Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog Assignment #9

What I Learned This Year

first year teaching cartoon
Mr. Joe McClung has begun to write out a reflection of how he feels after each school year is complete. He writes about what he likes and what he would like to change. This has inspired Dr. Strange to give us the opportunity to do the same at the end of our course in EDM 310.

What I Learned This Year- Volume 4

In McClung's post, What I Learned This Year- Volume 4, he discusses two things that he would like to change when stepping into the new school year.

The first thing McClung discussed that he would like to change is to learn how to not care how his peers viewed him as a teacher. He said that he got into the rut of stressing over how the other teachers viewed him. It really came down to the fact that he is not there for them, he is there for his students. As long as his students enjoyed his class and had a good time learning what they should learn, then he was not going to worry about it.

I thought this was very wise of him to say. As adults, it is sometimes hard to admit that we still care about how others perceive us to be and to act. We have to take a step back and look at the big picture, not the unnecessary details that distract from the beauty of it.

The second thing that he talks about changing next year is challenging himself. He says that he has gotten in the habit of being robotic with his teaching. He ends up pulling out the same lesson plans from year-to-year and tends to leave out the excitement that he once held. He is going to challenge himself this next year to make it more of a fun and riveting learning environment for his students.

I can easily see how a teacher can become lazy with his or her students and curriculum. Everyone says that your first year of teaching is pretty difficult and that the years after that become easier. In a way, that could pose a problem. As a first-year teacher, you strive to do your best and give your best to the students; although, we may fail in the process, we put it all out there for the students. The years that follow after that, somehow, become a breeze; whether it be because teachers become tired and use the same information over again or we actually are just getting the hang of it, who knows? It is our job as teachers to reevaluate ourselves frequently and see which side of the fence we stand on.

What I've Learned This Year 2008-2009

Dr. Strange gave us a list of posts from Mr. McClung that we could chose from to read and write about. I chose his 2008-2009 version because it was his first year teaching and I thought that it would be useful and interesting to see what his thoughts were going into his first year and coming out.

He gave several tips for first year teachers. Those are:
1. Read to the crowd, not yourself.
2. Be flexible.
3. Communicate.
4. Be reasonable.
5. Don't be afraid of technology.
6. Listen to your students.
7. Never stop learning.

Mr. McClung elaborated on each of these tips. They were all extremely helpful, but the one that stuck out to me the most was tip #2: Be flexible. I am a very "Type A" kind of person. I want everything done in advance and done the right way; no exceptions. Being a teacher, you get in the mindset that everything must be done perfectly and according to plan, and if plan A doesn't work out, have plans B-Z prepared and ready to go. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow. Every classroom and every child is different. Curve balls will be thrown in every direction and our job is to maintain balance and give the kids what they need: love and a fun, entertaining education. We must be willing to adjust to what engages them, whether it be plan A, plan Z or none of the above. That is a quality that a good teacher must be able to posses.

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