Processing Strategy: 3 A's
Agree: Maintain passion and playfulness: The great thing about teachers is our passion that we bring every day for our students. I make it a point to make sure my students feel comfortable when they walk into the classroom. I also like to work with the motto “work hard, play hard” because in life you are going to dedicate time to work with incredible passion and effort, but it is important to have some fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. I always try to make sure my students are working hard, but I also like to show them that there are times when you can be a kid (whether it’s doing something goofy or fun). I try to create a classroom environment that is more a conversation, rather than me talking to them as a teacher all of the time. We have such a unique and amazing job and it is important to embrace your “kid” side every now and then.
Aspire: Sometimes I find myself having pre-conceived notions about students because they weren’t follow directions, paying attention, struggling with a math concept. I think it is important to take a step back and realize that each student has unique characteristics that help add to our classroom community. They are kids and it is important to understand that when working with them every day. I aspire to continue putting aside some of those caricatures to make sure I am giving equal time to learn about my students deeper than what they are doing in an academic setting.
Ask: My question is, how do we help relay these messages to our students? These are great habits of teachers but I also think it is important to relay these messages to our students for their future.
Agree: One item I agree with in this article is a change in perspective. This year especially, I feel that I have changed my perspective on student actions in the classroom. I have noticed by doing this a total shift in not only my mindset but my classroom environment. Students trust me more than they ever have and I have built great relationships and rapport with the students in my room. This frame of mind, I believe, comes with more maturity in the profession. It is difficult as a brand new teacher to not think things like, why is this student giving me a hard time. In this mindset it changes to, this student is having a hard time-why? What can I do to help? What can I change? What is going on? It is with this healthier mindset that I have been able to reach students on a new level.
Aspire: Although there are many items in here that I strive to aspire to, one of the most challenging ones I feel is embracing humility. As a new teacher, I am learning the craft and profession and in doing so, remain hard on myself to perfect each item in my classroom. I find myself learning regularly from colleagues, observing them and taking new techniques with me to my classroom. The difficult part lies in not tearing myself down afterward. With suggestions and constructive criticism it is easy to think, “yes, I’ve tried that” or “that might not work because,” when in reality moving past this and utilizing strategies as needed, I can change and grow even more than I already am.
Ask: I found the “Ditch the easy caricature” portion interesting. What are some other ways or suggestions to go past the caricature to create the most authentic understanding of our students?
Agree- I agree that it is extremely important to embrace student differences in the classroom and remember that there is more to each student than the labels that are placed ion them. When we get to know each child for who they are, then we as educators can begin teaching the whole child and nurture their intellectual growth as well as their emotional growth.
Aspire- I loved the section of the article that discussed getting to know students outside of the classroom. The example of having hall duty was given, but as I was reading it I was thinking about joining my class for lunch in the cafeteria. I think it will help develop a different connection to the kids in my class.
Ask: How can we, as educators be more intentional in how we approach implementing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective t\Teachers
Jillian Simpkins (Flasher) - 3 A's Response
Agree - There are so many quick take-aways from this article that really resonated with me, but the one that stood out the most was number 7 - Maintain passion and playfulness. As I sit down week after week to plan for my kids, it would be easy to find an "easy" lesson or something that doesn't take a lot of prep work, but I think that taking the easy road is a disservice to our students. After a few of my observations, a couple principals told me that it looks like I'm having fun, and that in turn makes my class fun for my kids. I think that igniting the passion that we have is the starting point for igniting that same passion in our kids.
Aspire - If there's one thing I've learned through the first couple months of this year, it's that everyone sees things differently. Having principals and administrators in and out of our rooms, there is always feedback. Many times, it's little things that we didn't even notice. As much as we plan and prepare, there are always details that can be tweaked to make it better. Number 5 - Embrace Humility is what I choose for Aspire. Even as a 3rd year teacher or 10th year teacher or 30th year teacher, I hope to always embrace humility and take others' ideas to heart. The people that are in our rooms are providing feedback because they want us to succeed so taking advice with humility is the best we can do for ourselves, our students and our schools.
Ask - Number 4 is Explore the Ethics of Teaching. I feel that this is a crucial part of teaching and something we must continue to explore and we become seasoned teachers. Our PD department does an awesome job of providing us with resources and materials to do just this. My question is, what other ways can we explore the ethics of teaching on our own - at school or on our own time?
Agree: Can I agree with all of it? I guess what stands out to my most - "Having fun with your subject and your students will give students permission to engage, even invest, in their learning, and it will elevate your spirits. There’s so much stress involved in teaching today’s students; moments of true passion and playfulness bring back much-needed humanity. " There is so much pressure on both us and our students that it could become so easy to simply teach the content and not put any fun into it. But where is the joy in that? If we create engaging and meaningful lessons, students are more likely to achieve long-term learning and growth. I think in CB we do a great job of creating a dynamic and engaging learning environment for students, but unfortunately we live in a test-driven world.
