As the new school year approaches, you may be thinking about ways to do things differently this coming year. I’ve compiled a list of questions that you might want to ask yourself (most of which I’ve been asking myself as I prepare for this year) and resources to help carry through on them.
I. Changing your class
- Contests Would your students be interested in entering contests? CANE has its writing contest, which is on the theme of “‘What Mighty Contests Rise from Trivial Things’: Consequence in the Ancient World” this year. There’s also the Golden Sponge Stick, a fiction writing contest based in the UK. MaFLA runs contests on various aspects of foreign languages, and there are a lot of other ones out there. It can be good for your program if a student wins a prize.
- Projects If you’re looking for a new project for your students, there are many on CANEns: Roman House, the Bayeux Tapestry,, a final project, using songs to learn Latin, and Roman clothing.
- Systems Would switching how you handle hall passes help? Do you want to try hand signals for different questions? Is there a way to collect or return work that would make class run more smoothly?
II. Changing your tools
- Organization What would help you stay organized better? There are paper systems out there and electronic ones. Would changing your planbook to an electronic format help?
- Office Supplies Are you happy with your grading pens? Do you need to stick an emergency whiteboard marker in the back of your desk?
- Teaching Bag Are there props or posters or other things that would enhance your teaching that you can get?
III. Changing your professional development
- Content knowledge As you’ve probably noticed from links and announcements, there are many MOOCs on themes related to Latin and Classics. Would taking one of them make sense for you? What about joining a reading group or a discussion group?
- Pedagogy Again, there are MOOCs on this. Are there other courses that you could take locally that would help you? Are there webinars or local workshops you could go to?
IIII. Changing yourself
Across the street from my local high school is a florist whose sign usually reads “Happy wife, Happy life.” I’ve been trying to figure out a compact rhyme for the idea that, “if the teacher is happy teaching, the atmosphere in the class will be better and the students will have more fun and learn more.” I’ve gotten it down to 24 words now, so I just need to cut 20 more!
* Food Will eating at a time other than your lunch improve your outlook on life? Will switching having breakfast to before coming to school or after make you happier? Do you have non-perishable food in your desk for the day when your lunch goes bad or didn’t make it to school?
* Self care Will getting noise canceling headphones or earplugs make it easier for you to prep while recess is going on outside? Do you have the little things (bandages, cough drops, mints, dish soap) that will make your life smoother?