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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

When Teaching Gets Really Challenging

Today is August 1st, the day teachers all over the US transition to back to school.  I myself am only about two thirds of the way through summer but there is something about the calendar changing to August that makes me feel a bit anxious and a bit excited at the same time.  The familiar flutter in my teacher heart that happens at back to school time is definitely there this week.  The new year means a fresh start, new students, new colleagues and new adventures.  I am savoring the last bit of my summer and the extra time I get to spend adventuring with my family but am also looking forward to being back in the routine of school.  I am looking forward to continuing my work on personalized learning and designing math blocks that work in multi-age settings.  I am very happy that I am feeling this way because just a few short weeks ago, my teacher heart felt very broken as I struggled with a challenging end to the school year.

It has been 4 months since I last sat down to write on my blog and in that time, my school year went from okay to overwhelmingly challenging.  There were multiple things that contributed to things going downhill so quickly but much of it had to do with an administrator who changed the climate of my school in a way that made it very hard to go to work each day.  I am not ready to write about the details of the situation but I do want to share that for the first time in my career, I didn't want to go to work anymore.  The climate changed so quickly, that it felt like a completely different place and I was not sure I would ever look forward to teaching again.  I guess I got a strong dose of what teacher burnout feels like and it was more challenging than I ever expected it to be.  I was on the edge of making the decision to leave teaching for good and it is not a place I ever want to go back to again.

I am feeling much better about things now and I am even looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.  The administrator who caused the situation to unravel is not returning and I am hopeful the climate of our school can recover and we can go back to the way things were.  There are a few projects I am really looking forward to tackling, I finally started back on my professional reading and I am even back on my blog writing about this journey we call teaching.  I have grand plans to write more about how I managed to survive the end of the year and what I have done to help me move past it that I hope to share with you in the coming weeks.  I will also be writing about re-establishing a positive school climate and teaching math of course.  I am ready to get back to my series on personalizing learning which has been my focus in my classroom over the past few years and that I have long neglected to share about on my blog.  

If you are thinking back to school and are looking for new lessons, games or activities for this fall, the Teacher's Pay Teachers back to school event is today (August 1st) and tomorrow (August 2nd). Everything in my store is 20% off and if you use the code BTSFRESH you will save an additional 5%

If you have any advice to share with a teacher who has been on the edge of burnout or has suffered from a bad school climate, please share in the comments below or go to contact at the top of this page and send me an email.