Wednesday, January 1

goal setting for 2014: challenges and gratitude

Happy New Year, Y'all!  Southern Weddings' Lara Casey has kicked off a goal-setting series on her blog and it has really been inspiring me.  I'm going to be posting my responses to some of the prompts she has been sharing as I work on my goals for the new year.

Three things challenging me lately
  • I really cannot wrap my brain around the semester that begins next week.  I am still reeling from the test scores I received a few weeks ago and feeling very defeated.  I feel like I just don't know how to teach reading and writing in a semester in a way that prepares my students for the new, more rigorous state tests.  I am not the only one who feels overwhelmed - the rest of my department faced similar scores and even our principal is looking for solutions we haven't tried yet.  We only have two workdays before the new semester begins, which is definitely not enough time for us to overhaul an entire curriculum.  Knowing that I will be starting the semester teaching with materials and methods that were not successful in the eyes of the state is very depressing to me.
  • I am working on a fiction writing project, and I am in love with the characters and setting I've come up with, but in all my world-building I am having a very hard time figuring out what the central conflict is going to be.
  • Even though I love our country townhouse, I feel so ready to move onto our own land in our own home - but financially, that is not possible right now.  I'm tired of being able to hear our neighbors through the walls, not being able to paint the walls, and not having space to entertain guests the way I'd like to. 

Three things I am grateful for today
  • A husband who knows me so well and just "gets" me - I never have to explain myself to him or apologize for just being human.
  • My mom is older than most of my friends' parents, since I was a late-in-life surprise baby, but she is still so healthy and able and smart and funny.  I am so blessed to have a mom who is truly my best friend and it makes me proud when my relatives say that I am a lot like her.  
  • My department chair at work is simply amazing.  She is so caring and somehow manages to organize the curriculum map, testing schedule, and order materials for three grades' worth of English teachers while also managing her own classroom, lesson plans, and student behavior without missing a beat.  She is very committed to helping us conquer the new test in our own way, without bringing in new programs we don't want.  

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