Reflection, and a Look Forward

Well, it is that time of year again – the time when everyone looks back on the year behind them and plans (or resolves) what they will do in the year ahead of them. I believe that it should be no different for me on a professional level. So here we go:

2010 was an awesome year, in that I learned more about what it is that I do than I had in the past three years combined. The past three months has been a huge period of growth and maturity for myself as a teacher, but I would still describe myself as being in the “young-adult” years of my teaching career, in that I am trying to fine-tune my teaching philosophy and implement all of the wonderful things that I have learned. I will look back on 2010 as being a time where I soaked up so much knowledge so quickly that, even though I was mentally exhausted at times, I still kept pressing on, impressed by all of the amazing things that I was learning. I read some very informative books, a lot of which I will keep around so that I can dive back into them for some inspiration when I feel the need to.

2010 was not just a year of amazing knowledge-building. 2010 was the year that I changed the mood of my classroom. I still have a LOT of work to do, but I am proud to say that I am on the road to building my classroom into a community of children, families, and teachers, rather than feeling as if I am walking into a gauntlet made up of students every day. Because of this, I am enjoying my job much more than I did at the beginning of 2010. I do have a lot to do to keep building this feeling of community, and that brings us to:

My Goals for 2011

My first goal for 2011 is to continue to expand my knowledge about progressive and Reggio-Emilia inspired teaching practices. I am well on my way to achieving this goal already, since I received some wonderful resources for Christmas that will help me attain this goal.

My second goal for 2011 is to continue to implement the things I have learned and make them felt in tangible ways. This includes:

  • Developing a system by which I will offer the children in my class real and tangible things to experiment with and discover. I will find ways to display these items in ways that will inspire the children to experiment and create with the items that I offer the children.
  • Develop a better documentation system that will not only better inform the parents as to what their children are learning and accomplishing in the classroom, but will inspire the children to continue to revisit, experiment, and discover more about the projects that we undertake.
  • Make the families of the children in my care more a part of the classroom than they are now. Make them feel like they are welcome and included in the classroom environment. Find a way not just to inspire more parental involvement, but to make the parents and the children feel more like the daycare is an extension of their home rather than an entirely separate place that the children go to for a huge block of their day.
  • Make the day less regimented than it is now, which will make transition times less of a stressful time, not just for myself but for the children as well. Give them more options, and make the things that they like doing (such as painting) more accessible to them so that they can do it whenever they want to.

There are others, I’m sure, but these are the main ones. I would like to see more parental involvement and more knowledge given to the parents of what we are actually accomplishing in the classroom. I would also like to see the children given more opportunities to explore and experiment, and more items to do that with. I know that with the ideas that I am trying to implement, 2011 will be a great year as well, perhaps even greater than 2010.

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