And thus it begins-- in just a few hours, I will be traveling to Bodega Bay for the SRVEA Executive Board retreat where we will look at the upcoming year and what it holds for our members. Many of us have spent the summer working for our colleagues. Several of us just spent a week at UCLA at CTA's Summer Institute, the largest collection of professional development instruction for educators in the entire State of California. We learned about bargaining, communication, tax fairness, as well as school finance and membership benefits.

Additionally, I’ve already written my own goals for how I want to level up this year in my classroom – most of them having to do with work flow. My lesson matrix for the year is complete and I am anxious to get started incorporating the Next Generation Science standards as we begin to integrate at the middle school level.

Meanwhile, I did spend some time with the dogs, taking care of household duties, and I can't forget that week in Oahu! Just seems like time flies especially the month of July!

And thus it begins, my 21st year in the District and my 29th year teaching. Even with all the planning and organizing, I believe the best days of teaching are usually not those you plan. As Victoria Davis says, "Great teachers find it amidst the cacophony of noise and the maelstrom of all that school can be." Great teachers are always in pursuit of learning and growing themselves.

There’s a great chapter in Dr. Henry Cloud’s book Necessary Endings about how to determine if you can work with someone and help them improve in their job or when you really need to let that person go and it has to do with that very thing.

The Wise: The wise person responds to correction. They take notes. They ask questions. They go out and work to improve.

The Foolish: The foolish person blames others and won’t even accept the criticism so they can begin to correct it.

I see this with my students too. Often the very best students are grappling with the few things they missed while some weaker students are just happy for the C without a glance to learn the things they missed so they can level up next time.

Pay attention to best practices. Take the time to reflect on what you wanted to teach, what you taught, and what your students actually learned. Respond and improve. I know this year will bring with it many challenges. I've got a lot to learn this year as do my students. Ready? We can do this! Let's go!


    Laura Finco is a Grade 8 Science educator at Stone Valley Middle School. When she is not in her classroom, Laura is either in Sacramento advocating for teachers' rights in order to protect our students or more casually, working with her golden retrievers in the agility ring

    The SRVEA blog is written by teachers for teachers. Anyone is invited to share their thoughts. If you would like to submit a blog post, please send it to SRVEA Communications.


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