Saturday, December 29, 2012

Teaching Inspiration and Resolutions 2012-2013

I've mentioned before that teaching inspiration came to me this summer, when I felt that I had become stagnant and at a loss as an educator.  Some of this stagnation was just the general circumstances we face as teachers, some was based on my particular teaching circumstances in the moment, and some was just the natural cycle of teaching for so many years--questioning whether or not this was going to be my long-term path.  At 42 years old, did I see myself doing this forever?  If you had asked me a year ago, the answer would have been no.

Where did this inspiration come from?  I have to thank a handful of specific bloggers for lighting that spark.  I was looking for ideas to energize me, and to help me remember that a) I'm so lucky to do this job, and b) this job is fun. Somehow, I found the ladies below.  I could go on about what each of them unknowingly did for me. In the unlikely event you have not been to their blogs already, you should just head on over and see for yourselves:
Once the school year began and I decided to try blogging myself, I happened upon a few other blogs that I read voraciously whenever they post, and where I always find some sort of nugget of truth and inspiration:

indent (This is the name of the blog, but there is no button--click the link to visit.)
Christopher Lehman (ditto)
Finally, like many, I was also inspired by Pinterest.  My crazy ugly classroom needed a facelift, and I got so many ideas from pictures of classrooms on there that I ended up spending waaaay too much money on what I now refer to as my "spacelift". It may seem silly and trivial and very non-cerebral to some, but going to a place where I don't feel like I teach in a converted mental hospital each day is awesome.  I am now also obsessed with Dollar Tree--curse you Pinterest!
Now for looking forward.  I'm linking up with Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness for her Resolution Solution linky, and Diane at Teaching with Moxie for her resolution linky as well:

Teaching Resolutions:
1.  I've done pretty well when it comes to my #1 start of the school year resolution, which was to just enjoy the kids more.  In my effort to keep things moving and keep my management tight, I've often forgotten to just stop, look around, and enjoy the fact that I get to spend my day teaching and learning with kids.  I feel good about that so far this year, and need to re-commit to that as we move into the period of time before out state testing.  I don't want the stress to fit everything in to make me lose sight of this important resolution.

2.  Use as much technology as possible.  I use it to the extent I can and know how to, but I want to do more.  We have a great tech resource specialist for elementary grades in my district, so I need to haunt him a little bit. He'll be coming to help me set all of my kiddos up on Google Drive in January, so that's a start.  I also want the kids to do some podcasting, and we'll be making book trailers during historical fiction book clubs.  I'd also like to use more video clips in my lessons, not just to show movies, but for the purposes of visual literacy and working on those speaking and listening standards.

I have a million more, but I need to focus, so those are the big teaching ones.

Blogging Resolutions:
1.  Take more pictures during lessons.  I've been finding myself with things I'd like to post about, but that I forgot to photograph in the moment, and then the moment is gone.  Blog posts about lessons without visuals aren't as easy for me to understand when I'm reading, so I'm sure that others need that visual as well.

3.  This fits with #1--Participate in Krissy's (Venspired) See the Good project.  365 photos, one a day for the rest of the year? I'm going to try.  Having a list of suggestions like she blogged about will help me with this one! Staying positive by seeing the good in each day seems like a pretty good resolution to me. Anyone want to join me? Look at that hashtag on this here picture:
Dare I make a Twitter resolution as well?  No!  However, once the pic is blogged about, it's really not that hard to do...

Personal Resolutions:
1.  Family first.  Come home from work at a reasonable hour, and leave work behind--period.

2.  Reduce the coffee intake.  It's just scary, is all I'm saying. (Notice how I didn't say give up?)

I've read so many resolutions around the blogging community, and I'm inspired by so many, wanting to add them to my list.  I love that we all head into the New Year with so many good intentions.  Whether we stick to them or not, just the making of them speaks to the good there is in the world. So important right now.  


  1. Hi Heather!
    I found your blog through Megan because she is going to design our blog (Yay!). I completely understand how you felt at the beginning of the school year. I have felt similar feelings and I've only been teaching 13 years. I just started blog stalking and I think it really does help seeing so many wonderful teachers sharing their ideas!

    Your idea for the book trailers is so cute! I LOVE it!! It sounds like you have really set some goals for yourself that are truly inspirational!

    We just started blogging. Check us out if you get a chance!

