Finding Confidence and Realizing There is Never Enough Time

Time

This past week has been a pleasant shift for me. I am feeling more efficient, more organized, and more confident. These feelings mean that, even though I struggle with things and have lessons that don’t go great, I am putting my energy into growing and learning rather than feeling bad about myself. Getting to this point has depended on many things. I am the type of person that needs quite a bit of time to fully warm up to new things; I think I’m finally there. I have a great support team in my cooperating teachers and faculty adviser. They make me feel safe to try things, to make mistakes and learn from them, and to hear the advice they give so that I can improve. Lastly, I think I have gained a better understanding of the whole process of designing a unit, finding ways to help students reach the learning goals, and reflecting on the process.

I still have fears that I’m not moving quick enough or that I will let my students down. At the end of the day, I know I’m giving it my all. I have to believe that that’s coming through. I have to believe that the progress I feel I’m making, is coming through. I hope that this new found peace continues and that I can grow even more quickly in this second half of internship. I believe the stumbling and nervousness that I felt in the first part of internship were necessary to go through.

As I reflect and consider what’s ahead of me, I feel slightly panicked at the thought of all of the content I am running out of time to get through. My first unit went over the original time allotment and I worry that Hamlet will too. I just hope it’s not by too much. My brain is going crazy trying to think about where I will be able to fit in all of the things I need to teach my students. And I think it will be many tries before I am able to get everything done in good time. I think time is a huge lesson. How can I crunch everything together, make it cohesive, make it interesting, and make it beneficial for students to learn? I think this will be the question I ask myself throughout my career.

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Taking Care of Myself During Internship

the screamI am one month into my internship. I am being challenged and rewarded in so many ways everyday. I have worked out my first evaluation with my coop and it has given me specific areas to work at, which I am thankful to have. My targets are better for it and I think my growth will be greater as well. I am also coming to the end of my first unit. I have been reflective throughout and will write blog posts on specific reflections, but for this blog post I wanted to be reflective on my feelings and overall health. Everything is so fast paced that it can be difficult to think everything through and prepare myself the way I wish I could.

First of all, people aren’t kidding when they say schools are full of germs and thus people who work in them often get sick. I have been fighting a flu of some sort since the beginning of the school year. It sucks the energy out of me and makes the dreaded energy drinks necessary when I need to plan, but feel the need to nap. Fortunately, I have been healthy enough not to have to miss any school. I really do not enjoy making sub plans or coming back to class and not knowing where my students are at. Hopefully, I am able to stay strong enough to keep this up.

There is another illness I have been facing and working to remain healthy against. And the liminal space I currently occupy as an intern has made this a challenge for me as well. My anxiety continues to be a daily struggle, but one I have been able to stay strong against. However, there are days when my thoughts get the better of me and I have to work to remind myself that being overly critical of myself is not helpful. I work hard to think constructively, because that is all I can do with my “failures” or “weaknesses.”

Overall, I am thankful that I have a strong support system and many ways to find help when I need advice on ways to improve my teaching. While, learning and teaching are the main focus of internship. Taking care of myself is also necessary if I want to be able to be successful. I can do little with a tired mind, so I am doing what I can when I can to be proactive in staying healthy.

Lifelong Learning and Procrastination

ProcrastinationI haven’t written a blog post since the winter school term ended. I have done little networking on twitter (I always vow to participate in #saskedchat, but next thing I know it’s already Friday). I have read less resources on education than I would like to. I signed up for “Education on Air” and ended up not participating (thankfully, I believe I will be able to watch the recording of the lessons. These are all things I am interested in carrying out, but haven’t (yet!). I just started reading The Hobbit. I began writing a short story. I see myself as a lifelong learner. Despite not doing these exact things, I have been learning.

