On Joe McClung's blog post What I've learned This Year (2008-2009) he writes about his experiences in his classroom his first year of being a teacher. One of the things he learned his first year is to be more student centered. He learned that being a teacher wasn't about him, it was about how the students came out of his class. Did they come out learning all they could from Mr McClung? This is a question I need to keep in mind when I become a teacher. I need not worry about me and how will I be at the end of the school year, but rather what will my students have learned from me throughout the year.
He also told about how he learned to be flexible. He started teaching by trying to stay exactly to his lesson plan. He says, "NO LESSON IS EVER PERFECT. THE LESSON YOU TEACH AND THE ONE YOU PLAN ARE ALWAYS DIFFERENT". I'm assuming these are all capitalized because he found out that it's really important to know. I will make sure I keep this in mind too. I'm a perfectionist. I get very irritated when things don't go as planned. Of course having a fiance who likes to be spontaneous, (a planners worst nightmare!) I have learned flexibility. But I thought having my own classroom would give me the structure I wanted ... I guess I thought wrong! My composition teacher my first year of college told me that when he first started teaching that he had a plan for the class that he wanted to stick to, but now he knows that the best way for students to learn is to let them take the discussion in the classroom where they needed. That's how they learned the most.
He tells us that he learned about communication. That it is the best way to resolve any issue in the work place. It is also the way to build relationships with co-workers and students. I find this fact very obvious, but none-the-less I am great at communicating and will keep this in mind too for my future.
Being reasonable is his next thing he talks about. Don't set the students up for failure by having unreasonable expectations for them, and don't scold them if they don't reach the expectations. He says, "Our job as teachers is to simply pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again." This is something I won't have to work hard for. I like to think I am very good at encouraging people to do their best and helping them back up if they fail.
This is one point I believe Dr. Strange is very pleased about hearing: don't be afraid of technology. I hope to use many of the technology skills learned in EDM 310 in my future classroom. I like technology, and I'm not afraid to use it!
His last two points on this post are listen to your students and never stop learning. I'm putting these two together because, to me, they are the most obvious, but I do appreciate him listing them because they may not be obvious to everyone.
In Mr. McClung's blog post What I Learned This Year (2010-2011) he states that this was his first year of being head coach, coaching cross country, and being a computer applications teacher. So it's his third year of being a teacher, but it still holds a lot of "firsts". Hmmm ... this sounds like a hint of some sort that not all teachers do the same thing in the same place year after year.
His first thing he learned is know who your boss is. He says teachers need to focus on the students and not trying to please co-workers. The students are the main priority and they need all of their teachers attention. He says that teachers should never let the emotions of personal or professional life affect how they interact with their students. This shouldn't be a struggle for me because being in a classroom makes me happy. I love being able to help students and that will distract me (until the last bell of the day rings) from anything happening outside of the classroom. I can't say that I will always keep my emotions in check. Everyone makes mistakes. I just hope I can try my hardest to.
His next tip is don't expect other to be as excited about change as you are. He says that he found out during this school year that his optimism came to be a fault of his. He says he really enjoys the professional development sessions because he looks forward to see what new stuff are being presented. He catches sight of the pessimists who sit in the corner and don't really care about what's being presented and don't really think it'll change anything. He said they once might have been just like him, all excited, and somewhere down the road they lost the fire that drove them to be excited. But he didn't let them get him down. I will probably start off all excited about new things, and then lose my fire too. I'm not one for change. I like routines, but if I have to change what I like to become a teacher, then so be it!
Don't be afraid to be an outsider. First off I have to say that I've been an outsider most of my life. I don't fit in with any one crowd, so I hang out with several different ones. I spend most of my time alone, but that doesn't bother me. I would like to be like Mr. McClung and focus more time on my students than trying to make friends with adults.
His last tip on this post is don't get comfortable. "While routines are good in the sense they allow me to be more effective, they can also be bad because they can foster apathy." I love that he said this because I need to hear it. I love having a routine, but I don't want it to become my teaching career for me. I will do like he did and volunteer for different activities and attend professional development sessions.