This time last year for the first time since I started teaching I was not setting up my classroom. Instead I was helping a colleague set up her classroom as I took a one year leave of absence in order to fill in as a sabbatical replacement in teacher education. I have not blogged as much as I would have liked to as my experiences last year, possibly because the experiences were different than the general topics I typically write about on my blog.
In many ways, taking the leave of absence was a great way to stand back and reflect on my classroom practice while also revisiting my own teacher preparation program. Interacting with pre-service teachers and seeing education through their lenses reminded me of the dynamics of those in my teacher ed program. It reminded me of my passion and my vision for education before I stepped into my first full-time teaching position. It was a chance to reflect on which aspects may have been forgotten through the busy first years of my career, as well as to celebrate what I was able to do that aligned with my teaching and learning philosophy.
Tomorrow I will officially step back into my role as a 6th-8th grade language arts teacher in English and Spanish at a public dual immersion charter school. I have already set up most of my classroom library, including a new shelf for graduated students who have moved onto the high school. I have been thinking through what the school year will look like and how I will launch reading and writing workshop this year. I will also have the opportunity to provide one period a week of push-in support for a couple of Spanish immersion colleagues in the younger grades. I look forward to learning and growing with them, gaining familiarity with their 2/3 and 4/5 students. Fall term I will also have an opportunity to keep one foot in higher ed as I will be teaching one adjunct course.
Last year I savored the time to think, reflect, and grow through both the final year of my doctoral program and through the sabbatical replacement. I am energized to start my 8th year as an educator.