Yesterday I began my 11th year of teaching here in Georgia. With this new year, I have a regular teaching schedule without the stress of no planning period. Today I marveled at how much I could accomplish with an entire class period to sit and write out ideas and put together framework for activities and mini-projects. At the end of the day, I felt prepared and eager to have my students return to me and to continue our new year in learning to communicate in French.
Although the expression may be "fail to plan, plan to fail," it was more for me a case of failing to have adequate time and energy to plan last year. Despite the added hour for planning, mostly I was simply exhausted and stressed. I did make plans, but they tended to be skeletal and broad, lacking the detail that allows a teacher to prepare for possible tangents and unexpected eventualities.
This year I also decided to make a number of changes: reconfiguring my room, adding some new strategies to my teaching style, collaborating more with colleagues, encouraging more participation from my students. I want this second decade of my career to be one of growth and not of stagnation. So far, my students seem to like the changes and embrace them as a new way to learn French, the differences making the class a bit different than the year before and, I hope, more interesting, too.