Aspire: I know many teachers who send home parent surveys at the end of the school year. Admittedly, I have yet to do so! I welcome feedback from adminstrators and colleagues, but asking for feedback from parents scares me. I honestly think feedback from parents would be very beneficial, so I need to overcome my fear of receiving negative feedback and simply be open-minded and accepting.
Ask: I feel I am constantly struggling with the questions/scenarios posed under the "Ethics of Teaching". I like having the success standards on a report card because it helps solve the scenario of "if a project is late, do you deduct points?" I personally believe that should be reflected in the success standards. However, the one scenario I am particularly struggling with is if a student is not fully equipped in English, to what degree do you accept their written answers on tests and to what degree do you hold them accountable in writing?
Agree: One thing that I agree with is that as teachers, we need to allow others into our classrooms to give us new ideas and strategies. This article says that "wrestling with practice like this breathes new life into our work." I know for a fact that I do not always know the best way to teach something and that my lessons are not always effective. Over the year, I have had many different individuals come into my classroom, and their suggestions and ideas have made my classroom and my teaching stronger and more effective. It is not always easy to be critiqued, but it is worth it.
Aspire: I aspire to always remain passionate and fun as a teacher. It feels easy as a new teacher to be excited about what I am teaching and to make learning fun, but I want to continue doing this for my students even after teaching for 20 years. I have seen firsthand that my excitement and willingness to have fun with learning helps engage my students and makes them excited about learning. I hope I can continue this as long as I am a teacher!
Ask: How do we balance receiving critique and suggestions from others with feeling positive and confident about our teaching? I know that it is important to receive feedback and ideas from others, but this can easily cause us to feel upset or to feel negative about ourselves. It can be difficult to have a healthy balance of this, but I know that this is also important for our own emotional well-being.
Agree- I agree that it is so important to “ditch the easy caricature” of our students. My number one priority as a teacher is to truly get to know my students and develop meaningful relationships with each one of them. While it may be more difficult to do that with some students, getting to know them as unique individuals makes it much easier.
Aspire- As a relatively young teacher now, I hope that as I move forward in my career I always value intellect. I don’t want to get into the habit of teaching the same lessons year after year. I want each new year to be an exciting year of learning and growth for my students and for me too!
Ask- During my post observation meeting with Mr. Heineman this year, I told him that if I ever lost my passion for teaching, I would find a new job. I really mean that. I never want to stop loving this job. The thing is, I know that happens. I don’t think anyone goes into teaching thinking they will become disenchanted with it. So my question is, what can I do to avoid this pitfall?
Agree - I agree with the practice of “teaching the whole child” and believe that the emotional health of a child is just as important as the academic growth. We need to understand the family dynamics, extended efforts and thinking patterns of our students to better help them succeed. We also need to celebrate the milestones, no matter how big or small, that children reach and let them know that mistakes are a part of how we learn and grow.
Aspire – I aspire to have a classroom full of engaging materials where children engage in learning and can independently seek out activities that challenge and motivate them to learn. Where children use inspiration, curiosity and frustration to grow as learners.
Ask - I am always assessing my practices and looking for ways to incorporate mindful daily habits. How do I reach the child who shuts down when something doesn’t go his/her way? When s/he physically turns away and won’t verbally respond to you? I know it takes time to build a relationship, but when the pattern of behavior continues randomly week after week what strategies can be used?
Agree: The part I agree with the most is that “teachers need room for their own lives and interests, even if they devote most of their time to school”. Teaching is a marathon and I am finding, like most of my colleagues, it becomes more and more who you are. As a first year, I am constantly trying to catch up on content and curriculum, that is new to me, and figuring out a way that I can present it meaningfully to my students. I could spend every minute of every day thinking and reworking what I can do and this year and sometimes I spend days/weeks doing just that. And those are my worst weeks and days. Why this quote is so important to me is because I think it’s a lesson in mindfulness, that we really need to take a step back sometimes and experience life and breathe outside the classroom and relax. Rome was note built in a day. We will grow and become better because we have to and because we will work to get ourselves there, but we need to have the mental health to be able to come back into our classroom the next day and do what we know how to do.
Ask: When the text said “let’s let students and parents complete report cards on us, ones that they design but we augment to include elements about which we’d like feedback. We might even want to share, discuss, and respond to this feedback publicly to show our willingness to learn” I couldn’t help but ask has anyone done this in the district? What type of questions and feedback would one ask to be productive? At what age are kids able to be reflective do this?
