Thursday, July 1, 2010
Blog 8: On Learning Lessons
Mr. McLung's "What I Learned This Year", from At the Teacher's Desk
This is a very informative, thought-provoking, and inspiring post by Mr. McLung. Optimism is certainly the best outlook. Perfection doesn't happen in a classroom, but the lessons are absorbed best when mistakes are made (by both the students and the teachers). Selflessness is also key. McLung mentions this in his "How to Read the Crowd" section. Being a teacher does not mean that school is all about you: how you perform is not the question; it's how your projections inspire students to perform. I concur with McLung's statement about "[letting] the audience drive your instruction". It's okay to succumb to tangents in your lessons if it's something students are interested in. Just make sure the tangents are relevant to them and what they want to learn. Teachers should not be speech-makers, they should simply guide students into an area of study, and then let the students immerse themselves.
Muck-ups happen. You have to learn to work "on the fly", because nothing ever folds out perfectly, especially lesson plans. There are constant interruptions. Students will not be able to absorb anything if educators are constantly frustrated about being interrupted. I really like the section about expectations. While we all want our students to achieve certain things, I think the most dangerous thing would be to set their expectations. If they don't make it, they're down on themselves. If they jump over it, they may become bored. I think the best option is to let the students make their own expectations....a stairway of goals intended to inspire children to believe in themselves. Whether group or individual goals, students should be able to apply their own skills and knowledge to analyze what they want to do better. Educators are there to coach them to the next level...not to tell students what the next level is.
"Never stop learning" and "don't be afraid of technology" go hand in hand. If there is any profession in which students should continue their education after their undergrad, it's education. And this doesn't mean do your few professional development classes, go to school, and go home. It is my opinion that educators should constantly search for resources to engage their students. The more we're excited about learning, the more that excitement will project into our classrooms.
Listening: This was the part that stood out to me the most. Respect is a two-way street. Don't just hear...listen.