30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 3

Day 3: In which area do you think you can improve the most?

There’s an ease to master teachers when they are in the classroom that I

David Newell’s new book Classroom Management in the Music Room: “Pin-Drop Quiet” Classes and Rehearsals

sincerely admire. When I think of the best elementary music educator that I’ve observed, I think of someone with an intense mastery of the craft, a curriculum design that gets results, and an infectious personality. (I should go visit her at school sometime soon!)

One thing that I recognize in master teachers that I haven’t managed to pin-point and define. I’ve written about David Newell’s seminar on classroom management for the music classroom before here, but until I have my own classroom, I won’t be able to fully implement his strategies in a meaningful way with my own students.

While I was implementing his strategies I wasn’t fully confident with them. They weren’t my own. I was borrowing from an expert. And that’s okay. I often told my choir students at my second placement school that I didn’t much care if they really believed the words they were singing, but they needed to convince me that they did. “Fake it ’till you make it” may sound like a disingenuous practice, but I think it’s a valid way to come into new teaching strategies and find success outside of my comfort zone.

Some things will come with time. I’d love to be the best teacher ever right away,

Photo Manip by karl683 2012

but I realize that so much of what a great teacher great is experience working with students and learning from mistakes.

So here’s to some new mistakes and new lessons!

Reminds me of Harry Wong’s recommendations on procedures and using them to automate certain aspects of your daily classroom activity.

I wonder what other ways we can improve students cognition just by drawing their attention to the things they do every day of the school year and make conscious adjustment to our classroom routines with student input?

SolsticeSon's Celebrational Servings

Think about how you live now, then think back on your life looking for contrasting anomalies. While some may be major life events over the course of years, some may be little things that lasted only months or weeks. Recognizing patters of change in your life reveals that what once was irresistible or requisite has now lost its appeal and become a pastime; what you once loved is no longer of concern.

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30 Day Blog Challenge Day 2

Day 2: What do you believe is your greatest strength as a teacher?

What’s the saying about “man’s best-laid plans?” One of the best lessons I learned in Student Teaching was that a well-thought out lesson plan will sometimes go south. That half of your students will be on a trip. They aren’t picking up something as quickly as you hoped. You weren’t informed about a fire drill. Someone tries to throw a chair.

I think one of my biggest strengths as a teacher is my ability to adapt to unusual circumstances and be flexible in my teaching and planning. As a student teacher I worked with four very different cooperating teachers, and an ever-changing landscape of student interactions. Many days my plans were fine and I think I taught some great lessons during student teaching. But there were certainly times where things did not go according to plan.

It’s easy to get frustrated. To let the students talk until the bell, to play a simple game. Certainly better planning is needed, but in those moments, when my best-laid plans have been laid waste (even by a Kindergartener!), I find that I figure it out. I don’t know if it’s intuition, training, or sheer luck, but the teacher in me comes out. You find ways to make it work and meet the students where they are.

Is it always perfect? Of course not. During one of my supervisor observations I realized I had not properly pre-assessed the knowledge of a group of late elementary students and had to completely revise my plan, but I saw their frustration and didn’t try to charge forward with my plan. It seems like such a small thing, but I recognize now that it was an important moment in my teaching. I messed up, recognized it in the students, and fixed it on the spot.

So my greatest strength as a teacher right now is flexibility (and content knowledge, and pedagogy, and student relationships, and a bunch of other principle friendly lingo). Maybe one day my planning will catch up to my teaching, but until then, I know I can adapt and adjust to any situation those students can throw at me!

30 Day Blog Challenge Day 1

Day 1: How did you decide to become a teacher?

When I started college I was a pre-seminary student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance. During my sophomore year, I decided to drop the seminary certificate and pursue education as a career.

Photograph of The Boxcar Children books on a shelf.

