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.