Wednesday, 21 May 2014

My Flipping Blog

Robert Frost's words “I am not a teacher, but an awakener" resonate deeply with me. Before starting my teaching diploma I was not entirely convinced teaching was the best career for me. I thought I was too extroverted, not conventional enough, and I didn't think I would find it all that satisfying. It turns out the introversion and difference don't matter at all, and it's rare that don't have moments of immense satisfaction during my working day. 

The moments that satisfy me the most are the moments when I awaken my students; some literally, most metaphorically. I open minds and spark inquisition. I provoke reflection and advocate for the devil. I love to see students debate, puzzle of a concept with determination, pen an essay that articulates their unique perspective.

But there is the flip-side. The moments of boredom, discouragement, apathy. And unfortunately, these moments are all too prevalent. 

But! I am an optimist! In the classroom, anyway. Many students find me irritatingly upbeat and try to bargain with my unfaltering high expectations. And I refuse to give in. I'm the adult! I'm a professional! This is my job and I will do it well.

But... teenagers are persistent. The never-ending struggle between our high expectations and their lack of expectations can be mind-numbing. And that is why the current focus of my professional development is on my small Year 10 class. There are around 15 of them, but I usually only have 10 or so each lesson. There reading comprehension is a little low, but not terrible. Their writing skills are a concern. Their behaviour and focus is difficult to manage. But the main reason they are in such a small class is not because they are 'cabbage' or 'foundation' or naughty. It is due to their complete disengagement from their own education. They have shutdown. My job mission is to awaken them.

With the support of several highly skilled and knowledgeable colleagues, my goals are as follows:
1. By the end of the year each student in the class will care about their education.
2. By the end of the year each student in the class will have made measurable progress in their comprehension and writing skills.

Once our plan for these students has been developed, I will be able to make a goal as to how much 'measurable progress' each student ought to make in that time and how it will be measured.

These goals may be lofty, but it is our responsibility to practice what we preach and have high expectations of our own capabilities.

No comments: