Saturday, February 7, 2015

Guest Post From the Mrs.

Hi all!  It's Christy!  It has been a long time since I have done a guest post on Sean's blog.  A lot has changed since my last post.  I am now a TOSA (teacher on special assignment) for our school district. I feel like that job description warrants a cape; don't you?

I am working as a Language Arts Resource Teacher.  The irony is not lost on me that I am the one in this position when my husband is such an amazing teacher!  Let's just say that I talk to him constantly about the job, use him as a sounding board, and run all my crazy ideas by him.

I have learned so much in my short time in this new position.  My favorite thing to do is plan and brainstorm with my fellow teachers and co-workers.  I thought I would share a few of the gems I have learned.  I am so excited to take this knowledge back to my classroom.  These tips might not be the usual teacher tips that we all seek out; however, I feel that they are truly transformative.
  1. Purpose- As teachers, we often get distracted by all of the cute "stuff" that is out there.  It is so easy to get lost in the time of year, Pinterest, and our co-workers file cabinets that we forget what our real focus should be.  Only two things should drive our purpose in our classroom- our students and our standards.  If we start with our students' needs and the standards we are charged with teaching then our path will become much clearer.  We will be able to wade through all the good ideas out there with much more ease.
  2. Product- What do I want my students to know and be able to do at the end of my unit of study?  I like to have my final product be some sort of writing piece.  Yes, writing!  It does not matter to me if my content area is science, social studies, math, etc.  I like to challenge my students to synthesize their thinking in writing.  
  3. Reflection- Reflecting on your practice as a teacher is crucial!  I am a reflective person by nature and I have come to realize that this process comes more naturally to me than it does to others; however, I feel it is so valuable to student success!  If I want my students to look at their mistakes, misunderstandings, and areas of weakness, I have to be willing to do the same.
  4. Collaboration-  The days of closing the door and doing everything by myself are long gone!  This job is way too hard and far too important to ignore the benefits of consulting my colleagues and learning from multiple sources.
  5. Fun- Placing fun last on the list does not mean that I value it least!  Our goal, as educators, should be to get our students to love learning.  I taught Kindergarten for 12 years for just this reason!  I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher so I could make students' first school experience positive. My recent K-5 experience has taught me that you don't need to be the first school interaction that students have.  You don't even need to have a whole year with them!  Sometimes, just one meaningful and impactful experience is enough.


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