In order to process all I have experienced and learned over the past sixteen weeks, I must reflect on my personal observations and notes, blogs and suggestions provided by my superiors and peers.
All in all, I have learned that professional growth for me will come from the intentional and deliberate efforts of journaling, reviewing, and connecting academic research to support or improve my teaching behaviors. Teacher inquiry invites intentional, planned reflection, heightening your focus on problem posing using a public platform to discuss, reflect, share, and debate instruction and practice (Dana & Yendol-Hoppey, 2014). Given this deeper connection to reflection, my first goal will be to set aside daily reflection and inquiry time and then apply any developmental changes to my instruction. In order to achieve this goal, I will attempt the following:
- Incorporate reflection time in lesson plan (ideally, teacher reflects and students do, too)
- Have back up time factored into my personal schedule
- If time does not permit, use voice memos app on iPhone
- Video record lessons as often as possible (I can reflect and inquiry time and time again)
- Buddy up with a peer, professor/CT, and/or PLC group who can observe me for specific changes in my instruction and behavior management skills
My second goal is to practice better time management skills. Time management has been a consistent theme throughout my blogs (including Fall 2014 posts). As I reread my post, I realized just how much time management plays a role in nearly every aspect of teaching from transitions to actual productive learning time. For me, I struggle the most with my lesson time management. Much of this has been the result of not dedicating enough time to developing an authentic lesson plan with explicit instructions. According to Weinstein and Romano (2015), “Students are unable to make good use of their time if they are confused about what they’re supposed to be doing” (p. 188). This has proven true in my own teaching experience. Mistakes I have made include giving directions too soon before student independent work begins, being too broad in step-by-step directions, and nearly skipping over them completely. These realizations, in combination with my observations of what quality teaching looks like, have made time management my second goal. In order to achieve this goal, I will attempt the following:
- Seek out advice from peers, PLC groups, coaches, professors and other educational professionals (Be observed frequently, too)
- Track instructional strategies and student response/production levels to determine what works best for specific classes
- Ensure lesson plans include step-by-step and time specific directions with time built in for flexibility
- Have anchor charts in place for student expectations (e.g. bring a pencil and notebook to guided groups and have agendas on desk during independent reading time)
- Incorporate an egg-time for instructional time and rotations
- Provide students individual checklist to guide direction (do the same for me but including more than just directions)
As this semester is wrapping up I am pleased with my progress in the classroom. I know I have so much to learn and try before I will develop into the teacher I envision but I am confident I am on the right path to succeed. I feel two goals is achievable due to their tracking abilities, my resources, and my desires to be an effective and productive teacher.
I look forward to tracking my progress with you next semester!