I loved The Boxcar Children books as a kid! Will need to find a set before I have children of my own! Creative Commons License 2011, janielle23, http://www.flickr.com/photos/janellie23/5557021621/

I’ve always loved school. In elementary school I would have my father drive me to school early to get everything ready and make sure I was prepared for the day’s learning. I’ve always loved to read. We joke in my family that my mother once collapsed in the library while pregnant with me, and that I’ve loved to read ever since. I’ve always loved music. I remember standing and singing in my classes at my first elementary school and being told I had one of the best voices in the class.

But I’m not a teacher because I love school, because I love to read, or because I love music. I’m a teacher because I believe education is the place that I can best make a change in this world. Teaching is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, and I’ve only been a student teacher! There’s something incredible about making music with students and helping them find their voice and their song.

As a student teacher I worked at two different schools, with four different cooperating teachers, and with close to 700 students from grades K-12. I will never remember all of them. But I will remember that it was there that I discovered my love for teaching. It was not a chore to get up in the morning and drive 30 minutes to school with coffee in hand.

Instead, I greeted my students cheerfully (even at 7am!) and asked how their weekend was, or how the One-Act was coming along. I decided to become a teacher because I think I already was a teacher. When I wanted to be a pastor, I was drawn to the teaching aspects of the office.

Keep Calm and Teach On

Copyright 2012 Ashley Kipp at Simply Designing http://simplydesigning.blogspot.com/

As I wrote in my post, Teacher to Student, I have felt a great loss in my transition back to being a college student. I don’t receive the same fulfillment as I did during student teaching. But a bit of that spark comes back each time I browse the classifieds of districts I’m hoping to apply for, and I look forward to the day when I have students of my own again.

I guess I never did really decide to become a teacher. Instead, I chose a major and teaching found me along the way. I’ll never look back.

 

30 Day Teaching Challenge

30 Day Teaching Challenge

In an effort to keep myself thinking about teaching and in the teaching mindset, I’ve decided to start a 30-day teaching challenge starting tomorrow! Thanks to Julie at learningtoteach-julie.blogpsot.com I finally found a list that will work for my purposes here!

I might alter a few of the questions to be more applicable to my experience as a pre-service teacher, but I’m excited to explore some of my teaching experiences in depth!

Here are the prompts! I’ll see you tomorrow!

30-Day Reflection Challenge

Day 1: How did you decide to become a teacher?
Day 2: What do you believe is your greatest strength as a teacher?
Day 3: In which area do you think you can improve the most?
Day 4: What were you most worried about as you approached your first day as a teacher?
Day 5: How do you keep your classroom organized?
Day 6: What have you observed of other teachers that might work in your own classroom?
Day 7: How can you best promote responsibility in your students?
Day 8: How do you connect with your students?
Day 9: What do you want out of the “Staff Room”?
Day 10: Describe your ideal administrator.
Day 11: What do you think about the phrase: “Always teach like you are going to be observed?”
Day 12: What strategies do you use to keep up with grading?
Day 13: What helpful advice have you heard about dealing with parents?
Day 14: Who do you turn to for teaching advice and why?
Day 15: How would you describe yourself as a person and as a teacher?
Day 16: What is your biggest regret as an educator?
Day 17: What is the most important thing you have learned in school?
Day 18: What about education frustrates you the most?
Day 19: How would your coworkers describe you?
Day 20: Describe yourself during your first year of teaching and discuss how you have grown.
Day 21: What was your most enjoyable moment as a teacher?
Day 22: What did you encounter in your career which you did not expect?
Day 23: What aspects about education are you currently excited for?
Day 24: What part of teaching has been the easiest?
Day 25: How were you taught in school?
Day 26: What tools do you think are most important for professional development today?
Day 27: What is one thing you want to accomplish before you are done teaching?
Day 28: How do you create a classroom where every student feels included and valuable?
Day 29: What is your preferred learning style and how does it affect how you teach?
Day 30: What kind of teacher do you want to be in 10 years?