Life Lessons

In the field of education, the notion of "life-long learning" is valued as a highly desired quality for teachers.  In most preservice programs,  teacher education centers around the history of education and how it is ever evolving, educational trends and how things are changing, and the connection between learning theories and instructional practices.  Although many will reply "yes" I am a life long learner, without truly understanding how this foundational knowledge interplays with the mindset of "lifelong learning" such knowledge is useless. 

I would also argue that part of being a life-long learner is the ability to be completely humble and reflect critically on how your students respond to a task.  Do they seem dazedconfused, bored, off-task, uninterested  or aloof? I was giving a presentation recently to a group of teachers and noticed a few were more interested in checking their facebook profile and pinning on Pinterest than exploring how to "unpack" a Common core standard.  At first I chalked it up as the teachers own shortcomings and their disinterest in participating in the professional development workshop, but as I reflected deeper I thought about how I was failing to make the connection to today's 21 Century Educator, digitally connected with a capacity to multitask.  

As I venture into the realm of higher education I realize that the way I teach shouldn't simply reflect how I was taught and what I believe to be valuable, but it should encompass the skills and knowledge that 21 Century educators will need to create an interactive and always engaging learning environment. For today's lesson I will be creating a virtual mindmap and skipping the Power Point. 

I will ask my students to reflect on this blog post and think about a "life lesson" they recently had in their classroom and how it will impact their practice.  


13 comments:

  1. While observing a teachers lesson she discussed how they used to use the "yellow pages" of learning for their note taking however, that is no longer relevant for students. They now call their notebooks a "tool kit" which is not necessarily more interesting but I found it really interesting that students no longer know what the "yellow pages" are anymore. How do we make things relevant for students when the things they are interested in are a lot of times disconnected from the things we, as teachers, are interested in? Technology is every changing and we must keep up with these changing times. I am interested to see how we can relate to students. I now see teachers using document cameras and smart boards which did not exist when I was a student. How do we keep up with this as learning teachers?

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  2. In my class today, i was going through the warm -up and my teacher went outside for about 30 min to talk/teach a new student the class procedures. For the most part, things were running smoothly after she left but then some students started joking around and next thing i knew, the class was out of control. Usually my CT is there to help me reign them in again, but today was on my own. It was a learning experience trying to figure out how to manage all that was going on. I learned some things that definitely didn't work, until i eventually found one that did work. It was a life-experience that i was able to grow from., and i talked to my CT about it earlier. I was glad i was given reign of the class so that i could experience this. --Erin

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    1. HI Erin, oh yes I remember those days and I agree with you entirely that somethings are best learned by trial. As long as you keep this perspective you will continue to grow as an educator. I will never when I realized I "can't take things personal".

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  3. Something I have recently learned in the classroom which I hope to bring into my classroom is creating a positive and safe environment where students opinions and ideas are fostered. I believe in creating a classroom where a teacher can pose a question and students can feel like they can answer and not feel unmotivated or embarrassed if the answer is incorrect. My CT has created a classroom where lots of questions are asked and many students respond with their reasoning, thinking and answers. This interaction between the teacher-student-class is very neat.

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    1. Yes creating a classroom atmosphere that allows students to feel "safe" and "comfortable" asking question and expressing their ideas is key to promoting the best practices that are part of the Mathematics Practice Standards of the Common Core. I agre that this is something that takes time, patience and practice.

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  4. After being at my student teaching placement for the past couple months, I have had to face several life lessons. Many of these lessons involve myself learning something that I had never considered before because I did not open my mind to it. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned is that it is okay to make mistakes. In the times that I have taught a lesson, I noticed that there was always at least something I forgot and a mistake I made, but I realized although I am making these mistakes, and correct them, my students can learn from them as well. It is also important to note that as lifelong learners, we need to be aware that we are always working on our own self improvement.

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  6. I recently watched my teacher ask a student to take their chair to the back of the classroom and stand for the rest of the class. This was a consequence of their misbehavior of tipping backwards in their seat. At first I was appalled because the student had such a negative reaction, creating a giant distraction in the classroom as he huffed and puffed about the ordeal. He was obviously publically shamed by the event and no good seemed to come of it as he was again reprimanded for the same activity the next day. After speaking with my cohort instructor about the event, she explained that it is a safety hazard and as a teacher you are liable for not only the child's safety but the safety of those around him or her, as well as the maintenance of the chair itself (this being of the lowest actual concern to my cohort instructor but of highest concern to my Cooperating Teacher). The take away from this, in other words the life lesson learned, was that sometimes incidents are multidimensional. Sometimes there are motivations behind actions that one might not be aware of. This is true for students as well, there is definitely more than meets the eye when they act out and/or get into conflicts with other students.

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  7. After the past few months, I learned that structuring the questions that are being asked is very important because if the question is vague and not clear, students will be confused throughout the lesson. My CT asks questions that examines each part of the problem, and students slowly build on their conceptual understanding. While I taught my lesson, I misled some students into a loop of confusion. From this life lesson, it is important to be aware that we need to restructure the questions we ask the students, so students can learn and understand mathematical concepts.

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  8. This is ben.
    Mathematics is not boring and it is important to our lives. I always have trouble with students who give up easily on mathematics because math is too hard for them or they don't want to show work (all the answers are in their head). To have students make an attempt, I have to lecture them about not giving up in mathematics. As many of my conversations ended up getting the student no where and just angry, I ask myself what will work to get the students not to give up. I realize that as a teacher, I have to make the connection that mathematics matters a lot in their life, especially when they grow up. I have to show them how important it is by exposing middle school students to real life situations or future problems that might occur. In addition to showing how mathematics connects with the world around students, to stress the importance of what they are learning currently, I have to show them that mathematics builds off of previous math topics. For example, to solve for area problems, we have to know how to solve one step equations.

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  9. My teacher was absent yesterday, so I had to take over the classes. As I was teaching, the students in the first period were really loud. They were out of control. It was hard for me to set my authority in the class when they treat me as a friend in the class. I may need some help learning to be more assertive and how to establish authority/control of the class. While teaching, the substitute provided me some feedback in trying to establish my authority. With the feedback, I was able to improve myself at establishing authority through experimenting with another class. This was a quite a lesson.

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  10. Yesterday I talked with Steve Perez, one the my school's counsellors, about the English learners in my classes and in the school as a whole. He really brought my attention to the disparities between the demographics of the staff and of the students. In particular, the ethnic, racial, and linguistic makeup of the school staff don't match that of the students. It really made me consider the difficulties students face when they don't have role models in their educational environment and how that could turn them off from learning. When these students don't have teachers who they can relate to and see themselves as in education they may start to think that certain subjects or learning as a whole is not something for them. This same dynamic has historically pushed women out of mathematics and science classes, and I worry that when non-white students see only white teachers they may begin to internalize that.

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