I learned a lot about interviewing processes and I’m getting more comfortable with them. I learned a lot about finding work and how important networking is for that matter. I’m learning more about the internship process that I will be experiencing come fall. I am doing some networking with other educators, which makes me happy. In my personal life, I have been working on my physical fitness. As always, I have a million ideas, goals, and projects on my mind. And I am also learning how to be okay with not getting them accomplished as soon as I conceive of them or becoming so fixated on the future and the road that leads to them that I miss the moments along the way. I enjoyed taking a small rest and I am enjoying being with my family again. It’s all about balance.

That being said, I am once again gearing up to strive to be a great learner, so that I can too be a great teacher. I will be finding myself on twitter for professional networking once again. I will be digging into the many education books I have accrued over three years and the Saskatchewan curriculum for that matter. I will be reading and writing to improve my own practice. I’m looking into other networking sites that will help me set small goals with my creative writing. Finally, I will be trying to blog more often (starting with this post) and improve my e-portfolio too!

I am a lifelong learner. I am dedicated to education, but sometimes I find myself needing to turn everything off for a while. That’s the balance though. I look forward to expanding my horizons and pushing myself farther this summer. I look forward to preparing myself for all that the next school year has to offer and all I have to offer it. Here I go.

Student-Centered Assessment

Assessment

In Making Classroom Assessment Work, Anne Davies cites, “[r]esearch shows that when students are involved in the assessment process… they learn more, achieve at higher levels, and are more motivated. They are also better able to set informed, appropriate learning goals to further improve their learning” (82).

This chapter has connected a few ideas for me. Ways of involving students in the assessment process continue to be generated, process portfolios have been presented and modeled for me, and I have been exploring student-centered teaching. As I see everything come together, I get a sense of how I will be able to structure student-centered assessment in my classroom.

I really like the idea of a process portfolio, because in addition to allowing student to show their growth over a period of time rather than through high-stress exams/final assignments, as Davies mentions, they allow students to take ownership of their learning and often end up learning more as a result. Davies argues that “students need to be accountable for their learning” (77) and I agree. I want my students to engage with their learning and I think that means that I don’t try to make it all about me. For this reason, I also like the idea of expanding the audience to whom students share the evidence of their learning process with (78). I think it would ease any parent’s worries to see how this type of assessment functions through a student-led conference. I think this will also prepare students and allow them to make connections between what and why they learn class material. Presenting evidence of our learning, our abilities, and areas we are working on improving, are lifelong skills.

I am excited to include assessment into my consideration and practice of student-centered learning/teaching. I am intrigued by the opportunity to have student involved in another aspect of their education. I want to consider more the idea that Davies presents at the end of chapter eight, that is that I must “decide the balance of teacher work and student involvement” (83). I believe that as a learn more I will gain a better sense of what that means for me, but more so, I will learn through experience.

Davies, Anne. Making Classroom Assessment Work. 3rd ed. Courtenay, B.C.: Connections Pub., 2011. Print.

Teacher Blogging

Why blog?

I think that blogging allows me to reflect on what I’ve learned and what I have yet to learn. When I read other teachers’ blogs, I am able to get advice from other professionals. I can pose my ideas and ask questions that will help me grow as a professional. I also think being pro-active in constructing your ideal online image is important. When I share my accomplishments and growth, I sharing who I am as a professional. My blog is my e-portfolio and I think that that is a strength. Additionally, it allows me to become part of an online community of educators. It can be a form of professional development when I interact and learn from other educators.

My Experiences

My experiences with blogging have really made me feel connected with others. It has also helped me learn and, in turn, it has been a platform to show my learning. I would recommend giving it a try to other pre-service teachers and current teachers. Part of making the most out of the experience is communicating with others. Commenting on others blogs and sharing your own blog appropriately is important to get a full experience. I think blogging should be more than a one-way communication.

If you’re interested in learning more about what to do and what not to do, there is a great list of Top 10 don’ts for wannabe teacher bloggers. If you are interested in checking out other teachers blogs I also found a list of recommended blogs: Top 14 Teacher Blogs.

Questions

How have your experiences with blogging been? And what do you like or dislike about blogging?