I believe being a writer is one of the biggest gifts you can give to your students. ~ Stacey Shubitz
This month I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for creating a space for me to share my corner of the world.
Today I am participating in Digital Literacy Sunday with Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche.
I sit here today thinking about final plans for this week. We have three more weeks before our second round of testing which lasts two weeks, and then we have our last three weeks of school. For me, this school year is almost over. It becomes a time of reflecting, questioning, and doubting.
This is my tenth year of teaching. I have taught grades 4-6, and I have taught language arts and math. Teaching sure has changed dramatically in these short ten years.
My first year we used a basal reader and all of the accompanying worksheets. I hated it, and the kids hated it. (That was the one and only year I did that!)
We went to a computer lab once a week where we typically worked on keyboarding skills or a math facts program and occasionally completed research and created a Powerpoint presentation. Presentation options were limited.
I taught with transparencies on an overhead projector which sat in the middle of the room and projected on a pull-down screen.
Learning was contained within the four walls of our classroom and was mostly teacher-driven and teacher-led.
Reflecting on that first year, my teaching seems archaic. It is hard to believe it was just ten years ago.
Technology has allowed learning to become personalized, global, and more engaging. Learning is student-led and student-driven. Our world has become larger because of connections, and learning no longer has walls.
For me, teaching has become more rewarding, yet more challenging. It was much easier to open the teachers manual and read from a script and say that we were "teaching."
Now, I spend hours, days, and summers learning new ways to improve my teaching through the use of technology and to make learning more engaging. I read books and blog posts, go to conferences, and collaborate with teachers from far away places. I build that passion that crafts my teaching. But after spending this time becoming a better teacher, a burning question raises its ugly head.
Is it enough?
We, as teachers, are our biggest critic. We are first in line to question, Have I done enough? Is this engaging? How can I make this better?
I need this burning question to drive my passion and my desire to improve, but without beating myself up. Without the question, Is it enough? would I still be teaching like I did ten years ago? I owe this burning question to my profession, to myself, and to my students.
As long as you ask the question and keep learning and improving you are in a right place. it might help to change from "Is it enough?" to "What next?"ReplyDelete
Yes, Terje, I like that question much better!Delete
I so agree with Terje - it is not is it enough? it is what is next? - what is new or has changed that will engage myself as a learner and my students - you are in the right place - doing the right thing.ReplyDelete
Maybe I should rewrite the post! ;)Delete
Love your burning question Leigh Anne! I ask myself that all the time and my answer is usually a resounding no! Otherwise, I would have stopped reading professional books a long time ago. I would never participate in Twitter chats. I would never try to keep a blog and make a commitment to writing every day. I wouldn't register for online courses, webinars, conversations, etc. It is never enough because we are constantly learning and our students change from year to year. We need to address the needs of each new class. Thanks for this post. It has affirmed that teaching is really a continuous path of learning, for ourselves and our students.ReplyDelete
It is the question many ask, and sometimes one has to say, "yes" or "yes", let me get some rest, too. Tech has added to the plate, in wondrous ways, but adds. And the answer often is unique to the student, all so different. FYI - I'm tickled about the overhead. Our school kept a couple because students used them to enlarge things. Even old 'tech' can be useful.ReplyDelete
Being a reflective teacher is imperative to your growth as an educator. Don't forget that there are tons of amazing things you are doing that ARE enough, what else could you do? Only you can reflect on that.ReplyDelete
Just being aware that change is possible or needed, is a first step. Teachers with passion like yours are enough because you are always pushing the bar just a bit higher for yourself and your students.ReplyDelete
FYI: the app I used for the collages today is called LiveCollage Pro-Photo Collage Maker & Photo Editor on my iPad.
I think that for teachers who grow, they feel like it is never enough. That's what keeps us growing.ReplyDelete
So well-pondered for many reasons. Passion is contagious, so, if we are not enjoying growing as learners, neither will our students. We have to ask "Is it enough?" with regard to 1) What do my students need? and 2) What do I need in order to make that happen? I fully appreciate the point about not beating yourself up - as a friend once told me, "Don't SHOULD on yourself." No time to waste thinking I should have/should not have ... we press on and your post is a striking illustration of that.ReplyDelete
I taught much like you did in my early years of teaching. Now I can't imagine going back to that style. My world has expanded, and I've met and been encouraged by so many teachers like you. I always ask that question. I am forever second guessing and especially now in the season of testing. Like you said, we can beat ourselves up over it, or continue reflecting and improving our teaching.ReplyDelete
Your reflections are what help make you so amazing in the classroom!ReplyDelete