As the new school year begins, there is the usual flurry to get everything ready before going back to work. Having enjoyed a wonderful break in Europe, it’s now time to get back to regular routines and schedules. My 1st day back on Twitter, I noticed the #YourEduStory challenge and decided it was a great way to start blogging again for the year. I enjoyed reflecting on my work last year and feel the need to continue the process this year. With new challenges, it will allow me to take at least an hour to think about what I am doing and why.
The first challenge was “What is your “one word” that will inspire you in your classroom or school in 2015?” Immediately the word “believe” came to mind. It is a powerful word that often eludes my thoughts as well as my students. To believe in yourself is often hard to do and I notice it is a challenge not only amongst my students but for me as well. It can be easy to believe in others, to believe things that our families, religion, the government and any institution might tell us but we often forget to believe in ourselves.
So my 2 goals for this year are:
1. To believe in myself and my abilities: this year I will be Head of English at my school. This is a new leadership role for me- one that I didn’t believe that I would get. I went for the interview in order to get more experience and I was surprisingly offered the role. Like any other leadership role, it comes with its own challenges. My first thought when my principal told me that I was successful was “Oh no, Oh no, what have I done? I don’t think I can do this!” A friend told me that if the interview panel didn’t believe that I was capable of being the English Leader, I wouldn’t have got the position. She told me that she had faith in me and knew that I could. She said that I needed to believe in myself- that I had the ability to be the subject leader. So this year I need to believe in myself- that I am capable of being a good leader. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know how to do everything in my role- I will learn as I go along. I have people who I can ask for help. This is my opportunity to help shape curriculum at school and to grow as a leader. It is a chance to learn new skills and to strengthen existing ones. As I tell my students- if you don’t try, how do you know you can’t do it.
2. To help my students believe in themselves: this will be an ongoing process. Most of my students come from refugee backgrounds and low income families. When they come into my class, many are aware that they are at a disadvantage and refuse to participate in activities for fear of embarrassment. They feel that they are unable to do the work and will give up. I tend to provide tasks that provide extra support for students with language difficulties or learning difficulties, providing several entry points in a unit of work. Getting them to believe in themselves is a year long journey. I encourage them to try- I will sit and work with them until they are comfortable with the task. It’s often easy to build up their self confidence one task at a time- each completed part makes them more willing to try the next. Having to do this with a whole class takes time and effort but it is always worth it. I tell them that it is important for them give everything a go- no matter how tough it might seem. If they need help, all they need to do is ask. To help them with this, I tell them that it’s okay to feel fear but they must use that fear to challenge themselves.
So learning to believe in my own abilities and helping my students believe in themselves will be my goals for this year. I think it will be easier to help my students believe in themselves than it will be to convince myself that I am capable of being the English leader. I think it will be an interesting reflection in December to see what I have achieved.