    Collaboration Cuties

  2. Hi Amanda--oh my gosh, Megan is so great to work with. She has infinite patience. I will post about the book trailers when I get closer. Last year it was something I threw together at the last minute in an effort to try out my new iPad. The kids, especially the boys, were CRAZY engaged. This year, I'm going to be much more planful (is that a word?) about it.

    I'm your newest follower--love your blog title :)

  3. Heather- Thank you so much for your love! You are too kind! I am a young/newish teacher, so the fact that you are able to find even SOME inspiration from my teeny tiny blog means so much! Blogging has also helped to put an extra pep in my step, and the ideas and resources that I gain from other bloggers, like yourself, has been amazing. Thanks again! Happy New Year!! :)

    YoungTeacherLove 5th Grade Blog

    1. You're welcome! I've really enjoyed reading your blog, and have been so motivated by your CCSS Math work--it has helped me tremendously. You know what--when I started teaching in the 90's (oh my), I was always struck by two categories of experienced teachers: those who were totally jaded and burnt out, and those who wanted to learn from their colleagues, regardless of age or experience. I felt myself becoming the former, and so many of you saved me. Age and experience don't always matter when it comes to helping one another--a desire to be better is what counts :)

      Happy New Year to you as well!

  4. Hi Heather,

    I found you in the Linky party and am your newest follower. I could really relate to many aspects of your post-incorporating more technology into the classroom is always a goal of mine. Doing a book trailer sounds so cool! Your blogging goal about incorporating more pictures into your blog is a great one, too! I love how you ended your post as well-whether we keep our goals or not, the fact that we have them shows just how much good there truly still is in this work-SO important for us to remember. Thank you for sharing that! I also just wanted to say I love what you said in the post above about the two categories of experienced teachers. I'm only in my fifth year of teaching, but I agree, it is important that regardless of age, we're all committed to learning from one another and to not let ourselves be jaded and burnt out. Sadly, I think there are teachers at all spectrums of age and experience who become pessimistic. Although I'm new to this whole blogging thing, reading others' blogs has helped me know that there is SO much passion and many new ideas out there for educators who want to keep learning from one another. Good luck to you in the New Year! :)

    1. Hi Kasey--you are so nice to comment! Good luck to you in 2013 as well, and I'm hunting down your blog right now :)

  5. Heather--Thank you for sharing your experiences. I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate knowing I am not alone in my experiences. Thank you for becoming one of my new followers. After reading your recent post, I knew I just had to become one of yours, as well. The teaching profession is tough and draining. I began my blog for many of the same reasons as you. Blogging has rejuvenated me, as I hope it has for you.

    Thank you again and I look forward to connecting with you more!

    Confessions of a Teachanista

    1. Thanks Caralee. Such a cute blog name--love it.

  6. Thanks so much for linking up and sharing your resolutions! I'm not sure how I wasn't following your blog already, but I am now! :) Here's to hoping we can keep our resolutions and have a FANTASTIC 2013! {Love the 365 photo idea!}

    Teaching Maddeness

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for hosting the linky! Amen on keeping the resolutions. So glad you stopped by--Happy 2013 :)

  7. Just checked out the See the Good project. I need this in my little world right now. It's so very easy to get sidetracked by the negative and fall into that pit. Love it! I agree with the picture part. I love pictures on blogs because it helps me get a good feel for the lesson. I usually think about what I want to take pictures of for my blog when I write lesson plans. When I think about it ahead of time, I usually manage to get a picture of it! Happy New Year and good luck on your resolutions!!

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

    1. Isn't it a great idea? It's going to force me to stay positive. I've mostly felt that way this year, but the start of the New Year = the state test looming. The stress of that tends to change the vibes at school, and I'm not always great at deflecting that. Happy 2013 :)

  8. Hi Heather!

    How are your doing? I've been thinking and praying for all my CT friends. Your 12/18 post really hit home for me. We lived in CT for 14 years before we moved to Texas, so I still feel close to many people there.

    Thanks for linking up with your resolutions. I, too, need to remember to take pictures of our lessons. I have a classroom blog and I love to post the pictures there, too. I use Smilebox or Animoto to create mini slide shows of what we are learning. So fun!

    Wishing you a fabulous 2013!

    Teaching With Moxie

    1. Hi Diane--where in CT did you live? Texas must be so completely different. We're covered in about a foot of snow right now :) I've always wanted to do a classroom blog--good for you. I'l have to check out those 2 programs.

      Happy 2013 :)