Final Teaching Reflection

It’s the last day of school. I sent my students videos as a goodbye, making sure to place my bi pride flag and women of Wakanda poster in the background. Even though I won’t be going back to that school, I wanted to remind my students what I stand for–inside and outside of the classroom.

At this moment, I don’t have much positive to say about the education system. I’ve felt isolated and crushed over the past year as a teacher trying to connect my students to the land they live on, the places they come from, and what the world could be. I’ve been fighting a system of erasure at every step, and I’ve felt it. I believe in education as a tool now more than ever. But my hope in reform for education–as low as it was before–has all but vanished.

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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 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 13

I need to detach myself from the weight of testing and quantitative data.

I have 2 purposes (for myself) as a teacher. They are coexistent but don’t have to relate to each other–

  1. Engage my students in critically analyzing their world.
  2. Develop their French proficiency according to standards set by the county.

The second is *secondary* and while it is important, I need to work on stressing myself over it less. For my personal sanity, I cannot invest so much into a purpose I don’t believe in.

Outside of my issues with teaching a colonial language, language learning is a natural and cultural process. It shouldn’t be packaged and commodified to demonstrate intelligence/value. And that’s exactly what our education system does.

I don’t have a choice in my being inside of this system. But I can continue to work to distance myself from it, and towards one that does not seek to crush me or my students.

I can choose to not willingly take oppression home with me.

Teaching Reflection: Week 11

    1. Decolonial pedagogy: We’ve been talking about Canadian residential schools in my 8th grade classes and the students have been a lot more interested and reactionary than I thought they would. Curiosity, anger, questions about whether it happened in the U.S. Assimilation and contemporary connections to immigration. This all engaged students who I never would’ve thought would care.
    2. Pre-made second language critical lesson plans: SO THANKFUL to all the people who have created critical lesson plans (especially the ones I found in French). Lesson-planning is already so much work. So those who are doing that critical work–especially in languages other than English–PLEASE KEEP DOING IT (and make your materials accessible online). I want to at some point put my own lessons online, after I have time to revise them and provide detailed instructions.

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