The Role We Play Is So Important.

I have sat down & tried to reflect on my first year of teaching multiple times this summer but have never been able to put into words how I truly feel about it. Perhaps there was too much, or maybe I was still too emotionally connected to the idea of my first year being over but whatever the reason I could never compile my thoughts in a way that I felt was doing my first year justice. Then I watched the slam poets from the closing keynote of ISTE11 & something clicked & I felt like I could get my stuff together, but yet again I became stuck! I turned to my itunes for consoling & what was the first song to come up on shuffle but Ian Axel’s This Is The New Year. I quickly opened itunes and began to throw together an i-movie of the extra photos I had of my spring semester block class & began thinking about how they are going to be sophomores next year & that I too will be moving on with them & becoming a “sophomore teacher” and I all of sudden realized that the reason I don’t have the words to begin to reflect on my first year is because they have the words, and this video & this song that is playing along with their images is my reflection, and not only that it is my will and testament to that first year. I cannot possibly begin to put my first year of teaching into words because the words themselves would not do it justice. The faces, and expressions, and artwork, and stories of my students however are the reflection, and more than do it justice. They are the post I have been struggling with this past month, they were sitting in my iphoto this whole time & I was allowing the constraints of what I believed a reflection to be hold me back from this post. I may not be able to put into words all that I have learned & am taking away from that first year but I can definitely put into a video using those students faces & words that kept me going & will keep me pushing on this coming year & the next & the next.  I could go through and outline every project we did, every aha moment we had & every crazy thing that happened both beautiful & tragic but when I sit down and start to write all of these events out they all fail in comparison to watching their images move through the words of “This is the New Year” by Ian Axel. Throughout my first year of teaching this song became my mantra. It was what I sang at the top of my lungs at 7am on the way to school on my first day, it was what I played on max volume when I had a rough day and drove out of the parking lot far too late & it was what I danced to on the last day of school when I was too overcome with emotion to make sense of what had transpired that first year both overcome with emotion that it was coming to an end and elated that I am fortunate to do it all over again next year. So for now I will let these faces, this song, & their stories stand as my first year reflection. I leave you with the lyrics & their stories because every single word of this song is our story & I cannot seem to put it better than this song does, so I won’t try but I will say that I am in awe, absolute awe of the drive, passion & unrelenting pursuit of my students. They all have a dream, they all have a vision. They know their worth & are more determined & focused than anyone I know. I am walking away from my first year know these things: I believe in education, I believe in my school, I believe in myself & most importantly I believe in my students and know that the combination of all of these things is powerful beyond words so for now I will leave you with the best words I can find to put all of that into perspective. We are the voices. This is the new year. 


This Is The New Year

Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now

And I will give the world to you

Speak louder than the words before you
And give them meaning no one else has found
The role we play is so important
We are the voices of the underground

And I will give the world to you

Say everything you’ve always wanted
Be not afraid of who you really are
‘Cause in the end we have each other
And that’s at least one thing worth living for

And I would give the world to you

A million suns that shine upon me
A million eyes you are the brightest blue
Let’s tear the walls down that divide us
And build a statue strong enough for two

And pass it back to you
And I will wait for you

‘Cause I would give the world
And I would give the world
And I would give the world to you

This is a New Year
A new beginning
You made a promise
You are the brightest

We are the voices
This is a New Year
We are the voices
This is a New Year


8 thoughts on “The Role We Play Is So Important.

  1. You are amazing. Your students are so lucky, I can see your passion, your drive and I see it in them as well. 1st year? I wish I was there then, teach on! Great reflection and a pleasure to read.

  2. This is amazing!! I would be sooo proud of my kids if they did that — I’d love to know if it was part of a bigger unit/lesson/setup of something. I need to get my kids more comfortable with the idea of video/pictures in the classroom & let them own being 21st century students. Great idea!

  3. Thanks. It was a 2 fold thing. We worked on "de-labeling" ourselves over the semester & then the video and signs which were part of their last statement for my class turned into what we used for the ISTE sigml mobile learning video contest. The de-labeling activity was really powerful & definitely got them talking about things that they wouldn’t normally.Would love talk about it more if you would like!

  4. That is awesome! I wasn’t really able to reflect on my first year until my second year. I still think about it. I have found that my first group left a bigger imprint on me than others. I have been told you don’t forget your first group. I hope your next years are even better than your first!P.S. I love that delabeling lesson. Do you have it written up?

  5. Love this activity. Excited to see the lesson once it is written up. Would love to use this with a 9th grade transition program that we are currently writing curriculum for. Beautiful video – congrats on a great year!

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