This year has been an enlightening year for me as I’ve always wanted to know more about best practices in the area as kindergarten as well feeling renewed as to why I teach the way that I do.
The Master’s program at St. Mary’s University has really encouraged and pushed me to research current ideas in a topic I was interested in, reading, as well as implement new ideas. This year I’ve introduced several new strategies to help guide and strengthen my reading instruction. I’ve included Daily Five as a way to manage guided reading time as well as increase the time students are spending on reading. We discussed how to read a book, practiced good reading habits, how to find a “good fit book” and built our stamina. Prior to this year, I had never discussed these ideas with my students. I’ve also been using more choice for my student in picking the books that they read. It’s been a great motivator for the students as well as takes the responsibility of organizing books off of me. I’ve increased my repertoire of effective instructional strategies and now when I plan a lesson I take a second look to ensure I’m teaching with an essential question and using Morzano’s list of ideas. In the future, I’d still like to look more closely at my units and find ways to have the students guide the instruction and provide more time to get in depth with topics.
Through reflection and self-analysis I was more aware of my interactions with my students in pursuit of achieving quality relationships with each student, even the difficult ones. I had several challenging student with behaviors this year so I know I can still grow and develop these skills. I also felt encouraged to have the right “mind set.” Teaching with intention, having a daily gratitude list and improving the way I problem solve and interact with co-workers have all created within me a new awareness. Again, I can’t say I’ve perfected it all but I’m taking baby steps to be a better teacher and a better me.
Lastly, my spirit for teaching feels renewed. I’ve been out of the student role for ten years and I’ve forgotten about some of the reasons and theories behind the way I teach. It’s been exciting to still see the University encouraging us to play and use creativity with our students. I love taking a worksheet and creating a hands-on experience. I’m glad the educational world still sees the value of learning that way. The constructivist teacher within me is happyJ