19 May 2016

Retirement - #100DayProject - Day 049

Retirement - Making goals after attending a retirement Open House. | EdTechBabble.net
Image Source: Pixabay.com
I was able to honor a former teacher turned colleague tonight and it was an eye-opening experience for me. My 5th-grade teacher retired this year after 30 years (!!!) in education. Just typing it makes me emotional. It makes me realize just how short a career can be.

Goal 1 - More Play at Recess

Mr. Whitmer was a great teacher and I enjoyed his class, but I've been reflecting the last couple of days on what made it so enjoyable and I think I have something, maybe. Mr. Whitmer had a mantra that I have since stolen (isn't that what all great artists/teachers do?) and use in my classroom, Work Hard and Play Hard. Mr. Whitmer was always coming outside and playing with us at Recess. He would make sure we were out and enjoying what is supposed to be fun about school. Suddenly I feel like I'm not measuring up because when was the last time I went outside and played with my students? I am going to change that for the rest of this school year and years to come, more Recess time where Mr. Larson is outside playing and being fun.

Goal 2 - More Consistent Read Alouds

Another thing about Mr. Whitmer's class was that he always had a Read Aloud book that he was reading to us, like ALWAYS. I loved that! That is one area I have tried to emulate, but I haven't been as diligent as he was. I often start a book and then we start to lose interest after a little while because I've struggled to find the best time to read this year with my grade-level change. Being more diligent with reading aloud to my students daily is going to be added to my goals for next year and beyond.

Goal 3 - More Student Choice

While I don't have the best of memory, I do remember doing some fun projects. While I do have my students do different types of projects, I need to do more with them. But I want to take the project idea a step further, not because Mr. Whitmer did, but because I want to make sure the projects are not only fun but that they are more Student Choice and less Teacher Choice. I need to make sure I am prepared to offer students more choice in their major assignments so they can have more ownership and may actually want to complete them. While I plan to allow more student choice in my room next year, I am working on a guest-post where a colleague and friend of mine will tell about her experiences with letting go and allowing more student choice in her classroom this year, so keep an eye out for it in the coming days/weeks.

While retirement is both a happy and sad thing, I take more hope from the events of today. I hope to make changes in my classroom that will allow for my future students to receive a more successful and fun school year. Thanks Mr. Whitmer for your 30 years of service to the most important and under-appreciated career out there, education. I hope to make you proud in the coming months as I try to be a little more like you in the classroom.

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