As I mentioned before, sometimes I feel like I have it all together! This post is about the days that I don't. Areas that I can definitely improve upon in my teaching practice and of course, how I can fix those things.
Two Areas for Growth: After the student panel today I learned two things that I do (or don't do rather) that the students hold much more valuable than I do. I forget what it is like to be a high school student! It's been a long time, being a college student is so much more recent so when I try to get into the "student mindset" I think back to college so much more than high school. Obviously this isn't intentional, but I realized today that this is something I do, for better or for worse.
Putting grades in the grade book faster. Simple task, I could definitely make this happen. Grades just aren't as important to me. I check student work, I can quickly see what they are understanding and what they aren't by flipping through student work. I don't always put the work in the grade book. I forget how validating it feels to see that number in the garbed, like a pat on the back that they got that work done... they accomplished something. I didn't realize I was robbing them of that feeling!
Checking in with students one-non-one more often. I should spend more time with every student individually. I check in with them twice every six weeks, but it's at their will. I should go out of my way to check in with them, I need to do more than say my door is always open, I need to walk directly up to them and pull them through that open door.
One Action Step:
In order to address both of those areas of growth I need to better organize my time. Prioritize grading and teacher-student conferences because that is what the students find important. The student panel today was really eye opening. I work with these kids everyday and I am still surprised by their minds and everything I can learn from them!
What am I proud of, what's going well right now? Well, there's only three and a half weeks left of school so I'm proud that I am showing up to work with two matching shoes at this point. That being said, I really am excited about the work my PLC team is doing right now. It's the eleventh hour, and we are still motivated to continue to make that shift toward active learning. I'm celebrating trying new things, and that some of those new things are really working for my classroom! I'm also pumped about going to my first Advanced Placement conference this summer!
The World History team engaging in the shift toward active learning. This year I feel that we have a great team of ladies working together to "upgrade" the World History curriculum if you will. We meet during our prep, after school, briefly when we run into each other in the bathroom during passing period. We are constantly emailing and adjusting and adapting our lessons, our assessments, our projects. It's been a lot of fun, and I truly feel our newfound motivation is contagious, because the kids are feeling it too!
Trying new things! I have been to a lot of professional development "things" this year and, as a new teacher, I am getting more and more comfortable with the idea of trying these out in my classroom. Sometimes they're great and the kids love it! Sometimes, they're a big flop. I appreciate the flops as much as the successes. The failed attempts give me an opportunity to check in with my students, hear from them where we all went wrong, and make those changes necessary to turn the flops into successes. It's been fun.
AP By The Sea for Human Geography this summer. I am excited to be introducing a new AP class to the school! I am looking forward to meeting other teacher that teach this course, finding out how they teach it, and then of course stealing everything I love from each of those teachers' practices... I mean... collaborating with those teachers! :)
It's been quite the school year, it's the end of my second year. Sometimes I feel like it's the end of my 22nd year, but then something happens that brings me right back to the harsh reality that I am a very young teacher!