Blog: Milestones

25 Jun 2019

What Do You Need to Remember for Next Year?

What Do You Need to Remember for Next Year?

By: Amber Chandler

Some of you have already finished your school year, so feel free to get all reflective by the pool. Others of us, however, are still finishing up with final exams, packing rooms, submitting grades, and all the other end of the year chaos. For those of you at home—enjoy. For the rest of us—hang tight, we'll be missing these kiddos in a few short weeks!

I'm going to take the opportunity right now to give myself some advice for next year. Every year, at some point, if you are anything like me, you've muttered, "Remind me next year..." followed by something really obvious, like, "Don't give a quiz the day before Thanksgiving Break" or "Remember that it is a notable truth that eighth graders cannot control their impulses and use their phones for a review game without Snapchatting." In hopes that my "remembers" might be more useful, here are three:

  1. Remember, everything takes at least one day—usually two days—more than I plan to do any unit. There's a random snow day, the Monday that I forgot is a holiday and is actually not a teaching day, and of course my own sniffly sneezing kiddos who need me to stay home at some point. If, by some miracle, we finish the entire unit early, there's this amazing new invention called Netflix.
  2. Remember, cringy, silly, and musically embarrassing songs and mnemonics will help students learn. Loosen up. Lots of fabulous teachers sing. Come on. Take a risk Amber. Here are some amazing examples to inspire you. This is great for ENL, this is great for math. and this one for a tour of the states for social studies. Every year I hope I'll do this, but I don't.
  3. Think of a good Halloween costume. Start thinking now. This can be really stressful. Two kids who need creative costumes of their own, 120 students who will judge you (they can't help it), and the pressure is too much. Seriously, remember this one early. Like starting right after the 4th of July. (Minion, as it turns out, is actually pretty great. I might steal the pinball machine idea of my daughter's next year)

These are just a few of the many things I want to remember for next year. There are all kinds of nice, sentimental, and inspiring things too, but did I mention that school's not out yet and things are getting a little harried? Lunches are lacking, I'm wearing jeans by Wednesday, and I seriously spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to sort my students into exam rooms, weighing the merits of "by homeroom" or "by class period," and even entertained, "alphabetically," just to walk on the wild side. If you are curious, "by class period" won. It always does.

My next blog will share some of the gems that you all send to me, and I hope that my thoughts here spark something in you! Follow me @MsAmberChandler and use #AMLE to join our cross-platform conversation. Also, subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on the topics we're discussing. The question this month is: What do you need to remember for next year? Thanks for your contributions!


Published June 2019.

5 comments on article "What Do You Need to Remember for Next Year?"

I really found this to be a powerful sentiment simply because I find myself thinking every year, "man I really need to remember to do this or not do that", but often I forget and I think back on why I didn't write it down somewhere. I have decided that this school year I am going to keep a running document of things to think about for the following year just so that I don't forget and end up making the same mistake twice. I also realized how much I need to work on loosening up in the classroom, especially now that I am teaching a primary classroom. This blog really help define not only the academic things I need to remember, but also the personal things.

—Maranda
11/12/2019 11:54 AM

I thought the points in this blog were simple but impactful. I think it is important that no matter how much time you think you have, you will always end up running out of that time. I enjoy that this blog post includes a fun side. I can preach that getting in front of my class and performing a song or jingle will get my students to laugh but they will also remember what it was that I was singing about. I am someone who is not afraid to have a little fun with how I teach the content!

—Kayla
11/20/2019 11:17 PM

I really enjoyed reading your three reminders. They were quite simple, but they were also important to education. When you stated " Remember, everything takes at least one day"I could have agreed more. When I was at my practicum, all I had heard from my cooperating teachers were how everything takes a day, and how I should expect the unexpected. I have not had a lesson to this day that went perfect. Each lesson there is something that needs to be altered from the original plan.

—Derrick
12/5/2019 2:00 PM

When reading the title of this post, I thought that the points to remember were going to be more serious. After reading the post I was pleasantly surprised by how they were both fun yet impactful. The one that I took the most from was that everything takes at least one day, if not two. No matter how much time we have, we are always going to run out of that time and move on.

—Hollie
12/6/2019 3:24 PM

As a new English teacher, these are great things to think about in the midst of going into the profession! I'm not sure what I was expecting from this blog post, but what you had to say was insightful, yet very refreshing. I think it's important to act as a beacon of self-expression when teaching, and to not hold anything back! It's good to take off your cool cap, especially as the teacher.

—Kyle
12/8/2019 2:31 PM

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Amber Chandler

Amber Chandler is an ELA teacher at Frontier Middle School in Hamburg, New York, a recipient of the 2018 AMLE Educator of the Year award, and author of the AMLE/Routledge book The Flexible SEL Classroom. In this blog, Amber examines milestones that make teaching in the middle a truly unique experience, and shares ideas from middle level educators that ensure we reach every student, no matter what it takes. < blog home