First of all, I think most of you would agree that winter break has completely flown by. I found myself incredibly busy traveling and spending most of my time with friends and family. Now that I'm back home and had the first day back at school today (without students), I'm ready and looking forward to a brand new semester.
One thing that my school, and now my district, has introduced to us is Gallup's Clifton Strengths Finder. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's essentially a survey you take that identifies your top five strengths. Not only are you given the names of the strengths, but you are given detailed descriptions of them. I learned about my strengths about a year ago, and today my entire district came together at the Georgia Tech basketball arena to get us motivated and learn how to use our strengths to better ourselves so that we can be better teachers.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I have often found myself tired, discouraged, stressed, and incredibly overwhelmed with all that goes into teaching. It isn't just pulling out last year's lesson plans and making quick copies. If you're like me, I feel like I'm always finding new resources every single year to try and make the curriculum I'm teaching even better, more understandable, and more engaging for my students. That's a pretty daunting task to take on every year, especially when you teach every single subject. I think that this stress is normal and I believe that one of the pros to being a teacher is that you often get a nice little break that allows you to recharge your batteries, get motivated, and realize why you've chosen this profession. I often forget why I teach, and take for granted what an incredible career it can be if you go into it with a positive attitude and the drive to make a difference in students' lives.
Today I'm ready to really look at my strengths and use them to inspire my students and encourage them to finish the second half of this year excited, happy, and hungry to learn.
Here are my strengths in order:
In my #1 strength, futuristic, the description that I think best describes me is, "Chances are good that you sometimes envision mental pictures of what you want your world or yourself to look like weeks, months, years, or decades from now." This could not be more accurate. I'm quite a planner, as well as a dreamer and I'm always creating a mental picture of my future, both professionally and personally. I'm using this strength right now to try and create my lesson plans, or at least start planning out my units, more in advance and incorporating some backward design so that I have a better idea of what I want my students to achieve in order to drive my instruction.
I hope all of you managed to get a lot of rest over the break and are looking forward to getting back to school. I wish you all the best of luck and a wonderful, stress-free second semester. Happy New Year!