Reflective Response: What’s My Job?

As I look back on my first thoughts towards our readings from “What’s My Job“, I see the impact of my experience as a full time teacher. In my original post, I see a good amount of my writing focusing on emotional aspects of teaching and an almost childish hope for what things would be like in a perfect world. Some of these hopes are good, but as I reflect on my experience now, I see how important the concrete ideas in education are. Of course we are still teaching to make a positive impact on the students lives, but I now have a more solid viewpoint of my motivation as a teacher and the goals that I hope to achieve. Teaching does not seem as whimsical as it did in the beginning of summer, and I think that is a very good thing.

Through this experience I have been able to see the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of education. The issues that Wiggins (2010) points out in this chapter are something that I now read and recognize as examples from my own experience. He talks about the “…absence of true accountability in education…” (pg. 7) and I now understand how this is a reoccurring reality in teaching. A full day of teaching barely gives room to eat lunch. When I first started this program, I was very overwhelmed and was in constant go-mode throughout the entire day. I soon found that it was very easy to retreat to my own classroom for a moment to catch my breath and even easier not to see other colleagues throughout the day. This is not to say that a moment to rest is not good, it just shows how easy the temptation in teaching is to not set up a system of accountability. This year I have learned that accountability is something that teachers need to be deliberate about, which is exactly why Wiggins is bringing up this major need for teachers to think about what they are supposed to “do” as teachers (pg. 9). With this in mind, I have taken deliberate steps towards growth and have also put together a group of teachers that can hold me accountable to make sure this growth happens.

As a growing teacher, I have also learned what Wiggins (2010) meant when he discussed the need for teachers to teach for student understanding (pg. 23). When I previously read this, I did not fully comprehend what the difference was between “understanding” and the regular student learning that occurs in the classroom. Throughout my teaching experience, I am now able to see when students really understand something and also when students are simply regurgitating information. When students display the latter, I can now give students opportunities to further comprehend the information rather than just moving onto the next subject.  This is positively affected student learning in my visual art classes as I see students applying the information in their own lives. As I reflect on my growth as a teacher throughout this year, I see how I am also “understanding” the many aspects of education, which is quite exciting.

Wiggins, G. (2010). What’s my job? R. Marzano (Ed.), On Excellence In Teaching (pp.213-246). Bloomington, IL, Solutions Tree Press.

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6 thoughts on “Reflective Response: What’s My Job?

  1. Joanna, I love how you said that you were more emotional about your thoughts on teaching in the beginning of the program, as I also see that in my posts and reflections form the beginning part of the program. Now it does seem like we are moving into a new phase where we are not afraid of what may happen, or we are unsure of ourselves as teachers. We are now in a growth phase, where we can expand our thoughts beyond just reacting to situations we are faced with.

  2. Hi Joanna, I also like your words, “…as I reflect on my experience now, I see how important the concrete ideas in education are… Teaching does not seem as whimsical as it did in the beginning of summer…” I relate to that. Somewhere in the first set of internship teaching experiences I realized how much content we need to transfer and help students master, and how daunting that can be. The beauty in that has been that students DO learn. What a great design we human beings are! I find myself delighted when students, even those with difficulty learning, make progress. Before I had done much less thinking about bringing a student from point a to point b and beyond to z. It will be a thrill to watch progress over time in our classrooms.

  3. I really like your affirmation that we are coming to “understand” about teaching. Frequently I find parallels between my experiences as a student learning to become a teacher and my students’ learning experiences. I think that awareness has brought an added depth to my teaching and relationships with students. Sounds the same for you. Goo luck in the continuation of the journey!

  4. I agree that during a day of teaching, you barley have time to eat. Accountability is lacking in the teaching world. We as teachers must hold our selves accountable. A teacher’s job is NEVER done. There is always something to do. I must agree, I do want to do everything but have realized there is no way to get everything done each day. I work my hardest throughout the day and also take a fare amount of work home with me like grading and lesson planning. As the only teacher in my classroom, I have learned that I need a little bit of time at home after school for me. At the start of my teaching career, I worked until it was time for bed. After a while I became overly tired. My mentor told me that I needed to rest and take a little time for me in order to provide the best teaching to the students.

  5. I was glad to read that you deliberately found or formed a professional accountability group. I think this is a good idea. It would have been interesting to learn a bit more about this. Perhaps in a field post one week?

  6. The following grade information is provided for your reference. There is no need to post this to your site.

    Self-evaluation (2) – 2
    Connections (2) – 2
    Positive Impact (2) – 2
    Presentation (1) – 1
    Organization (1) – 1
    Reference (.5) – .5
    Timely post (.5) – .5
    Interaction (6) – to be verified.

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