Q: What aspects of education am I excited about?
A: The biggest area of education that I am excited about revolves around giving my students choices in their learning. Whether these choices come in the form of deciding what novels we will study or how each student will demonstrate their learning, I shiver with enthusiasm as I picture this year. I know that there will be challenges for the students and me as we chart a new course on how to go about learning. There are so many aspects of my new plans for teaching that I am still considering, but evaluating how I have taught in the past and what methods haven't seemed to work has been a valuable tool in my preparation for this upcoming school year.
These preparations have provided a huge challenge to me. In my past summers, I might tweak a few ideas here or there, but I never made any significant changes. This year I have embarked on a complete overhaul of how I go about encouraging my students to learn. I'll have to admit that committing to changing my teaching framework from the "traditional" teacher-on-stage mode to a facilitator of student choice in their learning made me confront some of my long-held practices and beliefs about learning. A lurking uncertainty and discomfort often existed in my thinking about whether my teaching methods were sufficient. I frequently found myself blaming others for difficulties within our classroom, but doing so often seemed like I was making excuses. The one question I have been asking myself throughout this summer is: Would I like to have a certain method or action used on me as a teacher? If the answer is no (which has occurred the majority of the time in my pondering), then I feel compelled to design a different manner for encouraging the learning to go forward. While these considerations have created a great deal of work for me this summer that will surely continue throughout the year, I have been convinced by other people's experience through my reading books and blogs that this type of meaningful change will lead to greater learning for the students and myself.