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Showing posts from August, 2012

Patience

In my new role as ESL teacher I am learning self-discipline and patience, even before the school year begins.  Although I can be self-disciplined when I need to be, I am not a very patient person.  I am thrown off course when confronted with ambiguous situations and unresolved issues, such as not knowing exactly what I'll be doing or how many students I will be responsible for, or even if I'll have many students to work with.  I want to get started on my classroom, study the curriculum, plan for the first week with students, but I can't.  Instead I'm forced to wait and let things take shape.

It's a good exercise for me.  When I'm feeling calm I think that everything will work itself out. But, when I'm feeling unsure of myself (much of the time) I start doubting myself.  I revert to ineffective habits:  if I'm focused on negative outcomes then when they happen I won't be blind sided.  Because that's something else I don't like: surprises.  So…

New Teacher Orientation - Day 2

     Yesterday was the second day of orientation for new teachers.  As usual, there's a lot of information to digest and, although I retained some key ideas, I'm sure I will be relearning a lot of things over the coming months.  And, even though many of us present have done similar kinds of orientation sessions more than once in our careers, it's still important to do this now because as new teachers at this school we need to build our capacity for when the rest of the faculty joins us next week.  Doing this work in a group of new teachers helps us develop common understandings about what this school is all about.  We'll need these understandings in order to continue to participate in future conversations at our new school.

     At yesterday's session we spent most of the morning talking about assessment.  First, we were asked to discuss the following three questions:  How does assessment impact student learning?  What is the role of assessment in unit/lesson plann…

Resolutions and Mistakes - the start of a new school year

 I just read a recent Mindsteps Blog post about teacher 

resolutionsand making mistakes.  The skinny on that is that 

teachers start out each new school year by resolving not to make 

mistakes.  And, even though we know that's humanly impossible - 

we all make mistakes - as teachers we hope that we can get it 

together by getting on a clean page at the start of each school 

year so that we can get it right this time.  Or, should I 

say...perfect?  But,  alas!  We know, especially those of us that 

have been teaching for many years and therefore (should) know 

better, that mistakes are bound to happen and the harder we run 

from them the harder we'll be hit by the consequences when they 

catch up with us.  And, catch up they will!  So, instead of 

vowing not to make mistakes.  To get it right (perfect) this 

time.  To make the best bulletin boards ever.  To not speak a 

harsh word.  To have all lessons planned out way in advance or 

just in advance.  To always have morning meeting, class meet…