This year, I’m teaching those same courses, and already, I feel more excited. I spent a few hours, in a local bookstore and on Amazon, reviewing books and submitted my book orders today, making big changes in texts, based on some topics I saw spark interest in my students last summer. I have ideas for projects and resources, and I will have materials on hand to replicate some of my most successful projects, from making miniature yurts while studying Genghis Khan to a Model United Nations simulation on the digital divide in Latin America. I can envision the classrooms in my mind that I will be using again, and I know the routines and procedures I’ll be following. I am observing a few of the Lower School teachers here to get some tips on classroom management and handling transitions, and I’m scouring Pinterest for ideas and inspiration.
What I’ve learned about myself as a teacher is that I’m a planner: I like to have a global sense of each lesson and how it fits into each unit and how that unit builds on or transitions from the other units. I also like to have frameworks for how each chunk of time will be structured throughout a lesson or day; even if I don’t stick to that framework religiously, I like to know it’s there. Having that security makes me more comfortable if I do add something spontaneously or choose to expand or contract a particular topic. Not having that comfort level with the material last year was nerve-wracking, and I think that this year, feeling more grounded in each of my courses will help me feel more creative and inspired as I move through each day and week.