Teach Thought Online Community has developed a new 30 day blogging challenge for November focusing on teaching and gratitude. I have to say I love this idea, I was wanting to do something along this line. I’ll be using this time to also participate in NaBloPoMo, still hoping to try and get NaNoWriMo in as well, we’ll see how it all goes, that’s lots of writing this month.
I can’t believe I’ve reached the end of this challenge. I know I’ve learned a lot about myself as a teacher over the past month. I’m so glad I found this challenge and decided to take part in it even if it was a month late. 🙂 With that in mind here’s day 30:
What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?
I have absolutely no idea. I’ve been thinking about this for days. (I like to read ahead on the questions) I just really don’t know. I might give my students more freedom to determine what they learn, in what order, and how, though I’m afraid of this do to the logistics of a classroom of 20 kiddos each doing their own thing, and the fear that they’d see what others are doing and not finish what they’re working on instead jumping to what others are doing. Maybe if I give them a list of things that have to be done by a certain time and let them choose the order they do them in this might be a step in that direction.
More simple and base than that I might just say to a child “you know others would stop saying mean things to you if you’d quit being mean to them.” There are students I have now who cry and cry when others say things like “I don’t want to be your friend anymore” and yet the crier is often the one that started everything in the first place, I get frustrated with them and I want to say “well that’s what you get for being a brat!” On second thought nope even if I wasn’t afraid I don’t think I’d do that.
How have you changed as an educator since you first started?
For starters I’m less afraid to ask for help. I think when I started I felt like I would be judged as lacking if I had to ask for help with a student. Now I go to my teammates, I talk to parents, the counselor and the administration if necessary.
I’ve moved away from the book only. On the end of year teacher evaluation my first year the principal wrote that I needed to expand to other types of enrichment to something other than worksheets. I leaned hard on the textbook and it’s resources. Part of that was the fact that I was teaching middle school com arts when my training and education was elementary and early childhood, part was lack of confidence. Through the years I have moved away from textbooks and teacher’s guides. When I do use textbook worksheets I create the scoring guide on my own, I don’t trust the TG anymore. I’ve seen too many mistakes, besides it keeps my knowledge sharper to practice the work each year.
My classroom management skills are also much better now than my first year and then I was fortunate enough to have a very set plan in place in my building. I still struggled. I did have some tough kids, see I started after the school year began, the building suddenly had an influx of students enrolling. The students were asked who was willing to switch classes. For my challenge class that was no big deal for my regular com arts class I got some great kids and some who had already pushed their luck in the room they were in and moved a few steps on the behavior/discipline chart, unfortunately for me that information did not come with the kids. I had 4 students who spent more time in ISS than in classes. I saw them when I covered the ISS teacher’s breaks during my classroom assistant hours. Again though this goes back to my not asking for help, I was afraid if I couldn’t keep control of my class on my own without asking for help that I wouldn’t be hired again. Looking back I think it is more likely that it would be taken as a sign of a teacher who’s willing to admit a weakness and use resources. In the years since I have attended several workshops on classroom management and been in schools with very defined steps and schools with no guidance for teachers. I have to say I prefer the schools with set steps at least in elementary and to some extent middle school. I think it makes it easier for students, especially young students.
Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?
In my classroom yes because I teach technology. My lessons are based on what technology knowledge my students need each year and what they will need the following year. Preparing them to live and work in a technologically rich society is one of my main objectives. In a standard classroom no, I think technology should be an aid, a way to convey the curriculum but not the drive behind curriculum.
What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?
Weekends and holidays are my time to destress and recharge my battery. They are also the time I spend with my family and friends which is I suppose part of my destressing. I do however spend time on weekends and holidays planning for future lessons, trying out new things online that I might want to use in my classroom, and occasionally have my own kiddo try those things out to see how they might work with my students. I think without weekends I might end up being a not so nice, not so calm, not so patient teacher.
Gum Drop Mountains – gumdrops of all colors and sizes make up these mountains, they start like all mountain ranges small and grow larger, the larger they get the more white sugar covered their tops become, the first small gumdrops are barely noticeable as they are covered in the powdered sugar snow from the Peppermint Forest
Gum drop pass offers a shortcut through the mountains so you don’t have to go all the way around them, the path is made from green sugar sprinkles gravel and tunnels through some of the largest mountains with no lights along the way the pass is a shortcut but a very dark shortcut.
Jolly – gumdrop mountain/pass guide, heavyset lavender colored, big yellow and black eyes, round white rimmed glasses, 3 purple dotted antenna, pink shorts with large purple polka dots, red and white horizontal striped ribbon candy waist on shorts, no shirt but large white clown-esque ruffled collar with thin red stripe in center
Licorice Castle – black castle with an Arabian/Aladdin feel to it, 5 spires, red licorice bordered archway at the entrance, surrounded by grumpy black and brown licorice lumps
Lord Licorice – tall thin, red licorice twist cane with black ball top, red cape made from licorice twists, black hat large brimmed with red licorice twist “feathers”, black low heeled shoes/loafers, red licorice drop button, red socks/tights to the knees, black short pants hit just above the knee, red shirt with red and black striped puffy Shakespearian style sleeves, very angular face with pointed chin, pointy ears and long slightly hooked and pointed nose, small dark beady eyes, red hair, red gloves that hit halfway between wrists and elbows, sounds like Vincent Price
Gramma Nutt – plump older lady that tends to the peanut patch in her front yard and lives in the peanut brittle house, blue dress with purple polka dots, light blue half apron, light blue bow around neck that holds on her blue bonnet trimmed in white lace, caring woman who watches out for the gingerbread kids, makes a variety of peanut products: brittle, peanut butter, PB cookies, etc
Peanut Brittle House – little cottage made from peanut brittle that was split into boards then pasted together, tall pointed roof, round windows on each wall made from sugar glass, crooked chimney sticks up from the side of the roof, the blue door matches Gramma’s dress
What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?
Pinterest – I have ummmm 22 classroom boards, so I search the appropriate board first and then I search Pinterest as a whole for ideas.
Elementary Tech Teachers – I mentioned this in my PLN post. I go there to find ideas, ask questions, sometimes just to browse.
Google search – Let’s be honest here the tool I use most, even more than Pinterest, is Google search. It’s the first thing I do when looking to solve a problem or looking for new ideas on how to teach something, of course when I find something then I pin it 😉