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Observation #1 for Year 3 of Teaching

So…observation number one of my third year of teaching…

One would think that I wouldn’t be as nervous as the previous observations I’ve been through, but that was not the case.

Overachievers stress about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

What can I say?

It’s hard to be me.

One thing that makes observations especially difficult is the GOBS of documentation, all online, that my district requires us to do.

Oy!

I’d attended a basketball game Tuesday after school even though I KNEW I needed to be home working.

What can I say?  I love watching my students play the sports they excel at.

I wound up staying up until 1am tweaking my plans…probably not the smartest idea ever but necessary nonetheless.

My brain just doesn’t seem to get going until late at night, and it works s-l-o-w-l-y.  I really wish I could make my brain work faster.

Sigh.

Regardless, my lesson went swimmingly!  I used a Kagan structure, Numbered Heads Together, to work on identifying main ideas and details.  We then broke into our differentiated groups for stations, and my principal observed as my students transitioned quietly (bless them) and worked diligently.

One of my girls was on her best behavior, as she’d promised before class started.

Bless her and the class in general.  I see fancy cupcakes in their near future.  I truly love this class.

I got great feedback from my principal, so now I’m in the stage of self reflection.

While I seem to excel at creating good relationships with my students and a comfortable learning environment, a common theme I noticed in the feedback i received is that I need to create more of a student-centered class where students have greater input and choice in everything from rules to assessments.

This is incredibly difficult because I come from a traditional education where teachers stood up front, lectured (imparting great wisdom), and students took notes.  At the end of a unit, we had a test…usually a difficult one that required rote memorization.

Today’s teachers know that research demonstrates that students comprehend information better when they participate in hands-on activities driven by CHOICE and higher order thinking skills.

This requires letting go…having control of a classroom but in less of a tight-fisted way.

While I understand the concept, I cannot seem to figure out the execution.

I want to become a “Highly Effective” teacher…not for the recognition but because such a status means that I am teaching in such a way that provides my students with skills that will not go away when the school year ends.

I am impatient, which is why I stay up late every night researching lesson plans and teaching methodologies while fine tuning my own.

As a perfectionist, it’s difficult to accept that learning how to incorporate research-based strategies to change my classroom into a student-led one will come with time and experience.

That is what these observations are about…learning…reflecting…revamping.

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