Last year at this time, I was writing about my transition to a new school and finally teaching the subject I was originally licensed for when I decided to pursue vocational education as a career. As I reflect on this past school year, the transition has been more about becoming a working mom and managing new responsibilities in my personal life, while also rediscovering myself as a professional.
Before being a mother, I could pour all of myself into my career and I took pride in being the hard worker I am. However, this year I found myself wanting to skip work just to be home with my baby. Other days, I just wanted to do my job and skip the dreaded mom-duties like pumping every 3 hours (and—the worst part—cleaning those pump parts).
Regardless, I think this school year was successful. I transitioned back to work in mid-October and was able to reuse many of the units built last year. In addition to that, I built new curriculum, including more UX-centered units focusing on web and app design. And if that wasn’t enough, I collaborated with my colleagues on an entirely new freshmen exploratory experience for next year.
Package designs from the new exploratory experience.
We also recently learned that four new students will be joining our sophomore class next year, which I see as an opportunity to positively influence the class dynamics, both socially and professionally. With my freshmen curriculum basically figured out, next year the focus of curriculum development will be with this sophomore class. Our goal is to equip these students with proficient soft skills that will strengthen their technical abilities as they transition to creating more real-world, authentic work as upperclassmen. This fits into our larger department goal to standardize our assessment methods so that we can objectively and consistently evaluate work across all grades and help students transform from students to ready-for-the-workforce.
Student work from this year
Next year I plan to focus on what’s important—helping my students be better. Work/life balance matters and I hope to rock it professionally and spend valuable time with my baby.
Of course, I had to bring him into one assignment. Pop Art Tommy! 🙂
Other highlights from this year
SkillsUSA T-Shirt and Pin Contest
This year, after adding much more Design Thinking into my unit, one of the sophomores placed third in the State T-Shirt Contest from ~800 entries!
Promotional Materials for Open House
Sophomores and Juniors collaborated to design new promotional materials for our program to hand out to 9th and 10th graders at Open House events.