they are learning. That makes me smile. I’m going to enjoy their presentations. I should find something similar for my English freshmen to do. It’s empowering.

The newspaper and yearbook kids know this empowerment well. It’s sometimes squashed by deadlines and stress, but that comes with the territory. I really love what I do, and every day I think about ways to make it all easier or better.

Just like the kids, I’m a work in progress.

About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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