Reflection of my learning this year and what I am going to take from it into my teaching for 2018.
This year has perhaps been the most reflective and personally honest year with my teaching since I began teaching in 2000. Looking back, I know that I was beginning to feel ‘burned out’ and ‘stagnant’ in my teaching before leaving the USA. Although we had adopted and implemented a brand new literacy curriculum (that I helped to write) and a brand new maths curriculum (that I helped train others in our district to teach), I still felt as if my own creativity was being stifled and the demands to be on a certain page in the curriculum at a certain time were limiting my own innovation in my teaching.
When I began teaching in NZ, I had so much to learn about the different classroom models and curriculum. I often felt my previous professional confidence level challenged and I had many internal struggles over my own abilities. However, as my understanding of the curriculum grew and I was provided with opportunities to grow and sharpen my pedagogy I really began to see the opportunities that I now had as a NZ teacher to build my own passions and innovation back into my daily classroom teaching.
When I considered applying for the Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher program for this year, I was very excited to be part of a group that would not only provide an opportunity for me to research and try new ideas with my students, but also provide an avenue for professional conversations and growth for myself.
It is so hard to believe that the year is coming to a close, but there are a few things that I know I will definitely be bringing with me into my 2018 classroom.
- Students will be provided opportunities to simply talk (whether it be on a screencast, blog post or in a small group/buddy share) about what they have read.
- Students will be encouraged to independently read novels of their choice and be provided time in class to do so in an effort to increase their reading mileage.
- Students will be encouraged to dive deeper into topics of interest that are discovered when reading an assigned text...even if they lead to a bunny trail away from the original assignment for a time
- I will continue my personal education that will enable me to implement various methods that promote dialogic conversations
- I will continue to use the multi-textual database, while promoting, encouraging, and educating other teachers about the benefits of contributing to and using a database of this nature.