Joe McClung: First Year Reflection
I found the reflections for this assignment very intriguing. It is very interesting to read an honest reflection of a first and second year of teaching.
Mr. McClung cites that in his first year he realizes that it's "not about me anymore." Yes, indeed. It will never and should never be about the teacher. Education is student centered in the best case scenario. You must divorce yourself from all of those selfish tendencies and realize that this is your chance to make a difference in a student's life.
Mr. McClung discusses the need for flexibility. This is probably one of the hardest and yet very necessary attitudes to learn in the first year of teaching. I can remember telling my principal back in 1988-89, that I (21 years old) disliked all "of the interruptions to my lessons." Things definitely do not go as planned sometimes........but, that's okay! Being flexible is a very important skill/attitude to acquire. Students always benefit from a flexible teacher.
Communication is a skill necessary for a successful school year. It takes practice to communicate properly and resolve issues. Most people know the value of communication but avoid difficult conversations for many reasons. When people communicate for a positive outcome or change, it is usually worth it. This is a great lesson for teachers.
Be reasonable. Oh, yes. I couldn't have said it better myself. Two simple words that teachers forget about sometimes. I can remember in my first year of teaching and I had really "piled on" the homework. Kids were coming to school crying and complaining. I was not being reasonable. Four hours of homework? Forgive me!
I made reasonable changes and everyone was happy. If a teacher is reasonable then frustrations will remain low and it produces better attitudes and a more positive learning environment.
Mr. Mcclung reminds us to not be afraid of technology. Technology is essential to learning because it is everywhere in our society. I am not as afraid of technology as I used to be. Use the tools of technology to enhance learning and your students will thrive.
Getting to know students should be a top priority for teachers. Taking time to listen and talk to students will only make the teaching and learning experience more rewarding. A former student of mine is actually taking EDM 310 this semester. I remember getting to know her (Robin Hendricks) and her family. We recently "caught up" in the lab and it was a great trip down memory lane.
Never stop learning. If a teacher decides to only focus on teaching and forget about learning herself, then she will become stagnant and boring. You owe it to your students to be the best teacher you can be and learn as much as you can for them.
On the last day of school in May of 1989 , which was the end of my first year of teaching, I can remember crying and crying and crying. I cried for my students that I had grown to love so much and I cried for myself in happiness and relief. I had made it through the school year very successfully and had learned so very much. You never forget your first class. Here's an interesting link to another reflecting teacher. First year blog
Second Year Reflection
Mr. McClung reminds us to adapt. That is, change yourself or your lesson to meet the needs of your students. A good teacher does this naturally through knowledge and experience. "Change is good," as he says, "and it makes us better." That should be on a poster in every classroom!
Finding your school mom is great advice. These school moms can provide the necessary support and information that is very important to you. You should always appreciate and respect them, as well. I located a "class mom" every year when I was teaching. Some of my "class moms" are still my friends, today!
Try not to be a control freak. A teacher that tries to control everything stifles learning. Students begin to narrow their thinking when control is an issue. That is, students will "burp things back" rather than expand their ideas and explore.
Don't lose sight of what's important. Never! Teachers should remind themselves everyday that the reason they are teaching is.......students. You just can't do it without them. Students should be the top priority.When this happens students are very aware of it and feel important. Students will strive to please the teacher that has made him/her feel valued. Teachers must stay on the right path. Here's a second year teacher's blog. Second year blog
I really enjoyed reading these reflections. Thanks for the assignment.