Aspire: My favorite advice was #7: Maintain Passion and Playfulness. It is easy to get caught up in the content, especially as a new teacher, and I often find that I get so wrapped up to present this information to my students that I forget to step back and to have fun. It’s as hard on me as it is on them and if we take moments to be playful and if it’s set up intentionally it creates for a better learning environment for all of us and re-sparks their engagement. I aspire to speak with enthusiasm and invest time in being silly, let students control parts of lessons and really bring learning to life.
Agree: I couldn't agree with this part more, "When we see them play in a soccer game, swim competitively, program computers, paint with finesse, perform in a concert, celebrate a religious milestone, or get a new scout badge, we see their extended effort and intellectual fortitude." I have had the pleasure over my first few years of teaching to attend different events of my students. Some of these events have included gymnastics competitions and karate benefits for teachers. I don't know who is more excited when I go, them because I actually came or me because they were so thoughtful to invite me. In order to motivate a student reach his or potential in the classroom, you have to undersand what makes them tick outside of the classroom!
Aspire: I LOVED number 7 of the article "Maintain Passion and Playfulness". I think sometimes it is so easy to get wrapped up in how much we must complete in one day. Our minds are often filled with how many things we need to print, the lesson plans we have to update or the grading that is piling up; but it's so importan to remember the REAL reason we're all there, to interact with the students. If you're not having fun and really loving what you're doing, you must reflect and ask yourself why it is you go into teaching in the first place. Really engaging students and finding what makes them thrive really motivates me to be a better teacher. Most recently I decided to add a Maker Space to allow for creativity and chances to engage with their peers. I hope that as I grow, I never stop searching for ways to connect with these kids, and really engage them in the learning process. Whatever the future brings, I hope I always accept the challenge that comes with it!
Ask: In my classroom I really enjoy our Friday mornings. We always have a morning meeting but on Fridays we do Feel Good Friday which allows us to share the things that make all of the students in our room so wonderful. Throughout the week we leave little notes for one another and the excitement on Friday morning when we finally get to read them all, is electric. For number 1 "find joy in others' successes" where it talks about celebrating success, my question is this, what are some other ways that teachers celebrate their students in the classroom? I love those little "ahh ha, I got it now" moments and would love to share them more.
Casey Torok- Processing Strategy: 3 A's Blog Reponse
'Perspective is often the difference between empowering optimism and defeatist isolation.' There are many statements in the article that I agree with but this one stood out to me. I think this applies not only to teaching but all facets of life. It immediately made me think of Rita Pierson's Ted Talk where she addressed the idea of putting perspective into grading. In her talk she discusses the difference between presenting a failing grade as a defeat versus as an opportunity for improvement. For example, in a test that is out of twenty, two correct is much more empowering for the ability to improve room than eighteen incorrect.
I aspire to be the teacher who better understands who the student's are outside of the classroom. In first grade this is often achieved through lunch bunch and joining the students for recess on occasion. I love these opportunities to get to know students as six and seven year olds outside the classroom walls. Unfortunately I had not had much time to make this a priority this school year but hope to do this more as the school year continues.
The question I have is how can we as educators be cognizant of letting others, apart from administrators, evaluate us through observation and discussion? I think Central Bucks does a great job of this, particularly with teachers going through the induction process. I hope that this opportunity continues.
Agree - One thing that I agree with is Diana Senechal's statement, "Teachers need room for their own lives and interests, even if they devote most of their time to school. Schools and policymakers should recognize that those outside pursuits enrich lives and translate into better teaching..." During my first year of teaching I remember my principal telling us that in order to be the best teacher for your students, you need to be your best self, and you cannot be your best self if you do not take time out of your schedule for yourself. This is something that I have always kept in my mind when thinking about my teaching practice. I think it is often easy for teachers (myself included) to spend every free moment focusing on what else needs to be done, however I think it is also important for teachers to recognize that they need to take time to pursue their own interests. As Diana states, these outside pursuits are meaningful and important to our lives and the joy and meaning that this time brings us is then brought back into the classroom for the teacher to share with the students. Related to this, as Wormeli mentions, experiencing new things also gives new life to our lessons.
Aspire - As I was reading the beginning of the article, I was asking myself how to get feedback from parents/students if they are not specifically telling you. Then, I read about the report cards that Wormeli mentioned, and I thought this was a great idea. I think that this would be a great way to get feedback from parents and students and it could be done in a way that is not threatening or worrisome for anyone involved. For example, when doing this, it needs to be made clear that the parents or students do not have to feel worried about giving their honest opinion, and the teacher should feel as if all of the feedback will be truthful and valuable. I also think that this would be a lot of fun for the students, because it would give them an opportunity to take on a leadership role and do something to truly have their voices heard.
Ask - How can we ensure that we follow these 7 habits throughout our careers as educators? I often think that it is easy for individuals to try something new for a while and then revert back to their old ways of thinking/understanding. In what ways can we ensure that we follow through with these habits, and how can we support each other when thinking about these habits as well?