It just cracks me up when I hear that teachers have it “so easy”. Summers off, holidays off, out of work by 3:00. Where? Who? In what world? I don’t know of a single teacher who does not work through their summer, weekends, and school holidays. Always looking for the best resources and strategies to engage all students. Sound familiar? Well, here I am on Labor Day, searching for resources and strategies to engage all my students, between my mouthful of barbecue!
As I was working on my personal professional development, thank you Twitter and Google+, I stumbled upon the 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers, via TeachThought. Since I am committed to strengthen my 21st century skills, and connecting and reflecting on learning are crucial components, I decided to accept the challenge. I hope you will travel on this journey with me. Wouldn’t it be great if we traveled together?
After reading the introduction to the challenge, it became evident the purpose of this challenge was to encourage and strengthen the teacher’s reflective teaching practices. As educators we are taught that it is crucial to incorporate reflective opportunities for our students, but how often do we actually reflect on our own practices? Is it because we don’t have the time, or is it because reflection may force us to realize we are not always giving our best to our students? For me, honestly, a little of both. Every day, I have every intention of giving 200% to every student in every lesson. But, then, reality sets in and classroom life happens. It is my reality. I realize it, but in the haste to cover what needs to be covered, sometimes we settle for “good enough”. Do I feel guilty? Yes. Do I promise to do better tomorrow? Absolutely. Then tomorrow happens…
So it is my hope that this challenge will not only help me become a more reflective teacher, but also serve to help others realize we are all in this together. We all face the same challenges and make the same promises. This doesn’t mean I’m not an effective teacher in the classroom, because I am. But I know there are always ways I can be a better teacher, for all my students.
Day 1: Write your goals for the new school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!
Where to start? Professionally and personally, I am finishing my Master’s degree in Teaching and Technology. My final project is developing a PD plan to provide resources, lessons, and support for teachers in our district to develop and strengthen their 21st century skills. Too often, teachers are given equipment and resources, but no instruction on how to fully maximize in the learning environment. I am very thankful to have an administrator who is allowing me to “take the reins” of technology professional development in our building. Through Tech Tuesdays and Web Wednesdays, not only are teachers able to learn and focus on resources and strategies to strengthen their teaching practices, but earn those continuing education units as well. It is our plan to open these workshops up to all teachers within the district.
My goals for my classroom? Personalized learning. I have just finished bench marking my students in the areas of reading, writing, and math. I am not only using these assessments to help determine possible interventions, enrichments, learning activities, etc, but am also trying to develop learning plans for my students. I have to tell you, I am an idea person. I get these ideas and want to try them out. Sometimes, I wish I had the mindset to sit back and watch, let others work out the kinks, but that’s just not me. So, I am using my interest surveys collected on each student, as well as their assessment scores, and trying to determine strengths and weaknesses and setting plans to meet every student’s needs. I know there are students who will benefit from this approach right away (they are having success in my flipped math instruction, something new for them), and there are others that will need a little more attention and tender loving care. But I am determined, and I know I have individuals around me who help me achieve this endeavor. Am I feeling I am biting off a little more than I can chew? At times, but if I don’t make try, I will never know…