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.