Tag Archives: reflection

No more theory, put it into practice.

15 Mar

I need a break. I can’t remember what I did this morning (which feels like three days ago), let alone what I blogged about five weeks ago. Thankfully, I have technology to do most of my remembering for me. I have been taking on more teaching responsibilities in the classroom this week, as well as pounding out and polishing up final papers for my teaching courses. I will be thrilled when the last paper is submitted and I can maybe sleep more than 5 hours or even go for a run.

This quarter has been a roller coaster. December was hard. It began with a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, on December 14. I sat down and cried, and found solace in a song. Later in December, I had a huge change in my life, and was lucky to discover people who truly care about me. I initially didn’t want to blog about it, but I found it was profoundly affecting my life – and I began to wonder about students who have trouble and changes at home, and how it affects their learning. So I shared. A little. I opened up my private life to the internet and made my thoughts public. It was hard, but I feel it is important to always remember that our students have a lot going on in their lives that they may not tell us about, but that can immensely impact their school life.

This quarter, I have been inspired by teachers who are not afraid to take a stance and to dive into the politics of education. The many teachers in Seattle who refused to administer the MAP test have been receiving national attention. I wrote a post about it, which prompted some interesting dialogue in the comments. Additionally, I have greatly enjoyed reading The Jose Vilson blog, and this post about white teachers teaching black history month was very striking. I commented that I often wondered about the “right way” to celebrate all of my students. He responded to me (and to the other commentors) with this post, giving some examples of what white teachers SHOULD (in his opinion) do to teach black history.

MAP testing is a hot topic, as one of my cohort-mates, For Whom The Bell Rings, wrote about a recent blog entry from our local weather guru, Cliff Mass. I commented with my own ideas, and the conversation that began in these blogs seeped out into the real world – our carpool, classrooms, and lunch times became sounding boards for ideas and arguments about this way of thinking. It’s just one example of how a blog post can create dialogue and push people’s thinking, on and off the internet.

So, there’s my blog reflection for Winter Quarter. In a week, full-time student teaching/co-teaching begins. We’ve learned the theory, crammed it into our heads, hoping something will stick. We’ve worked with fantastic educators and professionals, and even more fantastic (fantasticker? yeah.) students. Now we’ve got to put it into practice. Blogging isn’t required for the remainder of our program, but I think I would like to continue reflecting on my teaching on a blog, perhaps even collaborating with some of my cohort-mates.

Now, here I go on to the next assignment.

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End of Quarter Reflection: Fall

9 Dec

The quarter doesn’t feel over, yet – I’m still processing things, and I’m still completing a few assignments. I feel as if all I have done in the past week is “reflect.” So now it’s time to reflect on my blogging over the past few months.

One of the biggest goals I set for myself as a blogger this quarter was to blog once a day in November about thinks I am thankful for. I feel it’s important to focus on gratitude, especially in the middle of this quarter when everything was beginning to seem so overwhelming. Some days, I effectively linked my thankfulness to education, such as this post about “Small Business Friday,” or this one about using words like “gay” in the classroom. ome were more personal, such as this one about my dearest friends, and some were just for fun. For the most part, I managed to blog once a day for the whole month. I even wrote a short blog on a day I had the worst stomachache of my life. Why? Because writers write. As a teacher, I hope to model my love of reading and writing to my students (as well as my love of math and science). I love to write, and as Erasmus said, “The desire to write grows with writing.”

My most-viewed post was about a lecture I attended at UW titled “Finnish Lessons – what can the world learn from educational change in Finland?” Not only did members of our cohort comment on it – in the blog and in class – but I also had an actual Finnish teacher comment on it, starting a conversation about what it’s like to get certified in Finland. I am glad I had the opportunity to attend this lecture, and glad that I had this blog as a platform to share what I learned with other people who didn’t have that opportunity.

My most commented on post was about children’s screen time, and whether or not it was good for kids to spend all day sitting in front of a screen. The post was a follow-up to one about the contrast of technology used by my main placement school and my dyad, and my questioning about whether or not reliance on technology was good for students (and people as a whole).

I think the best way to generate comments is to write about something people are interested in – whether it’s Finland or technology. It also doesn’t hurt if that topic is also slightly controversial. Although a lot of the information about blogging out there will tell you that short blog entries are the best, my most-read and most-commented entries were two of my longest ones. I suppose that proves that readers are most interested when the writer is most passionate!

I tried to comment on many of my cohort mates blogs, they are all writing about interesting and insightful things. One of the blogs I commented the most on was Learn2Teach4Equity, such as this post about networking. Networking, meeting and collaborating with other educators, is probably the most vital part of becoming a teacher, and it’s one that can’t really be taught. I think we are especially lucky in this program to be forming relationships with our cohort-mates, which will last through our careers.

I also commented regularly on Teacher PostScript, such as this post about the differences we were observing between private and public schools. We shared a similar experience in our Dyads, going from public elementary schools to private middle schools, and regularly discussed the differences (both in our blogs and in person.)

Recently, I have come across several interesting articles and stories I want to blog about, and have found myself very frustrated that I don’t have the time! I suppose this proves that my month of blogging had a strong impact on me – my desire to write has definitely grown with writing.

 

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