The director of Education sent out an e-mail to all Peel Board staff. He reflectied on a few questions and challenged us to do the same. Here are my thoughts...
What did I do in 2006 that makes me most proud?
I suppose it would be the work that I have done in my classroom with my students since August and with mentoring and teaching other teachers about comprehensive literacy. Keeping the lessons simple and mini really works within a framework of reading and writing workshops. In teacher's college making formal and complex lessons was expected; however, keeping lessons simple and focused is better. I have been fortunate over the past year to work with teachers in planning and modeling literacy lessons. Just that little bit of modeling and professional discussion has made a positive impact on the schools I serviced.
What challenged me most this year?
Sometimes my own negativism or high expectations of myself create the moments of biggest challenge. At these times I need to slow down to speed up, to realize that it is best to take small steps one at a time rather than leaps and bounds to make the most impact on myself or others. I can be too hard on myself and wanting to see change too soon, before I am even ready for the change...
Who—or what—really inspired me?
I don't think it was anything big or anyone in particular, but I get greatest inspiration from the small and simple things in life, not the "big" moments. Examples: a child saying to me, "Mrs. Rutter you look pretty today" even when I feel tired and am having a bad hair day. These kinds of comments give me that extra boost to realize my day is good afterall. When my husband, Don, has dinner made when I get home from work, or when he buys me something (usually a candy treat) just because he was thinking of me, or hearing the words, "I love you", or a whistle when Don sees me in the morning. These simple gestures of love and kindness make me feel secure and, yes, even sexy. Looking at the autumn colours and realizing how amazing God is with His artistic touches. These days inspire me to write a poem or paint.
What touched me or surprised me?
I am back in the classroom (grade 2, in a portable) for the first time in three years. A lot of things that have surprised me and touched me this year are the little things I had forgotten (isn't it amazing how quickly we forget the day-to-day things that make life what it is). What touched me - the excitement of seeing the joy of learning and zest for life children have. Children are so naturally curious and fully embrace life. What do we do as adults, or what happens in life along the way, that dampens that spirit as children get older. Children start off wanting to go to school, wanting to learn, wanting to please others around them (particularly the adults), yet so many get turned off of school as they get older. Maybe I am ready for a change in grade to a junior class to try an reverse the trend.
What's the biggest lesson(s) I learned this year?
Keep it simple stupid : it is usually the simple things that make the biggest and lasting impact on myself and others. Also, don't sweat the small stuff: don't worry about what you cannot change. This is a hard lesson for me, considering I have such high expectations of myself. In order to not worry, I am learning to make lemonade when I am thrown a lot of lemons. I know, I know, how cliche of me!