The start of a new school year, endless possibilities…a chance to start a new.
Last year I chose captivate. I feel that I was quite successful as evidenced in my reflections and end of year blog. While captivate came up again in my self-assessment this year as a potential area of growth, I do not feel it was because I still had a long way to go, but more so because I wanted to continue where I left off. I’ve spoken to one of my co-teachers about it and it is an area that we will both be conscious of throughout the year.
The second self-identified area of need turns out to be CONFER. While I feel this is an area of strength for me overall, there are a few areas within the category that I would like to improve upon this year.
When I stated above that I feel that the CONFER category is an overall strength, I honestly believe this. I was taught in my original SPED training program, that we are first and foremost advocates for our students. In order to advocate for someone you really need to get to know them, otherwise how will you ever know what they really need assistance with? In looking at the holistic education of a child, we need to understand who they are as a person, before we can provide a truly individualized program of education (and advocacy) for them. In this are I am quite comfortable, I truly put in the time to get to know my students. The area that I find that I struggle with when it comes to conferring with students is giving them sufficient (at times) voice when we are learning together. I find that I frequently go into lessons with a specific intention, something that is problematic for a student to understand, and I am really focused in remediating and overcoming the obstacle du jour. Because of this hyper-focus on my part, and because I feel that I have to teach the concept as quickly and as efficiently as possible, I find that I will take into my interaction with the student my “agenda” for the lesson, and will be teaching the concept to the student instead of learning along with them. If I am teaching AT someone, they are much more likely to feel disengaged and while they might eventually understand the point that I am teaching to…but ultimately, some additional learning is potentially lost because I have lost sight of who my student is at these moments, and could just as easily be teaching a concept to anyone. This is especially true when consider if I give thought to: “if I give students opportunities to share their thoughts about how learning activities should happen”. I find that I miss the bout here frequently. The student, if given the opportunity to voice their opinion might teach me a new way that they have found, helps them learn, or perhaps something else another teacher has done with them that might have been successful in the past. I plan to be much more intentional in this area, along with giving students more opportunities to express their views.
So, what can I say about 7C’s pilot program?
- I think it is a great idea. I most definitely want to do it again, as I can see the potential for reflection and self-improvement.
- I look forward to the upcoming improvements for support staff such as myself.
- I do not like that as a learning support teacher, that my survey results were tied to one class.
- I do not feel that my survey results could possibly be truly reflective of my actual impact on the learning in the classes I work in overall, and the individualized support I was able to give each of the students on my caseload (as well as students that weren’t on mycaseload).
I feel that the reflection I did and the intentionality that I practiced in the area of “Captivate” was quite successful. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the areas that I was specifically mindful of how my, “vocal inflections, movements, and mannerisms communicate(d) my enthusiasm and contribute(d) to capturing and holding student’s attention”. While I initially thought it would be much more difficult to channel this enthusiasm when I might be walking into what was actually the continuation of a double block of instruction, I noticed that it did not really matter. My conscious enthusiasm was stiil infectious and affected students in a positive way.
As the year went on, I also concentrated to incorporate my “Captivate” enthusiasm, with the training that we had embarked on as a ES team through our study of “The Power of Words” by Paula Denton. I found the intentional incorporation of these two ideas really seemed to work.
I feel as if I have practiced both enough in my teaching that they are more or less automatic now. That is not to say that I do not do a better job somedays than I do others (life does get in the way at times as much as we would like to think that it doesn’t), but I can say that I have felt a change and it seems that my students have as well. Having said this, I now must touch on a couple of the bullet points from above. It is unfortunate that my survey results ended up being in a class that I had less interaction with as the school year went on (there was just not as great a need due to my caseload for me to be in this particular class), therefore certainly causing an effect on my survey results. Even though the script I read to the class indicated that the students should not comment on certain questions if they were no applicable, I found that the response rate on a numer of these types of questions was almost 100%. It might be self-serving on my part to partially ignore the results from the surveys (especially the second one), but I am positive that they are not truly representative of my overall performance.
Even considering the faults that I’ve highlighted in the program as it pertains to support teachers in general, and me specifically, I still found a lot of value in the reflecting that I did concerning my teaching by looking at the spirit of the 7C’s framework. My second semester teaching was better than my first, and my fourth quarter would probably be my best. I credit much of this to my growth due to this program.
In reflecting on my being more intentional I have to say that I have been noticing the difference. At first it required setting reminders on my phone to be sure that I was going to be “intentionally” enthusiastic. Now I’m not talking wide eyed jumping up-and-down, spirit team type of enthusiasm, I’m talking intentional tone, voice, language, message, and body language. Sure, I might hear a slight groan when I greet students with, “isn’t this great…Monday morning”…but It can still elicit a smile even from the grumpy. I have noticed that my enthusiasm has paid some dividends. When I am being intentionally enthusiastic, my students seems to transition to being on task faster, are more attentive at the beginning of a mini-lesson, and have more stanima as they are going about their tasks. It does seems to be true, “enthusiasm does beget enthusiasm”!
EDITED TO CORRECT TYPOS
One of the things I have been working on is to build student interest and excitement for lessons. In thinking about my practice I realize that I had more control over this than I had imagined. Of course, in lessons that I am presenting to individual and groups of students, it is a bit easier to do. Even when pushing into a class, while using a shadow teaching model, I am able to bring additional enthusiasm into a lesson. Mood and demeanor can be infectious. As we delved into the book, The Power of Our Words” by Paula Denton, the ES was discussing the effect that our, “Teacher Language” has on our students. A particular example of how our choice of words can influence students is in comparing two different ways to signal a transition to math. The first way involves giving a signal to students that is already a part of the class’ routine, ringing a chime, waiting for students to settle down, with intentional silence until there attention has been gained, then saying, “I see that everyone is ready for math. Let’s get started”. The second way might involve the raising of voice to say, “Okay settle down, everyone! Social time is over. We have to get to work on math now.” While both ways respond to the situation of transitioning to math, they both send very different messages. The first involves a class working together to achieve a mutual goal. It might even be fun. While the second is saying that the class should stop doing a pleasurable thing, and move on to the unpleasant work of doing math…a “have to”. I realize that I need to be more intentional in the language that I use, and by doing so I can foster feelings of interest and excitement in a lesson. I have been adding this to my practice, and find that it actually works.
In trying to support my Co-teacher, I feel that an area that i Need to consider for improvement is in the area of “Captivate”. I need to try to help the teacher captivate the student’s attention by helping make the lessons more interesting and enjoyable.
I am considering how my, “vocal inflections, movements, and mannerisms communicate my enthusiasm and contribute to capturing and holding student’s attention”.
I find that this is especially difficult if I come in during the continuation of the lesson from the previous block, or even from a previous day (especially when I might not have been present for that block). While I familiarize myself with the material through planning, and also helping teach the same materials in different classes, it is sometimes difficult to, “jump in enthusiastically”, when a lesson is already progressing.
This is the area I have in mind. I will be curious to see the results of my student surveys, although I am a bit concerned that a number of students panicked after having turned-in their surveys thinking that they were answering the questions with Ms. Ballon in mind, and not me. While the number of students was small, I am hoping that I am able to get a clear understanding of what they think of my teaching practice. In any event, I am looking forward to working through this pilot project.
Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.
- Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
- Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards (Tripod 7C’s)
- Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
- Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
- Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
- Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
- Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
- You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.
If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!