Our math department has taken a beating this year. For the most part, it has been the individual battles that several of us have had to fight. Parents are more demanding, administration is more demanding, students are more needy. We all feel completely maxed out and can't imagine what more we can give, yet that's what is expected when students aren't doing well. I chalk it up to either students being coddled too much in previous years or our society where values are changing.
It's hard for us to focus on the good. The good students, the good lessons, the good parents. It's even harder to reflect on improvement when we're constantly thinking of what parent is going to call next or whether administration backs us and appreciates what we try to do.
My professional goal this year is to balance my sarcastic personality and laid-back style with respect and order in the classroom. I'm doing this by observing other teachers and making notes of specific things I take away. The first teacher I observed did a lot of SMILING. She let students tease her, but didn't tease back. She spoke quickly and got down to business, yet it felt un-intimidating because of her happy demeanor. I wonder if I can get to that point... When I'm always feeling a bit disorganized, behind, and over-worked, is it possible to keep a smile on my face? Maybe I just need practice!
The new semester starts in 2 weeks. Since my precalc class is only a semester course, I get a second round this year. I also did both geometries last year, so I have hope for feeling organized, prepared, and on top of things. I'm looking forward to the fresh start immensely. I'm also looking forward to the time I have during the review and final exam weeks.