Change seems to be always reluctant; always kicking and screaming and refusing to be embraced. Whether it’s at home or in the classroom, change always seems to make people feel uncomfortable.
Reading blogs and tweets, however, I feel like CHANGE is coming to our schools. Maybe it’s a younger, driven core of teachers pushing for it, or the realization that things need to change in order for our students to gain the most out of their educational experience. I don’t know. But we always tell our kids, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Why not practice that?
I’ve bounced around in a couple of different positions, and as frustrating as it’s been to land a permanent job, I’m extremely grateful to my school district for the opportunities to learn and develop myself. I’ve taken something out of each position I’ve held to make me a stronger teacher. Unfortunately, because of that, when I reflect on my own performances, there may never be any change to come out of that reflection because I’ve only taught social studies more than once (twice). So I think to myself, “If I ever were to get back into a regular education classroom, what types of things would I do differently, regardless of the subject?” So here is a brief, ever evolving list of things that I’d do differently, just so that they’re published and I can remind myself later. This is the change that I’m reflecting on.
- If ever given the option to co-teach again, I would jump all over it. I’ve only done it once before, and I wouldn’t call myself arrogant as I would naive. I didn’t choose to take advantage of the opportunities a co-teacher presents the students. I thought that I could handle everythign on my own. I think I did ok, but was not as effective as I could’ve been. I would work with that other teacher in developing lessons that utilize more small group discussion and projects so that all of the kids get the most out of the class.
- Flip it! The more I read about flipping a classroom, the more I see its benefits. I’m a big supporter of allowing the students to grow as individuals, and this is a perfect opportunity for kids to take responsibility for their own success. I’ve gotten pretty good with ‘Screencast-o-matic,’ and would love to make screencasts and online assignments for the kids to do at home so that when they come in the next day, we can take our discussions and collaborations to new heights.
- Blogging. Kids can always learn to write better. I’m hopefully going to be a good example of that, because I’m using this blog here to try and make my writing better. Blog topics don’t come at me regularly, but if a student has something to write about, it’s easier for them to get started. This also allows other students to comment and help each other become better writers.
- Apple Tech. I think I could honestly do without a SMART board. I’m at the point where I can do just about everything with an iPad and Apple TV (save for teaching technology, since we’re using Windows based programs). I’m confident that I could even develop a pretty good 1:1 program if we had a class set of computers/iPads.
- Grants. I need to take advantage of free money. It’s tough to do if you can’t control the future of your position, however.
- Student ownership. This is the big one for me. I’m trying to drive myself towards allowing students to think for themselves and to try and figure things out. I’ve started to change my approach to some things. Now, instead of students asking me how to do something, I start asking questions back to get them to think about what they’re asking and what they want to do. Students can do it (it doesn’t matter what ‘it’ is, but they can do it!), and we need to show them that they can.
Again, this is brief, but I wanted to start putting something down instead of all of this rattling around in my head. Anything and everything that I do is for the students and trying to find out how I can teach better to benefit the students is my ultimate goal.