Processing a Difficult School Year

This year was the most difficult school year I’ve had in my 25 year career. Student behaviour was extreme and the police were often at the school. As always, there were many students who made teaching very worthwhile. I’m glad it’s summer. I do want to process what happened this year and I think that’s pretty important. Here are some things I’m doing:

  1. Reflect on the successes. There were successes and many students thanked me for teaching them this year. I need to acknowledge this and do those things again!
  2. Reflect on the failures. Some things just did not work well – or at all. I want to be sure to reflect on why those strategies didn’t work and on what I may try in the future. Most of all, I want to be sure to put the failures in perspective. There were many successes and I want to focus on those.
  3. Forgive. There are many students (and perhaps some staff) that I will need to forgive. Hopefully I’ve been forgiving as I go along, however now is a good time to be sure I have forgiven everyone. Forgiving them sets me free from bitterness that would set in if I chose not to forgive and keep a grudge. I don’t want to be that bitter old woman!
  4. Affirm my identity. As it was a very challenging year, I experienced much more failure than normal and this can eat away at my confidence and identity. I need to affirm to myself that I am an excellent teacher. I need to read the cards students gave me at the end of the year, I need to listen to colleagues, friends and family who all confirm I am an excellent teacher.
  5. Relax. I need time to rejuvenate and to restore my energy. I need to be sure I’m not too busy over the summer and that I allow myself time to have fun!
  6. Make a plan. I need a plan for next year so that if I have an other very challenging year, I do better with my mental/emotional health than this past year. At least I won’t be taken by surprise again!


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