Kimberly, OC Beach Teacher: Every time I finish a lesson, I think about how I can improve it for the next school year! In fact, I can’t wait to teach AP Literature again since this semester was my first time teaching the class. For instance, I’ve already decided that my “Readers’ Roundtable” discussions worked well, but I need my students to practice writing essays on a more frequent basis. Often, I will jot notes for changes and improvements on the hand-outs I’ve used from a lesson. I also make notes, write questions to myself, and plan ideas in my current plan book. Then I keep it so that I can use it as I plan the next semester. Ultimately, I think effective teachers are always reflecting on their instruction and making plans for the future!
Clair, High School English on a Shoestring Budget: To some extent, I’m always thinking about next year. With each assignment, I’m thinking about how I can improve it so that this or that is better next time. I think about what to keep, what to add, what to try new.
Though, when it comes to actual implementation, it’s not until the week or so before school starts that I start actually moving from thinking to actually implementing some of those things. Until then, it’s thoughts (and sometimes fantasies of how perfect it will be next time!)
I’m a procrastinator, so I like to let things percolate until it’s really time to use them. And sometimes, at the end of the current school year, all I’m thinking about is the much needed break!
Dawn, Algebra Simplified: I am one of those teachers who suffers from (or is blessed with) summer amnesia. Literally, my school brain shuts down after a few weeks off, and it takes me a while to get back in the swing of things at the start of the new year. I introduce myself by my first name without thinking to the first student I meet every year. As a result, my best brainstorming time for next year is while my gears are still in the school mode. I have a document saved on my computer where I dump ideas and/or plans for next year as they occur to me throughout the current year. Then, during the first few days of summer, while I’m still in the swing of productivity, I flesh out new ideas and scour the internet for the future. I find this extra effort pays off in August when things are still fuzzy in my thoughts; I simply open my files and trust myself.