Student work: this image makes me long for the carefree life of High School!
As the school year begins to wind down, I am reminded that the school year never truly ends for teachers. The summer is a time to relax and recharge, but it is also a time for reflection. Reflection can sometimes by missed or skipped due to our busy schedules and fast-paced lives. Teachers can often skip reflection all together due to trying to cram everything in before the close of the school year. But taking time to reflect is a very important part of education. In my art classes, we work hard and fast on school projects in order to create, create, create! Talking about what was done really helps the high school students understand what they did and WHY. And it also helps me to understand what they thought about a particular lesson or project.
This summer, I plan on taking my time and renewing my love for teaching. Statistics state that most teachers leave the profession after only three years. I was just talking to my sister-in-law about the new rigorous educator evaluation system being put into place next year. Her question to me: "Do doctors or lawyers undergo an evaluation system like the kind that teachers are put through? How can teachers not get burnt out?" Great questions--and those answers are better saved for another post. My point is that this is my 3rd year of teaching, and I won't lie and say that I'm not exhausted! I have found that I have put so much time and effort into teaching (working what feels like around the clock), that I think I need a bit of a break. No, I'm not leaving; I just need time to reflect on the past three years and decide what works, what doesn't, and how should I continue in order to be successful in the future. During the last summer I have taken art courses, photographed weddings, and relaxed with friends and family; this summer I plan to do the same, but with more time spent reflecting and relaxing. How am I doing and what can I do better--both in my career and in life. I cannot imaging working as a CEO for 80 hours a week with 2 weeks or less of vacation. Our bodies and minds need to rest and recharge--that is why we need to sleep 7 hours a night. I feel that Americans neglect this rest and reflection even though there have been many studies that cite the benefits. Because teachers have the summers off, we are helping our students to succeed in giving ourselves that time to recoup and regenerate.
Next year I will have my first student teacher from Boston University. I am excited to welcome here here at Burlington High School, but I am also looking forward to helping her thrive and not be the third year fed-up teacher statistic in her future.
I have accomplished so much these past three years and I am proud of these accomplishments; I should be proud of them. I often teach my students to take a step back after creating and appreciate what they've done; share the work and be proud! I love my students and my school, and I want to be happy here with them. I would have never dreamed that I would love my job so much; but I truly am in my dream job. I want to feel that way in ten years, so this summer is for you, Mr. Mistler.
I teach art at Burlington High School in Burlington, Massachusetts. My goals include teaching my students to live and thrive with 21st century learning skills while helping them to learn valuable creative artistic thinking and technical skill.