Teaching Reflection: Week 20/21

Negotiated syllabus: I love the negotiated syllabus because it makes me (and hopefully my students) so intentional.

Shout out to the critical crew at the University of Hawaiʻi, Second Language Studies department: I felt really comfortable scaffolding activities to help students contribute to making the syllabus There’s a lot that we had no choice on (county requirements), but I was surprised by how much they bought into deciding things like expectations for themselves and specific things they want to learn about. I feel a lot of more comfortable in planning lessons since I’ve surveyed them on how they want to learn.

Watching students develop: It’s also been interesting seeing them hit different points of puberty/maturity. The 6th graders are starting to develop attitudes, the 7th graders are getting bigger attitudes, the 8th graders are becoming teenagers. It’s making me thinking more about myself in middle school.

Other thoughts: I’m feeling more energized by the start of the third quarter. I feel like the second was a lot about surviving. I feel like I’m beginning to emerge from the weight of everything that’s been put on me. I’m just hoping I can keep some of that as February/March/April go on.

Also have started showing my kids “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and they are HOOKED.

Teaching Reflection: Week 18/19

  1. Personal time: I’m in a transitional moment right now, which is making reflecting a bit harder. But maybe that’s a part of the reflection process? I’m intentionally putting more time into developing myself, outside of my teacher role. Not thinking about how what I do outside of work can be brought into the classroom. Just thinking about the things I want to do and accomplish. The person who I want to be.

I think that sense of personhood can get lost in any job. In teaching it comes from the quantification of people (students, teachers, etc.) and their work (test scores, hours worked, certification classes, turnover, etc.). It’s something I have to confront at work, but not something I have to take home. Continue reading

Teaching Reflection: Week 16/17

Having time away from work has been such a huge blessing. I’ve gotten time to re-evaluate who I am as a person, and thus who I want to be as an educator.

I plan on finishing out this quarter focusing on getting the students ready for their Quarterly Assessments. I’m honestly happy to be running on autopilot for this month, essentially.

For the 2nd semester/ 3rd and 4th quarter, I plan on starting with a negotiated syllabus. The students know enough about French and general expectations to have more say in how they want to work towards the last half of the year.

Honestly, that’s one of the few things I’m excited about in this job. I’m still figuring things out, but my general thinking going into 2020 is that I can’t let the system of public education make me forget that I matter.

Teaching Reflection: Week 15

The surprises are constant. Like the students who never look engaged making progress after so much time encouraging and pushing them, or leaving them alone (cause hovering can also not work). There are so many limitations on how I can support my kids, it’s frustrating to see them fall behind when I know there’s a lot out of their control contributing to that.

But they’re learning! Now I just have to figure out what I can do to help them not fail (in the eyes of county testing system).

Also just like, burnout. Like the teachers, the students, administration. Thank goodness for winter break because us dealing with each other so much is draining.

Teaching Reflection: Week 14

I was reading an article about mentorship a while ago, which specifically commented on how people need to be better trained as mentors. The author was highlighting the issue of how many people who get into mentorship programs with various organizations aren’t prepared for how hard mentorship can be–that your mentee isn’t always going to do what you think is best, listen to your advice, be in a good mood, etc.

I think that’s one of the many difficult things about teaching. I tell kids that doing their homework will help them on quizzes, and they still don’t do it. I tell them to use their resources and notes, and they still throw papers away.