Monday, May 20, 2013

End-of-Year Reflections

WOW- Another year just about under our belts!
And what a year it has been...
Lots of ups and downs but overall a great year!

We are linking up with Erin at Miss Lifesaver for end-of-year reflections.  This is the perfect time to think back on where we were when the year started, what went well, and what we would change for next year.

Erin posed three questions to reflect on...
1- What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this year?
2- What was the biggest personal challenge you faced this year?
3- How do you think you've grown from your experiences?

Antoinette's answers will be in blue. :)
Emily's answers will be in aqua. 

Biggest professional challenge-
If I was to come up with a one word theme for this year, CHANGE would it!

As I have discussed in numerous previous post, after 13 years in the classroom, I decided to expand my experience in the world of teaching and become a Teaching and Learning Coach (instructional coach).
My "students" became the teachers.
My "classroom" became two NEW schools.
My "team" became 11 other educators who I only got to meet with and see every other week instead of daily.

This position was brand new to our district, so none of us knew exactly what to expect.  To add to this, our district took on MANY changes...
Common Core
Apple Computers
Balanced Literacy
Rigor and Relevance

My thoughts exactly, in the beginning of the year, where it was as if our position was the Louisiana Territory and we were Lewis and Clark being sent off into the vast unknown to explore, learn, and bring back our findings.

Well the first leg of the expedition is coming to a close and I am happy to announce that I survived!  I am also happy to announce that I really love my new position.  I love all of the new learning I have experienced and love that there is so much more to come.  I love working with the principals and teachers in my buildings and helping them with all of the changes and new learning being introduced.  Most of all, I love my new team!  I work with the most amazing group.  There are no cliques or competitiveness.  We are truly a team and I am blessed to have started this journey with these people.

Biggest personal challenge-
In August, along with everything else I was taking in, I decided that I wanted to change my unhealthy lifestyle and finally take off the many, many unnecessary pounds that have accumulated throughout the years.  I am EXTREMELY happy to announce that I have shed 56 pounds!
I feel like a different person!
I am a different person!
Although I still have a ways to go, I am so proud of what I have accomplished.  I have learned how to eat healthy and balance splurges on things I really want.  I have learned to cook... I actually own so many spices that I am considering buying a spice rack. lol  I have joined a gym and am enjoying a variety of classes.  I am putting my health and happiness as a priority and hopefully adding years onto my life.

Growth from these experiences-
I think I have somewhat addressed this in the first two answers...
A favorite quote is "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."  That is pretty much it in a nutshell.  I am a stronger person!  What is life without taking risks?  How do you grow as a person without learning new things and embracing change?
It's scary...
But, it feels great in the end when you succeed.
Life delivers all types of pitches...
curve balls
fast balls
change ups
Yes... sometimes you swing and miss, BUT what an amazing feeling when your bat actually comes in contact with the ball.
Overcoming challenges is what life is about.
It defines who you are today!
That is how I have grown from these experiences...
I am a stronger person!

Hey!  I am so excited this year is almost over!
Biggest Professional Challenge
In the past few years I have not had a year where I taught the same thing in the same classroom.  (I am kind of a nomad.) After 3 years of teaching 3rd grade in 3 different classrooms, I took Antoinette's position as a 5th grade teacher.  (Technically I stepped into a few of Antoinette's prior roles in my building!)  
I taught 5th grade when I was a beginning teacher.  (Boy have I changed!)  
I've taught this group of kids before. (This group of kids will challenge you EVERY DAY.)  
I told myself every day, you are doing the best you can.

I am super into music so I pulled part of the lyrics from a song that represents me this year:
I'm the wind
You're the kite
They were right when they said
We were breathing underwater
Out of place all the time

In a world that wasn't mine to take

I'll wait
Is this my life?
Am I breathing underwater?     -"Breathing Underwater" by Metric

The final verse sums up my current emotion:
Lights of days
Will beat a path through the mirrored maze
I can see the end
But it hasn't happened yet             
(8 more days!!)

Biggest Personal Challenge
This has been a year of solving problems.
I severely broke my ankle 5 years ago.   I have had some kind of surgery or injections every year since.  This year, I went to an ankle specialist.  I had what will be my final surgery for the next 5-10 years!  
I have spent the last 5 months completing physical therapy.  (I actually graduated therapy last week.  Love the PT I worked with!)  It's not where I want it to be, but I can do the rest of the work on my own now.  
Cause of ankle problems found and solved (sort of).

Also, I have been on a fertility journey for a year now.  
I am SO thankful to my second opinion doctor.  He found that I had stage IV endometriosis.  Now I have been able to get treatment, and it has answered all my questions about why things just weren't working the way they were "supposed to."  

Growth from this experience
I don't care how many times I hear it, I am still learning patience is a virtue.  
Also, patience is rewarded.  
Be open to possibilities.  
This hasn't been an easy year in my classroom, but I know next year it will be better.  I will be more prepared for the challenges 5th grade comes with.  
I have also learned that it is AWESOME not to pack up your classroom and move!  
I look forward to being in the same room next year, with a great group of kids (I've had them before!)

As you think back about your school year and your life, what reflections do you have?  Have you found a new focus?  Learned something new about yourself?

Head over to Miss Lifesaver's blog and link up!

Antoinette and Emily


  1. Thanks, ladies, for linking up! You both went through some MAJOR changes this year, but it sounds like you've done a lot of growing. Congrats on the HUGE health progress to you both!

  2. Antoinette, I am a literacy coach and this is my first year in the position as well. I feel like this year was a complete blur, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. Definitely a different perspective and eye-opening!! Huge congrats to you as well on such an accomplishment with your weight loss!