Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Final Quarter: Charge!

The school year is three fourths completed, and it’s time to reflect.

In a word, I’d say, “Oh, yes!” (Sure, that’s two words, but “Oh, yes!")

Last year I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to switch from junior high to elementary. As with any immigration, there were certain “push” factors and certain “pull” factors. But there is always this warning regarding change, “The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.” But… sometimes it is! Oh, yes!

So, I am very happy that I made the change. It has turned out splendidly. I enjoy the campus, the students, the teachers, the staff, and the families. The irritants are minor, but the rewards have been significant.

Now, as the end of the first year looms, I’m pausing to reflect and predict.

Reflecting back, I’m surprised how quickly the year has passed. I’m encouraged by how smoothly the transition was made. When misgivings and self-doubt arose towards the end of the summer break, I threw myself into the new challenges. Instead of looking back, I pressed forward. As a result, my outlook improved, I was happier, and I was more prepared as the year began.

The staff and students were welcoming and helpful. My new assistant was pleasant and competent. Oh, yeah! Together we learned the ropes, forged a program, and rolled with the punches.

One hundred and thirty-five days later, it’s all good!

Managing change is challenging, but God has “CARE” packages hidden along the path of life. I looked for, and I found, His help. I muddled on, and I prospered: my students benefited.

I’m glad, that in His time, I’ve “graduated” to the elementary school setting. It’s been rewarding to help students and to serve as a positive role model to so many students.

I’ve found myself thinking many times this year, “And I get paid for this!”

But in addition to reflection, I want to predict and plan. Next year… what will I change? How will I improve? What changes can I make to make my program more effective, more appropriate, and more relevant?

I don’t know… yet. (But I’m posing the questions.)

As the fourth quarter unfolds, I’ll be a reflective educator. What worked? What didn’t? What have I learned? What will I do different next year?

Later on, I’ll figure out how to implement the changes. For right now, I’m simply pondering what changes are needed.

My aim is to create a stellar program: a program of help and support that is life changing, life altering, and life improving. Thirty years from now, I want students to reflect upon our interactions with awareness and gratitude.

Not every student will look back and recall a life-changing experience, but it won’t be for lack of effort on my part!

So where am I at? 3/4ths of a school year down: 1/4th to go. I’m ready to build on the foundation that has been laid. Some may be fighting burn-out, but me? I’m ready for the “kick.” That’s how races are won. (And I like winning.)

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