Mr. McClung - What I Learned This Year
At the end of each school year, Joe McClung writes a blog post detailing what he learned during the year about himself as a teacher and how he can better his teaching skills. I think this is a really great idea because he can watch himself grow as a teacher as well as pinpoint how to be even better.
The first of these posts that I read was his reflection for the 2011-2012 school year. He gave two main points in his post, "You gotta dance with who you brought to the dance," and, "Challenge yourself." For the first one, he talked about how he fell into the trap of worrying about what other teachers thought of his methods of teaching more and more throughout the year. He goes on to say that after some thought he realized that it does not matter what the other teachers think of him as long as the kids are having fun and learning along the way. For the second point, he talked about how he had become too comfortable with his ways. He had always taught the same subjects each year, and he was using the same lesson plans each year. He found himself not being as effective of a teacher because of this. Luckily, the subjects he teaches are now different for the 2012-2013 school year, so he was forced to think of fresh ideas.
I think I am really going to have to try hard not to fall into the trap of worrying about what other teachers think of me. I have been sort of bad about worrying about such things my whole life. However, I am gaining more and more confidence in my teaching ability with every class I complete in college, so hopefully this will not be a problem. Like Mr. McClung says, as long as the kids are enjoying the lessons and learning from them, it does not matter what other teachers think. I think the second point he made is super important. Students can tell if a teacher does not care about what he or she is teaching. If the teacher is not enthusiastic about learning, how can the students be expected to be excited about the class? I believe that changing things up and challenging yourself can keep the teaching profession fresh and exciting.
The second post that I read from Mr. McClung is from the 2008-2009 school year. This was his very first year as a teacher, and he seemed to learn a whole lot throughout the year. First, he talked about reading the crowd, or making sure that students are comprehending a lesson. He says he learned that not only is the delivery of a lesson important, but also student comprehension. It is so important for lessons to be student centered. The next thing he learned is to always be flexible with lessons. Any time you plan something for kids, you need to expect for it to not always go as planned, and that is okay. Reflect on the situation and what could have made it better, and try again next time.
Next, he talked about how communication with both students and other teachers is a crucial skill to develop. Fourth, he talks about being reasonable when setting goals for students. Sometimes they will reach the goal successfully, and sometimes they will not. However, no matter what the outcome, they still need encouragement to try again. After this, he talks a bit about not being afraid of technology. I think EDM 310 is definitely helping me with this one! Next he emphasizes the importance of listening to your students. It is important for teachers to care about what is going on in students' lives. Finally, he mentions that we should never stop learning.
This post contains fabulous advice for first year teachers. As a teacher, I want to know my students. I want my students to know that I expect their best from them, but at the same time I don't expect perfection. Their is no such thing as a perfect student, and I think teachers often forget this like Mr. McClung says in his post. Like I mentioned earlier, teachers need to focus on what is important--that students are learning and comprehending. Students need to know that their teacher cares about them. This will create trust and a comfortable teaching and learning environment.