So long 2015…the year I found myself

Reflecting on 2015

 

This year has been such a blessing… It’s definitely one that will go down in the books, along with the year I came to the USA, and the year I got married.

On Tuesday I did a periscope (@bonbrad) challenge, which was started by the always insightful The Whimsical Teacher. I’ll use a similar format for my reflection here.

Things that went well in 2015

Connecting with teachers via Periscope and Twitter

So many things have come from #theperiscopeteachertakeoverof2015. I was able to connect with like-minded teachers from all around the world. Through these teachers’ generosity and support, I’ve realized that I can accomplish great things! I’ve always sat on the sidelines and thought “I don’t have anything worthwhile to offer on tpt” or “anything I write on a blog will never help other teachers” or “the classrooms I’ve seen around here aren’t like THAT..I can’t do that”  or “teachers here don’t do things like that”.

Thanks to connecting with these teachers I now believe in myself and my potential as a teacher and a lifelong learner. I have started to step out of my comfort zone and started pushing myself towards greatness (I still have a very long way to go). But, I have found my tribe!

Now, not only are these teachers providing me with support and self confidence – but they are full of some AMAZING ideas!!! I’m constantly learning from them and being inspired!

Discovering the Ron Clark Academy (RCA)

Ron Clark was Disney teacher of the year ages ago, and appeared on Oprah after that. There was a movie made about him, starring Matthew Perry (it’s a must watch and definitely a tear jerker). He started his own school in downtown Atlanta Georgia – and it is the type of school all teachers DREAM about working at. There is an app and some of the amazing teachers who work there have blogs and are on periscope! Hope King (Elementary Shenanigans) and Kim Bearden (co-founder of RCA) are two of my favorites. This school and Ron’s journey are a huge inspiration to me – to be bold and not hide my passion! When you think of people who think/teach outside of the box — these teachers think/teach outside of this galaxy!!

Finding a balance

It is my third year teaching and my second year as a 4th grade teacher. My first year was pretty stressful on me and my marriage. I spent a lot of late nights at school and said yes to any and all social invitations (when you don’t have any friends (besides your hubby) within thousands of miles, you’ll do anything to connect). My second year I spent very little extra time at school… I was inspired by another teacher to just leave work after work. Two things made this easier to do: I was in a portable, which is scary when it gets dark, and we had planning in the morning, before any instructing – so there was little pressure to work after hours. I still accepted any and all social invitations. This year… I have found a much better balance – I only stay late twice a week at the most, and I still don’t do as much work at home as I did in my first year. I am a much happier teacher this year!!

Things that did not go well in 2015

Blogging

Even though I created this blog over the summer, and promised that I was going to be more present here, I failed miserably! I have not posted once since the school year started – and so many things have been happening in my room!!

Inspiration overload

I have been inspired by so many teachers and have had so many great ideas “coming at me” this summer and at the beginning of the school year, that I think I have been a little frozen. I’ve definitely tried a lot of things and have had great success – but I’ve also not put as much effort into my lesson planning as I should. I think I’ve been trying so many cool things that I started to think “hmmm… you know what, I try my best and work very hard, that’s all I can offer – my best.” But in reality, I have a lot more to offer and I’ve not been trying my absolute best. 

Jack of many trades, master of none

I feel like my love of learning can sometimes be a bad thing. If I don’t channel my energy, I take on way too much. This year I joined the gym, I started (and stopped) running, I started playing around with hand lettering and doodling, I started a tpt store, I tried to start this blog, I set a reading goal (to read 50 books)… I am not good at any of that stuff #yet!! I think if I had focused on one thing – I would have at least mastered it enough to then take on another new adventure. 

People who inspired me this year

  • Amy Harris (She is such a genuine person and has been amazing in terms of welcoming me into her circle of friends. She has also inspired me in so many ways – as a teacher, a learner, and a person.)
  • Hope King (I mentioned her earlier – she is SUCH a passionate teacher who has helped me understand and accept that it is okay to “bring your work home”. She has also changed the way I look at lesson planning…she’s the teacher I want to be when I grow up.)
  • The Whimsical Teacher (I also mentioned her earlier, but Jess is such a unique person and spirit. She has such a kind heart and is so generous and supportive of people. I have learned so much from her with regard to tpt, teaching, and how to be 100% you – no matter what. She is definitely my cup of tea, and I will take a bottomless cup thank you very much!!)
  • Sheila Jane (This woman is a power house. She is support epitomized. She is the biggest teacher cheerleader. I’m not sure how she fits everything she does into her schedule, but she pops up constantly, cheering teachers on and encouraging them relentlessly. She makes me feel like I can make a difference by encouraging other people – one person can make a HUGE difference via social media.)
  • Mr. Chris Wooleyhand (He’s a local principal here and we met at an EdCamp – he insisted **cough** I mean encouraged me to get back into twitter, and I haven’t looked back. Twitter chats have helped me connect and collaborate with both local and distant teachers who may not be on periscope. He’s also super supportive and encouraging – making me feel like I have some insight worth sharing. He even asked me to collaborate on a blog he wrote, which meant a lot to me.)
  • Brenda Schoener (I did not know Brenda well, I only met her a few times – but her legacy is such an inspiration. Again, she proves that one person can make a significant difference in the lives of many people. She passed away a month ago after a long battle with cancer. I got to know her better through the stories her children shared at the memorial as well as the photographs that were shared. I also learned that she had a love for feathers…and I have always loved feathers, but could never really explain why. Now- this love (and all the feathers I’ve collected) will forever be a reminder of this Godly woman and her legacy.)

 

Thanks for joining me as I reflected on 2015… to find out how I plan to learn from my mistakes of 2015 (aka the things that did not go well), you’ll have to tune in on January 2nd. I’ll be linking up with Ashley and Angie for the #2getherwearebetter January blog post.

Before you leave… what is something that went well for you in 2015? Something that did not go well? And who inspired you this year?

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6 thoughts on “So long 2015…the year I found myself

  1. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year, Bonita! Your students are very lucky to have such an innovative and curious teacher! 💖💖💖. I’m so glad to know you!

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  2. What a great way to reflect on your year! I too feel I have so many ideas coming at me that I can get a little overwhelmed and unfocused! I hope to work on that better in the new year!

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    • Hi Rachel! Thanks for reading! 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like that… let’s hope we can all learn how to channel and filter the inspiration so that it best benefits our lives (and the lives of those around us, including our students). All the best for 2016!

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  3. That post was everything! I can definitely relate to taking on alot of things with the intention of mastering them but then falling short somewhat. Teachers are so creative and inspiring. We juggle so much. Something that went well for me this year would have to be the beginning of channeling my focus and heart into what I realllly want to do. #thebestisyettocome

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    • Thanks Sahleesa! It’s always good to know that you’re not isolated in your feelings or situation. I have to agree with you #thebestISyettocome 😀 Thanks for stopping by!!

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