This year has been really great. I think I’m okay to say it now (I didn’t want to say it too early and jinx it), but this has been the best first almost nine weeks of school that I’ve had since I started teaching. It’s busy and crazy and full of stress, but it’s also been a more intentional teaching year and I feel like I’m having fun.
One thing that I’m not super happy about with this year is that my plate is piled high with responsibility. It’s weird, because I don’t really want to let go of the responsibility, but I also want to not feel like I’m drowning all the time. One of the recent additions to my and my co-facilitator’s plate this year is the New Tech Master Teacher program. One of the requirements for becoming a New Tech Network Show School (where other schools visit when they are thinking about joining the network) is to have two teachers that are considered master teachers.
At first, my attitude about this process was a little negative. There are five badges with 27 different elements in the different badges. At first, I saw it as busy work. The program asked you to look through some resources, implement something in your classroom, then reflect on the process. It’s not very time consuming, and at first I didn’t see what I would be gaining from it. But, as per usual when I make selfish judgments, I am typically proven wrong.
One of the first teaching elements that we were to reflect on was our development of workshops. Were they being effective? Did they improve student learning? Did they support the understanding of the content? All of these questions, and probably a few more, were the reflection process. I had to implement a workshop, but it couldn’t be just any workshop. It had to be engaging and interesting and I had to have a way to see if the learners got it. After that reflection, I didn’t really think about it at all, until it was time for me to create my next workshop.
The next workshop that I created, those questions that I had reflected on previously were running through my mind already. I wanted to create an interesting workshop that would help them understand the content. I was reflecting as I was planning, making the process of becoming a NT Master Teacher one of the best things for my teaching practice. I’m being more intentional with my workshops because of some of the “busy work” that the reflections required of me.
I think I knew all of this information previously, but for some reason it just wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. My co-facilitator and I have said it a million times– we teach kids, not content. The reflection process is only helping us do a better job of teaching both.