It’s me again! I’m back with some insight into the world of a brand new teacher. The last time I wrote, I think I was wrapping up my second year, or perhaps starting my third year of teaching. Yikes. Way to go on keeping up, Tanya. As I am writing this, I am embarking on my fourth year of teaching language arts to middle school students.
I can honestly say that this is the first summer I haven’t pre-planned EVERYTHING in my school year. No changes in my routine; no last minute revisions on the first week of school. Just business as usual in Appling’s classroom. It feels sort of weird having things “how I want it.” Nightmares of teachers never changing their old school methods are popping into my mind. You know the kind of teachers. They are the ones who still show slide shows (and I am not talking about power point) of how to dissect a frog. This still happens today, people. My fear with the ‘laid back’ attitude I am having is becoming one of those teachers…the ones who never, despite countless evidence, change what they are doing in the classroom just because they are too scared [or too comfortable] to change. If there is one thing that I have learned in education, it’s that things are always changing, and you should be prepared to change.
I am finding there are some old school methods that still work. Sometimes drill and practice can be the best thing for certain students. Sometimes giving students a classic piece of text can be just as inspiring as a current piece. Sometimes test scores don’t truly matter when it comes to measuring real education.
My goal for this year is to have fun. I finally feel like I can go into any classroom situation and be okay. Gone are the days when I question: “Well, what if a student does this?” or “What if a kid does that?” or “What if my class is like this…?” In my mind, I have scenarios which I have dealt with in my teaching career that help me answer those questions. Fortunately, my first three years have taught me a thing or two about classroom management; now, I am ready to take on the curriculum side of education. How do I get my students to really enjoy reading and connect to what they read? How do I get them to write what they are passionate about and communicate those passions well? How do I connect reading and writing to the real world and make it meaningful? These are the next set of questions in my ongoing career as an educator. My hope is to always be open to answers, no matter how long I’ve been teaching or how uncomfortable those answers make me.