Sunday, March 24, 2013
Blog Post #9
At The Teacher's Desk: Part 1
This week, we were assigned to read two blog posts by Joe McClung. The first post I read was What I Learned This Year (2010-11). McClung first talks about how important it is that, as teachers, we stay focused on what's best for our students, not necessarily what will please our administrators. He says we initially became teachers to help kids, and that "our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered around pleasing adults". Another point he makes is that you can't expect everyone to be as excited about teaching and change as you are. Not everyone in the teaching profession is going to be as excited and open to change as you might be. However, you shouldn't let those people stop you from being excited. Don't let their attitudes towards change stifle your own eagerness and excitement.
Another point McClung makes is that you shouldn't be afraid to be an outsider. He explains that he enjoys hanging around with his students more than his colleges, and he is aware how that might make him an outsider. But he loves being so connected with his students, so he doesn't really worry about how others perceive him. McClung also points out that it is important to "never touch the keyboard" when you're teaching students. In other words, don't be so eager to take over whatever task you're teaching a student. A student isn't going to learn anything if you do the work for them. Yes, your students are going to struggle while they learn to master whatever skill you're teaching them, but they won't ever really master that skill if you're constantly stepping in and doing the work for them. The last point, McClung makes is we as teachers shouldn't allow ourselves to get too comfortable. While routines can be nice and help us feel comfortable and secure, we need to try new things to keep us from developing routines. Once you get into a routine, he explains, you can become stagnant and stop moving forward. And when we develop an attitude like that, it can be hard for even our students to get motivated. Therefore, we must "be willing to exceed the demands of the traditional 8-3 teaching format", for both our own benefit and for the benefit of our students.
This was a really great post. I agree with all of the points he made. I think it is really important that we focus on what's best for our students. If we concern ourselves too much over pleasing the people who are above us, we risk losing sight of what is really important to us and why we got into the profession in the first place: our students. Something I've learned through my time here in EDM310 is that, unfortunately, not everyone in this course takes their work seriously, and not everyone cares about learning about this new technology we're learning about. The same goes for our teaching careers. Not everyone will be excited about change, and that's something we have to realize. Even so, we can't allow them to influence our own thoughts and feelings about change. We have to keep our fires lit and use that fire to spark the fires of our students. I also agree that it's super important for teachers to stay connected with their students, even if it makes them look odd to their fellow teachers. After all, we're in this for our students, to help them be the best they can be. And we can better help them if we keep connected with them, whether that be through social media or just being around them during lunch or breaks or for hang-outs in the classroom after school.
At The Teacher's Desk: Part 2
The second post I read was What I Learned This Year-Volume 4. In this post, McClung first talks about how he didn't learn as much that year as he had in previous years. But he did learn two important things. The first thing he learned was that he needed to remember who he really worked for and not to worry about how his peers perceived him. He explains that he became wrapped up in concerning himself with how his colleges perceived him as an educator, which is something he never really concerned himself with in previous years. He says that after realizing this, he reminded himself that his main concern as a teacher was making sure his students were taken care of and were having fun. The second important thing he learned was that you must always challenge yourself. He tells us how he noticed himself becoming too routine in his teaching. He admits that he began depending on old lesson plans, and as a result, he began to lose his creativity. However, he was presented with the opportunity to teach a different subject, and even though it will require a lot of work from him, it will be worth it.
I love how this post tied in with his last "What I Learned This Year". He restated in this post that he needs to stop getting so concerned with how his coworkers view him as an educator and focus more on his students. As teachers, it is our job to focus on our students and make sure we are helping them reach their full potential, and we can't do that if we're too worried about what other adults think of us. Again, he also reiterates that you must not allow yourself to become stagnant in your teaching. If you allow yourself to get into a routine, you run the risk of being apathetic to change, which is dangerous. So, in our careers as teachers, it's important to keep that excitement alive and always look for something new to try!