Hearts of Gold
Hi there, everyone! Hope you all are having an awesome rest of your summer (or what's left of it). Soon, we will begin another school year.
For students, this marks the end of that freeness they feel in not having any responsibilities if only for a couple of months, and stressing about all of the upcoming assignments they know they will soon have. For parents, it means back to school shopping, meeting ANOTHER new teacher that they are to trust their child with for an entire year, and finding a way to get back into that crazy school routine again.
Lastly, for teachers...it means EVERYTHING.
Sure we enjoy our breaks and time off, but any person who knows their heart was made for working with students knows how comforting it is to get back into the classroom where life feels just a little more complete. Then there's those teachers who pretend that you're not doing anything for school ALL summer, but there you are: Pinteresting classroom ideas and buying decorations here and there practically every week (you know who you are).
This year will be my first FULL year of teaching. Last semester, I felt a little rushed and like I didn't truly have the opportunity to carefully think through every detail, set my classroom up nice, or plan my lessons ahead of time. But this year is different. THIS year is the year that I set some goals and actually accomplished them! Like setting up my classroom with a theme:
Creating Hearts of Gold.
Black and gold are the school colors of the middle school I am teaching at this year, which is awesome because gold is my absolute favorite color! AND I had a bunch of things that were black and gold before I even knew I would be working there (and leopard print which just so happens to be the mascot)! I couldn't imagine a better way to have organized my classroom this year than to use the color scheme in our classroom theme.
Creating Hearts of Gold
My mission in my classroom has always been to have my students carry what they learn in my class with them long after they have moved on to bigger and better things. A vast disconnect between students and learning has occurred in school that leaves behind large gaps of meaning in their schooling. Students really need to be able to see that teachers aren't just teaching them about math, science, social studies, or English, but that they are learning about LIFE.
I have always been inspired by the movement, Random Acts of Kindness, in that it seeks to teach people how rewarding it can be to actively seek kindness in our daily lives. I even have a wall in my classroom dedicated as the "kindness wall" to remind students that they always have the opportunity to choose kindness towards others, despite this sometimes cruel and crazy world.
Let's face it: adults are just grown up versions of the kids we raise and teach. I always have to remind myself that every person was once so young, innocent, and moldable as these eighth graders I have been given the joy of teaching a year of English to. Especially in their critical adolescent stages, children need to be guided in how they treat others AND themselves. They need to be aware that the world is so much bigger than themselves, and that even just ONE act of kindness can go a long way. They need to learn to have that heart of gold that will be kind to others, even when others aren't kind to them. They need to be that heart of gold that sits with the lonely kid at lunch in the cafeteria. They need to be that heart of gold that pursues their education with a fiery passion that can't be quenched, because they know how important their education is for not only their future, but for the future of the world around them.
Looking Toward the Future
In our middle school's STEM program curriculum, we use Project-Based Learning to keep our assignments connected to each other throughout the year, and keep students connected to the world around them. Our first project, which follows my theme of Making Hearts of Gold is "Be the Change You See in the 254"-254 meaning our area code, which a lot of us take unexplained pride in-thus creating a sense of community for students who normally never think about much outside of their own lives. I can't wait to begin this new journey with them in exploring all of the ways to be kind, and change the world.
"Anyone can find the dirt in someone...be the one who finds gold".
To all of the parents, teachers, and students, have a wonderful start to the new school year!
A gal trying to teach her students they can change the world
Keep following me, as I will be posting more teaching updates throughout the year under the Life tab!