While I feel like this post will read like a brag sheet, I need to remember that the purpose of my blog is to document my journey: where I have been and where I am going. So here it goes...
The last three summers have led into major changes in my teaching routine: 3 years ago my school agreed to change to a block schedule and double the length of our class periods; 2 years ago I agreed to pilot a new textbook, and at the end of the pilot, the textbook I used did not get adopted; so last year I had to implement another new curriculum in another new textbook. This year the major change won't be time or textbooks, it will be with me, as our district has agreed to give teachers a classroom set of chromebooks.
I jumped at the chance to have my very own class chromebook cart, even though it meant signing up for a workshop at the beginning of my summer. I even agreed to join in a summer book study, even though I hadn't finished a book in over two years. [Another post for another day] Let me just say that my youngest daughter was born five weeks early, spent her first six weeks of her life in the NICU and quickly turned my priorities and schedule upside down. I do have a very nice bookcase full of books that I have read over the last twenty years, but since Makena was born I hadn't read a book cover to cover until this month.
After completing the summer workshop and finishing Part One of The Innovator's Mindset (our choice for the book study), I agreed to start blogging. This was a big thing for me, as I am the shy and quiet guy, but I wanted to make an online journal (or digital portfolio) for the upcoming year. After crossing blogging off of my summer checklist I decided to go after my Google Certification. I was able to make use of a quiet week by locking myself in the bedroom for an hour here and an hour there, until I had completed all of the training modules. I used 97% of the allotted test time, and I re-did a few tasks, but I passed the test on the first try. After that I purchased the book The Classroom Chef and promptly read (or devoured) THE ENTIRE BOOK [Woohoo!]. Two days ago I attended the #CATeachersSummit. And earlier today I finished reading The Innovator's Mindset. I have already finished half of a third book and several chapters of a fourth. I can say that I have made the most of my summer by attempting to learn, to read, to discuss, and to GROW.
The Teachers Summit concluded with Kelly Gallagher talking about "The 5% Teacher", the teachers that try to get five percent better every year. My goal for this summer has been to make myself better and I can honestly say that I have been actively working towards that goal. Despite the fact that I am ten years into my teaching career, I am still very much a student. In true student fashion, I am finishing this post at 2 AM Sunday night (or is it morning now?). And to make matters worse, I was almost done with it, so I decided to finally click to save my draft, only to find that my session had decided to "time out" and lose everything I had written...
So if you are reading this (thank you!) I am going to wrap this up by encouraging you to set aside time during your day (or night) to better yourself: open a book and read a chapter or two, join a twitter chat, expand your PLN, try out a new app or website that you may want to use in your class, write a blog post, or take the time to find and read other blogs that will inspire you (what I was doing at 2 AM yesterday). Start adding towards YOUR extra five percent!