What a whirlwind of a year! As a newbie here at ISB, I have found the year has already flown by and I am hanging on for dear life! Starting out new and recognizing the opportunity to grow and hone my skill as a support teacher, I decided to be a part of this professional growth pilot program, while also getting some insight into what my students thought about my approach to teaching. Although I received their feedback several months ago, I find myself just now taking the time to write.
In my previous post, I identified what I thought my areas of growth as being Captivate and Consolidate. However, the student data was slightly different. My students did agree that Consolidate was a weakness and it was my lowest area, however the other area was Challenge.
As a learning support teacher, I really appreciated this feedback. I always thought that I had mastered the balance of accommodating my students’ learning needs while at the same time challenging them at a pace that they are comfortable with. This feedback tells me that my students want me to challenge them more.
When I first saw this a while back, I immediately sought out ways to make my pull out classes more meaningful and challenging. I have found that my EAL class, in particular, was so receptive of more challenge and even asked for more. The more I pushed them with challenging activities while heightening my expectations of them, the more they responded. I also found that when I encouraged them to try and fail, that they became more engaged in the class and their level of involvement increased. I am lucky that I have a small class, because this further encouraged them to step out of their comfort zones with practicing their speaking and writing skills.
Within my pull out Learning Support class, I have encountered a bit more push back. My response to this was to find activities and lessons that they would connect with more and thus, find more meaningful. I recognize that the students in this particular class don’t want to be there, so my approach with them needs to be much different. I see the value in connecting with them in a way that they will feel supported and challenged, but also understanding in their frustrations.
“Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing.”
– Albert Einstein