Master Teacher I, English Dept.
School has finally ended and things are settling down for us teachers. Days look as if to pass by so quickly that it seems amazing everything was accomplished. Despite the whirlwind start of the year, here I am, making time for my reflection.
I believe that contemplating is essential to my growth as a teacher. It’s so much more than thinking that I did a good job or I must change my ways. There are certain things that I’ve done over the year to help me thrive both as a teacher and a learner.
One always daunting, but very important thing, was asking my students how the lesson went. This was done in class with a quick show of hands or a message from facebook coming from my students and even from parents. Part of my reflection was taking an honest look at how things were going. To do that, it’s crucial to hear from others (which I love to do by the way). As valuable stakeholders in my classroom, students and parents might see something that the teacher would not. By listening to them I was able to ponder about my classroom practices from different perspectives. It was also a good thiong that I had a student teacher and got the time to exchange ideas and suggestions on how to make lessons more interesting.
Another is, teachers often presumed that we can jump from lesson to lesson thinking that we can keep the mental notepad up to date as we go. Before, I couldn’t reflect on a lesson because I’ve forgotten exactly what happened in class—and these details were so important when reflecting. At the end of a day’s work, I felt I accomplished nothing. So I learned to use stick-notes in lessons that needed improvement so that I may recover in my next class. If I failed to recall something, these stick-notes really helped me remembering (passages, rephrased questions, additional examples, etc.).
And last, using facebook has been one of the biggest parts of my evolution as a teacher. Once I started sharing my thoughts with the world, I really began paying closer attention to my English class. I’m always looking for something to change or make a twist to transform my lessons. Having an fb account allowed me to share my thoughts with others and get feedback from similarly passionate educators. Connecting with other great teachers (I met through seminars that I attended) through fb has made learning more collaborative. I no longer feel alone when trying to move away from conventional teaching. It, I may say, can be a freeing experience for teachers who are looking to share and, to innovate teaching.
Most teachers might say that there’s very little time in the day for reflecting, and I agree with them. But I still make sure that I find time to, because it’s too important to put aside. All teachers need time to reflect and assess about various ways on how we can be better. We ask this of our students (through their journals), so why shouldn’t we do the same?
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