Reflecting on My Long-Term CSTP Goal
A. My personal, long-term goal to start the school year was to increase the amount of my students that were engaged in class on a daily basis, and to improve the instructional practices and evaluation techniques so that, as a whole, my students are able achieve higher understanding and retention of the material covered.
I believe that my strengths towards this goal have been connecting with all of my students on a personal level at some point throughout the school year. I believe that this made speaking with my about class the importance of the class itself, or the significance of a given event in history, much easier for me throughout the year.
One area I hope to still improve upon would be how monotonous my class can sometimes become. While I think a routine is best for the students, and myself, I do realize that on occasion the students can lose some interest, regardless of the topic we are covering, simply because the class operates more or less the same most days. With that in mind, I am still working on finding and implementing more and different instructional practices.
I believe that way I have most surprised myself is with how involved I have become with students outside of my classroom. Students will regularly ask me to attend their sporting event or extra-curricular activity to support them, or have conversations with me about topics that go beyond the scope of my class, such as profession sports, politics, or opinions of future options.
B. A long-term goal I have, that goes beyond induction would be to eventually take on the challenge of teaching an Advanced Placement course, in addition to the two classes I already prep for. To this end, I plan on attending an AP day-long training at some point next school year, and ask current staff member who are or have taught AP classes for advice and ideas on how best to approach teaching those students. The only real way to measure this would be to eventually be able to teach this class.
C. I believe that the most important step for me to take to remain a connected educator for the rest of my career is to never stop learning about the profession. This would include going to various school in-services and staff developments within our own districts, but also taking days to travel to other sites to observe other teachers, as well as attend various professional developments that are offered in my area.
D. Personally, I think one of the most important aspects of remaining energized is to, for the most part, leave work at school, and enjoy my personal time at home and during the weekends. While this can be challenging, I think clearly separating these two different aspects of my life allows me to keep my mind clear for each. Furthermore, it helps me avoid the feeling of drowning in lesson planning, grading, and other work; I know this feeling all too well, before I was able to earn a full-time teaching position I had several long-term substitute teaching positions. Due to the fact that I was always put in these positions on short notice, and was then having to prep for between two and four classes a day, so all my time was devoted to those classes, from the time I woke up until I went to bed, I was not doing something for school. By the end of these assignments, I was always mentally and physically exhausted. Now, I finish whatever grading or paperwork needs to be done at the school site, regardless of the time it take, and once I leave, I have time to only think and focus on my personal life.
Something else that also gives me energy in teaching is talking with other educators about successes with students. Whether that is a student doing well on a test after struggling on the previous assessments, or a more long-term accomplishment, such as a students asking for letters of recommendation or advice when considering colleges and majors. While there are a variety of things that students do, being able to see the positive impact I've had on their educational career and life is something that can keep me going strong, especially in the spring as the weeks seem to drag on.
E. "The profession of Education is blessed to have Josh Art as a teacher. Josh is knowledgeable, he uses instructional strategies that meets the needs of all of his students. Besides what he teaches to mastery, Josh also coaches our schools baseball team. He has learned how to have relationships with students that they want to come into his class and learn. I am very proud to have been his sounding board, advisor and his mentor teacher." - Robin Wilson
F. I think advice that I would give new teachers entering the profession is that while teaching is a great career and can be very rewarding, it is still just a job. Do not let their entire life be consumed with the monotony or red tape that can be associated with it. Enjoy the simple joys in teaching and allow yourself some of your own time every evening that will be specifically spent NOT focused on anything connected to work.