Okay, so let's start out with the easy stuff!
My lie was #3, although some parts of it were true. My husband really is a do-it-yourself kind of guy, and I really am not big on home improvement projects. However, we have not worked on nearly as many things in our house as I mentioned. He really did finish our basement, and we've really painted several rooms, but that's about it. Right now, we are slowly working to redo the future kiddo's bathroom which previously housed a grey tub/toilet combo with laminate wood flooring and peach walls. Ew!
My #1 was true. I really did start as a non-education major. I made the switch to education one semester in, if not officially, at least in the classes that I was taking. Number 2 was also the truth. I've been to some fun places and I hope to visit many more!
Now, onto the book study which I have been avoiding for several days!
No joke, I've really been avoiding posting this since probably Thursday. This chapter was all about defining your beliefs about teaching and learning and I don't know how to explain how difficult this was for me.
I'm going to start with a quote from the book which probably is the root of all my struggles!
What if you have district mandates that run counter to your beliefs? Take the high road. Don't let them defeat you. Do what you have to do; in the end no one can mandate how you feel about children, the ways you interact with them throughout the day, and the things you say and do that reflect who you are and what you believe about teaching and learning.Yeah. This. It's difficult to define your beliefs when you teach in a school with many mandates. It's difficult to do what you have to do when you feel like you what you need to do is follow the directions given to you. I need to be better about taking the high road.
Below is a list of the belief statements that I came up with. They are rough. They are not as edited as I would like, and they do not encompass all of my beliefs, but it's a start. I hope that through this process and book study I am able to refine them into something better and all encompassing. I just needed to get something posted. I need to not let this chapter defeat me!
I'm good with the planned portion of this belief statement. I'm excellent at planning, although there's always room for improvement, of course! I've also gotten a lot better at the intentional aspect of this. What am I teaching? Why am I teaching it? How am I teaching it? What am I looking for? I've been working to build all of those questions into my planning process and it's helped a lot. Now, I need to work on the interesting part by hopefully bringing in more student choice, and the maximum student engagement part. Using a scripted program makes that difficult, but I need to remember my beliefs next year as I plan.
Generally, I feel like I am great at this. My classroom is a comfortable place for students to learn. I teach my students to be respectful and students feel safe. This year was a roller coaster, though, due to some different student situations. I never got to the same point this past year that I usually have in other years. I hope that next year, I don't have that same issue. I'll also be working on some more ideas over the summer that will help bring this belief statement to life.
Physical space organized? Check! (At least the parts people can see!) Routines established? Check! I'm pretty good here. I'd just like to tighten a few things up.
In some ways, this statement is similar to statement two. This year, I spent a lot more time trying to cultivate that sense of team, goal setting, and growth mindset. Some of it was due to mandates, and so it didn't quite play out the same way it would have if I had created the systems in a way that matches my beliefs. I think that's what I need to work on next year. Considering what I want to see in my classroom and putting systems in place to help my students see our class as a team because it is what I believe.
Yes, yes, yes! This is something we always need to be mindful of. It's so easy to lower expectations for one student and suddenly one becomes two and two becomes more and suddenly, everything is out of control! Keep those expectations high! They can do it. Every time I think of this belief, it reminds me of parents who have come into my classroom and seen student work and been amazed by the quality of work that their students have produced! Like.. "Wow! I didn't know my child could do that!" If we set our expectations high, amazing things can happen.
Another one that I feel I must remember more so than others. With scripted programs, it is very easy to rush, rush, rush to try to fit in all the activities for the day, but it is so much more important to take our time and model what we expect to see. Students will never have a student-directed book discussion if the teacher never models what that looks like first. Students will never clean the room up nicely if teachers don't model and share what the expectations are. Students will never transition from group to group if they don't first see significant modeling of what it looks like. I feel like I need to tattoo my hand with the phrase 'slow down' so I remember next year that I need to do what I believe and take my time to model for as long as is needed.
Phew! Another chapter done! Check back for next week's book study update!