Comparing my initial CSTP to my final CSTP I learned so much about how I perceived myself as an educator and how I perceived the responsibilities of being a teacher. When I first began the program I was overwhelmed with being a new teacher. I have so many professional responsibilities; for my district, my principal, staff and students that I felt unsure of what I was doing. When planning for instruction I was less focused on each CSTP. However, as I began to work with my amazing coach I was learning that it was okay to feel anxious with all of the requirements of teaching because I would be learning how to meet those goals and learn from them. I felt that I was not a good enough teacher, I was not fun and I felt as though I was lacking that in my daily instruction. One of my main goals was to promote a safe environment where students can have fun while learning. My coach then began to guide me through each cycle and I was learning that I needed to access more resources that would help me promote fun and learning while I was still working on how to be an effective educator. While working on cycle 2 I was able to spend time learning how to make and apply games to lessons and I felt so much more confident in my teaching.
As I progressed through each cycle I was getting a better perception of the responsibilities I have as a teacher. I knew that I had standards to teach my students and I knew I had standards for me as well, however I can say I did not know how to use them and if I was meeting them. I learned that I had standards for assessments and how to change or give them based on the student. I learned that I had standards to help me when planning instruction I need to adapt them to the need of the student and not give a general assessment on the material for the mass. Each cycle really helped me understand how to better myself as an educator.
My areas of strength include promoting FUN to learn, I know that I can create and maintain effective environments for student learning (California Standards for the Teaching Profession. 2009. CTC.ca.gov, 2017) I can promote social development while addressing needs for the needs of English learners. I can do this by differentiating instruction to help promote my ELL students wil language development, I know I can pull students for designated ELD, however I also know I can use team building activities like Kagan structures to help promote student growth and teamwork. Another area of strength is developing myself as an educator, I can collaborate with my colleagues on my team in first grade, but I can also work with colleagues from other grade levels on my campus as well as connecting with educators at other school sites. My opportunities for growth are endless. As time progresses, technology is changing, children’s needs change, my professional responsibilities will continue to change as well. As I become more fluent with the material from my grade level, I may be moved to another grade and I will have to learn how to utilize instructional strategies and materials that are appropriate for that level. Student goals will change so I will continue to work on short and long term goals for my students. Through the induction process I surprised myself when my reflective coach said that I was too hard on myself. I was surprised to hear that as I thought I was not effective in what I was doing. However, with her guidance I learned that I was caring and I was fun.
As an educator there is so much I can do to stay connected as an educator throughout my career. I can work with my colleagues to discuss and plan for instruction. I can always be a part of a teaching community like on facebook or teachertube to connect with educators from all over the United States. I can refer to periodicals and teaching journals to help me learn what is new in education, I can participate in professional development to work on myself as an educator and learn new skills.
I think I can sustain energy professionally and personally is by really enjoying the process of seeing my students learn, by taking time to reflect and plan accordingly, as well as giving myself time for me. I know I get caught up in grading and making sure my students are not behind on material, however sometimes enjoying the laughter and the side stories really make my day better. I feel that sometimes I get overwhelmed with so much work and I take that stress home. However, I remind myself that it is okay to spend an extra hour a day at work for work, then not take so much home with me. It is okay to take a break and think of myself, spend time on myself and not worry about my classroom or work during "me" time.
Advice that I would share with new educators is to remember that Rome was not built in one day, you will have days where you feel so behind and that you're failing, but you're not, it takes time for young minds to understand and do. Remember that the pyramids were built with bare hands, and sometimes going back to the basics is what you need to do, using hands on manipulatives, chalk and letters will help students achieve as much as computers and technology will. The Leaning Tower of Piza is perfect as it is, sometimes you will have lessons that are not perfect, or classes that are not amazing, but in the end you learn from it, you will realize the beauty behind each error. Stay strong!
This is a quote that my amazing coach has shared with me "Mirna has a positive rapport with her students and is committed to doing what's best for all of them." -Michelle Dale. Another valuable quote from my administrator to new teachers everywhere "Building a relationship with a child should be a number one priority. If you do not have a relationship with your students they will not want to learn from you." Gayle Labrosse.