Monday, 7 April 2014

Reaching for the stars

Rere atu, rere mai
Taku manu e
Rere ki tua, rere ki ko
Kia wheturangitia e.

Fly, my bird in every direction
Attain the countless stars.

I have been at a course for the last 2 days.  Soaking in all the big words and ideas that were being introduced to me.  My head ached by the end of the first day.  I think I had soaked in so much information that I actually felt like I was going to drown with the weight of it all.  Thankfully, today it all started to make sense to me and I was able to relate the information to my teaching practice and my class and the heavy feeling quickly lifted and left me with a whole new realisation about where I am as a teacher and what direction I am wanting to go.  

It's such a refreshing feeling, going from "what am I doing?" "Am I making a difference?" "Am I a good teacher?" To, WOW!  I know where I need to go, I can see what I need to change to make a difference and become an effective teacher.  Yay!

What is this realisation? Well, probably most teachers are already doing it, know it and can't believe I haven't been, but for me its been a stop/start journey so far.  I came out of University as a trained Primary School Teacher, but due to the huge amount of teachers coming out of training at the same time as me and a lack of jobs in education, I waited two years to get my first teaching job as an HOD of Music in a High School for girls - hmmm a slight tangent.  I loved my job but always desired to teach the younger students I had trained to teach.  After nearly 3 years, I left and went to teach year 7 students at an Intermediate School, where I happen to still teach.  I love this age group!  I taught for 2 and a bit years before I got pregnant and 2 children and 4 years later I excitedly returned to continue my journey as an Intermediate teacher.

Last year, (my first year back after my Mummy time) was a year of getting my head around the classroom management, as I had a rather interesting and challenging class.  I didn't have a lot of time to focus on my teaching practise other than my management strategies and finding things my students would love, so they would be engaged, on task (hopefully) and gain some skills for their learning.

This year is so different.  My class is completely opposite to the last class I had.  I actually find myself having time to meet with students in small groups or one on one and know that the other students can manage themselves well enough to stay on task.  It's lovely!

So my big realisation today was that I don't need to do all the big, fluffy, fun and exciting stuff to keep my students busy and engaged anymore.  They are engaged, they are enjoying learning.  I need to focus in on their individual needs, through all the testing I have done and look at what does this student need to know, to move on.  What do I need to teach them so that they can progress?  How can I teach them this so that they will succeed?  I need to simplify.  I need to get rid of the extra things I am doing in my time table, that take up time, sure the students enjoy them and they gain small amounts of knowledge from them, but are they achieving what they need to be achieving.   Are they focused in on what they need to know so that they can move up to the next level?

While this is my focus for the next year, the thing to remember is we all have different classes, with different needs and we as teachers need to decide the best way to address these needs, with the time and resources that are available to us.  Be open to new ideas, work collegially with your fellow teachers, as we are all aiming for the same outcome - to help our students succeed.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited for you Anna! Today was also a day of reflection for me. We teachers need to focus on student needs. Our assessment needs to be truly focussed on helping our students reach their next steps so they can enjoy success as learners and citizens of the world.