My poor blog.
It has really been suffering of late.
This school year is kicking my butt along with that of every teacher I know.
That’s one reason why I am incredibly thankful that my district is enjoying Fall Break. It began yesterday.
I’m sure that I’m like many teachers, though, because the thought of four days in a row of not running to meetings makes me think of time I have to catch up on work responsibilities…uninterrupted.
So, that is how I started my break.
We have this thing called an IPDP (Individual Professional Development Plan) that we have to complete yearly as part of our evaluation process. The purpose is to identify students in our classes who share common weaknesses. We drill down our groups to subsets according to various criteria and then use these students as a control group to target specialized instruction. Such instruction is supposed to improve our teaching practices by requiring us to do research into the selected strategies we are going to use to improve learning. We reflect several times during the year as we analyze assessments related to our chosen groups.
Creating an IPDP is a lengthy, time-consuming task, let me tell you. It’s also one of the components of our VAM scores that we can control, so it’s imperative that we do everything possible to get highly effective. There are too many factors affecting students when they take State-mandated exams in the spring, so their test scores are kind of out of our control, which can drive our VAM scores down. VAM scores determine if we get pay increases and have to do other things to improve performance in our classes.
So, it was with the goal of writing my IPDP that I began my first day of Fall Break.
I spent a couple of hours on it and then took a break to meet my friend, Cinda, at Starbucks. I first met her four years ago when she was assigned as my mentor, later discovering that she attends my church. We became fast friends, and she has often provided a shoulder to cry on when days go awry. She’s been assigned to three different schools this year, so I don’t get to see her often. We correspond through email and text messages and on Sundays when I see her at church.
Meeting up at Starbucks and chatting for a couple of hours was a balm to my stressed out soul. She has an energy that everyone soaks up. She’s one of the most dynamic people I’ve ever met.
Before we parted ways, she surprised me with the the following teacher treasures…
The bags are for a Book-in-a-Bag book report project. The clear sleeves are going to prove very useful when I have handouts I want to reuse from one class period to the next. The book is for my reading pleasure and to add to my classroom library.
When I got home, I got back to work on my IPDP, finished extrapolating data, and had a couple of paragraphs written before taking another break to meet my Small Group at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner.
Many of us are teachers, so it was a time to connect, talk about common concerns, and lift each other in the Lord.
I love them.
The Mr. and I got home after 9pm, and…you guessed it…I began working on my IPDP again, determined to finish before I went to bed.
I did…at 10:30!
Talk about excited!
I’m working with another teacher who shares many of the same students with me, so I’m going to have her read over everything, put in her thoughts, and then finalize it early next week.
As soon as I finished, I put my school bag in the car (I had completed my lesson plans by making myself work nine hours over two evenings this past week), determined not to pull it out until I arrive at school on Tuesday…
This is one teacher who is officially on Fall Break, and I intend to enjoy every moment!