Sunday, October 23, 2011
Blog Post #9
This weeks assignment was to read two posts by Joe McClung. The first post I chose was his What I Learned This Year (2008-2009). This was a summary of Mr. McClung's first year as a teacher. I think his experience gives new teachers some very good advice as well as a good dose of reality. His post begins by talking about not forgetting that we are there to teach our students, not perform for an audience. This reminded me of the post that we read earlier in the semester by Kelly Hines. In this post Ms. Hines said that if a student has not learned the material, then a teacher has not really taught it. Mr. McClung reminds us that we should not become so enamored with hearing ourselves teach that we neglect to make sure that our students are grasping the material. Another lesson in this first year assessment is to, "be flexible." We have to remember that things will not always go the way we want them to, and that is ok. We should remember that things come up, situations change, and as a teacher we should be prepared. Just because the lesson doesn't go just the way I want it to, doesn't mean it wasn't successful, and if I do make a mistake it won't be the end of the world. Mr. McClung talks about the importance of communication and how important it is to develop a relationship with your fellow teachers. They can provide valuable advice and support, and we have to remember that it's important to build that rapport. We also need to remember to keep our expectations reasonable. He reminds us that it is important to remember that just because we want a child to perform to a certain standard doesn't mean they will. They are, after all, children, and when they make a mistake we have to help them learn from it and move on. Mr. McClung talks about how important it is to listen to our students. It helps to let them know we care about them, and the relationship they have with us can help to shape the rest of their lives. He also talks about the importance of embracing technology, which I think goes hand in hand with his last lesson, which is to "never stop learning." How can we expect our students to be learners if we are not willing to be?
Next, I chose Mr. McClung's What I Learned This Year (2009-2010). In this end of year summary post Mr. McClung has spent the year teaching 8th grade in a different school. He talks about the challenges he faced and the lessons he learned in the new school. The first lesson Mr. McClung talks about is how he had to adapt. He had to change his teaching style from the 6th graders he had taught the year before, to learning how to teach 8th graders and allowing them to be more independent. He also had to make adjustments when it came to his curriculum. He had to adapt to teaching social studies in addition to the science that he was more comfortable with. Another challenge that he faced was how to help his students become more independent learners. To do so he had to change the way he taught and not worry about a schedule as much as making sure his students were really thinking. Mr. McClung made the suggestion that all new teachers should find a "school mom." That is an older, more experienced teacher who can give you advice, help you learn how to handle situations that may arise, and be there when you have a question. I think this is a great tip, and I will definitely keep this in mind. He also reminds us not to get caught up in adult conflict and lose sight of why we are there. I am sure that occasionally there will be issues with our coworkers or administrators, but we should not let this distract us from giving our students our best.