This year has been a year of change and growth. In a year, I am more confident that I can do my job well, l but in many ways I have a long way to go to be where I really want to be. My greatest area of growth was in planning instruction and designing learning experiences. Project-based learning was a great way to engage students. There were no real deadlines to meet or state tests to pass. We were just learning about what was interesting to students. And I found ways to make each student experience success. The area I need more experience and work on is to effectively assess students for learning. This is very important to providing effective instruction, but time restraints were a factor this year. Since I was just familiarizing myself with the new curriculum, some useful assessments were overlooked. Informal assessment can be invaluable, however, when time does not permit for more formal assessments. A short 10 minute whole group assessment using white boards and markers, for example, can tell the teacher what students know and what they still need to learn.
My goals in the upcoming years include focusing on CSTP Standard 2.3 Setting high standards for individual and group behaviors. My desire is that in a group or individual settting that all students would fully engage in learning, making every minute in the classroom count. I can produce student engagement by using teaching techniques taught by other teachers that are proven to keep students' interest level high. The book "Teach Like a Champion" has a plethora of valuable techniques that help students to engage in learning and prepare for college. One such technique is "Do Now"; providing a short warm-up activity for students that can be completed at the start of each day without assistance from the teacher. Usually it is a review of what was recently learned. Another strategy I have used is called "No Opt Out" a technique in lesson delivery that the teacher uses so that every student actively participates in group discussions and learning. I can use Doug Lemov's book to learn many more techniques that keep students interested and motivated to learn and participate. I can also stay connected and informed about current trends and the latest research by reading professional educator magazines and journals.
My reflective coach once wrote "Ms. Fisher is able to build a connection with her students and knows how to build the motivation they have to have to have engagement". I believe creating a connection between the teacher and each student is key to motivating each student, because the student then realizes that to you they are valuable for who they are, not who you want them to be. If a teacher takes a genuine interest in the work each student produces, whether the work is great or just mediocre and the teacher knows the student did their best, then you have helped them succeed.
For teachers just entering the profession, some advice I would give is to use a journal for your first few years of teaching to write down your experiences each day or week, including your successes and failures, what worked and what didn't, what was an exciting moment, and so on, because teaching is truly a journey and experiences are the best lessons and because we teach and learn valuable lessons each day. Enjoy the journey along the way and take lots of pictures!!!!