Friday, October 21, 2011
May 27, 2009 What I've Learned This Year (2008-09)
Mr. McClung has done a great thing reflecting on his school year. He automatically has the right idea about understanding his audience. In the first part of this blog he seemed to have the same epiphany Rafe Esquith had when he met his wife. I did a podcast a few weeks ago on analyzing excerpts from Rafe Esquith’s book There Are No Shortcuts. Esquith describes the moment he realized teaching was not about personal success. Like Esquith, Mr. McClung realized in only one year that teaching is a humble and selfless profession that is to benefit students.
Expect the unexpected. I am reminded of Mr. Pausch’s advice in my first post. Things are not always going to be perfect, but they still have to get done. Not getting overwhelmed and improvising when things go wrong is a great example to set for students. Meaning, just because the plan does not go according and not everyone learned their math lesson that day, does not mean the kids have not learned something valuable; they have learned something about their teacher. It is important that you maintain a stable environment. Keep your composure.
Communication is a must. However, it is important remember that communication is a two-way street. Listen to your peers and especially your students; they are always watching and listening to you, whether you realize it or not.
As any educator in the 21st century knows, advances in technology enter the lives of our students every day; thus they enter the classroom. Well, this is definitely not the first time I have read something of this nature this semester. This goes along with my theory that we all need to be technologically “willing.” But I do disagree with Mr. McClung on his position that modern technology is essential in our society. It is a reality in a student’s life, and we must put our biases aside for the benefit of our students’ futures. Awareness is different from dependence.
Mr. McClung closes his first reflection telling us to “never stop learning.” There has never been a more true statement. As I said, kids may not always pay attention to your lesson, but that does not mean they are not watching your every move and picking apart every word you speak. If they see you as a pompous know-it-all, they will never entertain the idea of learning something from someone who cannot possibly know everything.
This post has reminded me to remain humble and put my students first. Also, I have realized that my students’ success will depend on my ability to handle any obstacle and always have a willingness to learn from my mistakes as well as be open to new techniques.
June 23, 2011 What I Learned This Year (2010-11)
It was nice to see that three years after his first reflection Mr. McClung is still humble in his profession. The opening to this post mirrors Mr. McClung’s first reflection. Three years into the field of education he is still emphasizing the importance of the student experience of education rather than professional evaluation. Students excelling should be the only evaluation.
In his third year of teaching, Mr. McClung seems to have run into what most of us deal with the first week of any new job. His third reflection also discusses the grumpy co-workers that exist at every job. When I was in the Navy, I encountered this for the first time. And like McClung, I never allowed the negative comments stop me from making the most of my time in the military. I finished making rank and achieving medals for hard work and good conduct. I am quite proud of this accomplishment since so many of my peers did not obtain these accolades. McClung has given me a great reminder about the prevalence of negative attitudes and their numbing effect. There is nothing wrong with being different. Your positive attitude could be the thing that turns around an underachieving school that is in desperate need of a spark.
I really liked the “Don’t Touch The Keyboard” section. It is very important to never become a crutch for the student to lean on. But, this does not mean you should not assist a student in need. However, they must be given every possible opportunity to complete difficult tasks on their own. It is critical to their survival in a “no excuses” world.
And McClung ends this blog with great advice reminding us all to never be satisfied. This is not only good advice for fellow and future educators. In fact, it sets a great example for the students. They too should never be “comfortable” with a B average. With a little extra hard work, they may be an A student.