Sunday, October 2, 2011

Teaching, Changing, Doing - by Shirley

As a 6th grade humanities teacher, I am always thinking about my curriculum, my teaching and my students. Questions are always flying through my mind and making me think more about my teaching and what is important to me. Here are a few random thoughts…

What can I do better? What adjustments should I be making? Are my classes interesting? Do I create fun projects and activities?  Are my students challenged in as many ways as possible?  Do my students make their own decisions? How important is the content curriculum? The questions are never ending but always evolving.  I have come to some conclusions that I would like to share….

Teaching is an ever-changing profession and it is essential that we as teachers keep up with everything new, thought provoking, interesting and challenging. How do we do that and stay abreast of this rapidly changing world of education? We need to be following the paths of really great educators but doing it in a way that does not take hours more of research, planning etc. The first step for me is the building of a useful Personal Learning Network (PLN) involving my colleagues, my Google reader, and my Twitter friends. A few minutes a day and my network continually grows as I learn about new web 2.0 tools, read about useful ideas from other teachers as well as sharing what works for me with fellow educators all over the world.

As the world changes, so do the expectations and goals for students and educators in this 21st century of learning. The differences are vast between what I thought was important over 30 years ago when I began teaching, and what I believe in now. I wish I knew then what I know now...

The following poem, written by Lee Crockett, Ian Jukes and Andrew Churches and found on Tony Gurr's All Things Learning blog has given me more food for thought…

                                                      What is a Teacher?
A guide, not a guard.
What is learning?
A journey, not a destination.
What is discovery?
Questioning the answers, not answering the questions.
What is the process?
Discovering ideas, not covering content.
What is the goal?
Open minds, not closed issues.
What is the test?
Being and becoming, not remembering and reviewing.
What is learning?
Not just doing things differently, but doing different things.
What is teaching?
Not showing them what to learn, but showing them how to learn
What is school?
Whatever we choose to make it.

With this poem in mind, this is what I will strive to do this year…
  • Talk to my students about everything under the sun and get to know them better as individuals and as learners
  •  Listen to what my students have to say. That means making time to listen not just in the classroom but in the hallways, in the lunchroom, outside at recess, etc. etc.

Students Speak out about what they need in education –

      • Be very clear with my goals and expectations for every project, activity, homework assignment or class work 
      • Give more decision making, choices, planning, sharing, teaching over to the students 
      •   Do Not talk too much and have the students dooooo more

            • Continue my technology journey with the students and learn and share together
                •  Give more time to asking the students what it is I can do to help them
                    • Involve and educate parents more in what goes on in my classroom 

                    What are you as an educator striving for this year ?


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