Friday, January 15, 2016

Reinventing the Wheel

 Do you ever find yourself reflecting on your day as you drive home from work?  The good thing about living 25 minutes from my school is that I get to use that time as an extra plan bell.  I spend that time thinking about my day....what went right.....what went wrong....what could have been better.....what I will change......and what I will reteach tomorrow.    

The other day, on my drive home from work, I was thinking about my upcoming unit.  Now that quarter 3 has started, my students are ready for their biography research project.  This is one of my favorite and most challenging units to teach.  I love how the students get excited about this project, but teaching students how to research can be HARD!  Not only do they get to choose their famous person (within the parameters), but they also get to use the Internet and non-fiction texts for their research.  Plus, their end product is represented in a neat file folder display. I'm slowly driving down I-71, I'm thinking back to the unit and what my students did last year.....and I immediately recall what needed to be changed.  I thought to myself...."I didn't like this part.....I'm going to change that part.....This didn't work well.....Never-will I do that again..."  And by the time I got home from work, I had completely thrown the project I did last year out the window.  Therefore....I am, once again, reinventing the wheel.


I went into school the next day and pulled my biography research file out of my cabinet.  While thinking about my reflective drive home the previous night, I concluded that there isn't a single thing I want to use from last year.  


Why do I create more work for myself every year?  Why change everything I created last year?  
Why reinvent the wheel?


I thought about this over the next few days.  And after consulting with and venting to my #1 role model (aka sister....aka Curious Firsties-Em), I think the answer comes down to three important words.   Three words that have me reinventing the wheel every year.....Three words that have me choosing another route than the previous year. 

1.  Growth-  I've been  teaching for 11 years.  That is roughly 4,015 days as an educator....1/3 of my life.  These 11 years have been filled with (but not limited to) a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, countless hours of professional development, mentoring several new teachers, and a three year commitment to a piloting project through the Ohio Department of Education.  With that being said, I still have SO much more to learn and many more years to grow.  Every day I am learning something new in education.  I learn from myself, my students, my amazing colleagues, and all the wonderful bloggers out there.  I am in the business of changing and shaping lives, so it is my duty to evolve and grow everyday to become the best educator I can be.

2.  Change-  Change is constant.  Change happens whether we want it to or not.  The lessons I taught last year are not going to fit perfectly to what my upcoming class needs.  Every student is different.  Students learn differently.  Behave differently.  Respond differently.  We spend 9 months getting to know our students inside and out.  We do this so we can teach them the way we know they will learn best.  But what worked for one group of students will not necessarily work for the next year's group of students.  Every year is different with a different set of learning styles and needs.  Therefore, changing my lessons every year is a necessity.Change is a must. 

3.  Improve-  Improve is defined as making something better or to raise to a more desirable or more excellent quality.  If your doctor told you that you needed to improve your health....would you?  Of course.  So, if you teach a lesson that could be better....wouldn't you try to improve?  Of course.  No matter the number of years I have taught, I will never be perfect.  I will never know everything there is to know about education.  But what I can do is make sure that I am improving every day....every year.  By growing and accepting change, I will improve. 

So, I guess I could say that I am not necessarily reinventing the wheel.  I am growing.  I am making changes.  I am improving.

Do you reinvent the wheel every year or are you growing, changing, and improving?


  1. Love this! Grow, change, improve. I will keep this close to me, because it makes sense and is helpful. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Alyce! There's times where I get frustrated because I recreate lessons all the time. But I've concluded that it is definitely for a good reason. :)