Thursday, October 25, 2012
Blog Assignment #9
Mr. McClung is currently an assistant principal in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After exploring his blog, I discovered that he has taught in both Missouri and Arkansas. He is in his sixth year of teaching. In his post, What I Learned This Year-Volume 4, we learn that Mr. McClung got the inspiration to write a reflective blog post recounting his first year teaching from one of his mentors. He liked the idea so much, and received so much positive feedback that he has continued with his end-of-the-year reflections.
For his 4th year reflective post, Mr. McClung made the comment that he couldn't think of anything new to say that he hadn't said a previous year. That he hadn't really learned anything new. He said only two underlining themes stuck out to him. The first, he has titled, "You Gotta Dance With Who You Brought to the Dance". Mr. McClung talks about how he is concerned with how his peers view him as an educator. He says he was never really concerned before with how they view him, that he only cared about how his students and superiors viewed him. After worrying about this matter, he finally realized that he cannot change who he is as a teacher and he needs to stay true to himself. He has, after all, gotten to where he is today by doing just that. He sticks to one simple rule, and that rule is to make sure his students are having fun while learning.
The second theme is "Challenge Yourself". Mr. McClung has taught the same two subjects at the same school for three years and he noticed he was getting too routine with his teachings. He reused old lesson plans and he realized his creativity was slowly leaving him. He says he was becoming too comfortable as a teacher. Luckily for him, he was able to teach a more challenging subject at a different grade level the next year. He wants his students to look forward to coming to class every day and if he is teaching the same material each time, the lessons are going to suck (his word, not mine). So he says, challenge yourself as a teacher and do your students a favor by making the lessons fun and interesting.
After reading Mr. McClung's blog post, I have a better understanding as to the type of teacher I need to be. My main focus needs to be my students and I need to challenge myself constantly as an educator. Both go hand in hand. If I want my students to take away anything from my class at the end of the year, I need to be creative with my lessons and challenge my students. They will appreciate it in the long run.
I decided to read Mr. McClung's blog post reflecting his first year teaching. In his post, What I've Learned This Year, Mr. McClung starts by saying that he did not fully know what to expect from being an elementary school teacher. Over the course of the school year, he matured as both a teacher and a person, and learned a lot from his first year teaching.
The first piece of information is on how to read a crowd. He says throughout college and his teaching internship he focused on himself as a teacher and how his superiors viewed him. He would see teachers deliver lessons that were not student-centered, meaning they didn't focus on student comprehension. Mr. McClung made sure his lessons were driven by his audience.
Mr. McClung says being flexible is also very important. At the beginning of the year, he would try and be overly controlling with his lessons. He realized that his audience is a crowd of elementary school children and he doesn't need to worry if his lessons go off course. How you plan your lesson is always different than how it is actually delivered. Nothing is going to go perfectly so teachers need to be flexible and work with the situation in front of them.
Communication, says Mr. McClung is one of the hardest skills to develop, but it is the most important. He says build strong relationships with the students and other teachers at your school. When there is good communication, issues can be resolved easily and the focus can return to the students and the classroom. Mr. McClung also makes a good point when he says we, as teachers, should remember to be reasonable. Don't hold too high of expectations for your students. Don't be upset when they fail. The teacher's job is to pick them back up, dust them off, and continue to encourage them. Never stop encouraging.
Mr. McClung's next piece of advice is one I find humorous. He says not to be afraid of technology. I couldn't ever see myself being afraid to use technology, but I suppose that's because I am around it constantly. In fact, I'm eager to use technology in my classroom. Mr McClung also says technology is out friend and we shouldn't be overwhelmed before we even begin to use it.
Mr. McClung's last two vital tips are to listen to your students and never stop learning. Both of which are extremely important. Teachers must listen to their students in order to receive respect from them. Professional educators must always continue to learn and grow.
I really enjoyed reading Mr. McClung's post about his first year teaching. He really seems to enjoy teaching and learning new things every year. I plan to remember all of the tips he shared on his post. It's important to stay positive, continue to learn and grow, and remember that the students should always be the center of focus.