Reflective Response: The Inner Game Of Teaching

As I reflect back on my previous thoughts on Marzano’s  (2010) chapter over “The Inner Game of Teaching”, I see how the author’s words make a lot more sense now. When I was reading this before, I could understand how there is a constant interaction of a teacher’s inner thoughts with the surrounding school experience. However, this was from an outsider’s viewpoint for me. Now I fully comprehend this reality as a teacher and this knowledge helps me be aware of how my inner thoughts in the classroom affect my behavior.

As I read again through this chapter, I see Marzano’s examples now readily available in my own experiences. Throughout this year, I have fought inner battles to not stamp students with labels that would thus affect my unconscious perception of them. At first, I did find myself taking less time to grade students who have excelled in the past because I was already so familiar to their pattern of turning in excellent work. In these moments, I have forced myself to take extra time to evaluate their work and make sure that they continue to reach the class’ objectives rather than me quickly grading them on their previous track record. The same goes for the students who struggle with their class work or display poor behavior. I realized that I had to follow Marzano’s instructions and constantly evaluate my perceptions of students, how they are created, and how I can best support student learning. This constant reflection and evaluation has gotten easier and easier because I now see that it is becoming less of a forced discipline and more of a immediate habit.

In my previous reflection on this chapter, I discussed the impact that a constant exercise of inner reflections would have on my growth as a teacher. Throughout the year I have tried to ask myself some of the questions that Marzano (2010) suggests on page 350 when presented with the challenging situations that we as teachers face on a daily basis. This began as a forced event and was actually very difficult because I am not very good at multi-tasking. However, through repetition and constant reminders from myself, this has slowly become a routine and quite an encouraging realization. Once I can interpret the situation, I can then decide on an action and goal to reach for in response to that event (pg. 352). This has positively impacted student learning because I have been able to better build supportive relationships with students and families by constantly evaluating my own thoughts and feelings.

Wiggins, G. (2010). R. Marzano, On Excellence In Teaching. Bloomington, IL, Solutions Tree Press.

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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.

My Growth As A Teacher

As I reflect on my earlier post of “The Teacher I Hope To Become”, I see how I have made steps this year towards this vision. My hope to have impactful relationships with my students has been something that I have put a lot of effort into. Through this experience, I have learned that to really know your students well, it takes initiative to maintain meaningful relationships and communication. Throughout this year, I have developed a discipline of asking my students inquiring questions about their lives, which honestly has been a bit intimidating at times. Through these interactions I have learned that high school students do take notice and are positively affected when teachers are interested in their lives.

In my initial post I talked about wanting to be a teacher who is always a learner and I feel that I am reaching this goal this year. I think that this discipline will be something that is important to continue to practice when I am away from SPU’s classes. I have also worked really hard to incorporate technology into my classes and work through the problems that it creates in my digital media production classes. To work towards my goal, I put a lot of focus in my classes on troubleshooting technical issues well and learning through obstacles that might arise.

I have been collaborating with a small group of other teachers each week to talk about how we can be better educators. These actions have come from my initial hope of being a teacher that is constantly sharpened by others. As I look back on my first thoughts of the teacher that I hope to become and have now completed my Draft Professional Development Plan, I see areas where I have progressed and areas that I still need to grow in. These goals can keep me accountable to being dedicated to grow as an educator.