That first-year-teacher feeling

As so many others have more eloquently put it, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the global machinery and ground everything to a halt. We jury-rigged a temporary mechanism to continue onward and finish off last school year. It probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite way to end the year. What makes the start of this year exciting is that there is enormous potential to experiment with and in many ways recreate our educational system as something less cumbersome and more adaptive to a world that has proven it can change in the quickest and most dramatic of fashions.

All of that aside, I’m mostly wondering how to make the best of my temporarily awkward position of being in one place and the majority of my students being in another. My work leading up to the start of school has been to forge as many new contacts with students and their families, whatever their circumstances, and to make sure that there are many rich tasks prepared for the first few weeks of instruction. These first weeks will be the most fraught with uncertainty, technological breakdown, and social-emotional trepidation as we deal with opening a school in a way that has not been done in living memory (or ever?).

Currently, my plan is to establish connections by:

  • Setting up a few welcome DX posts to introduce the course and set a tone for the year;
  • Conducting a welcome Zoom introducing myself and the course;
  • Providing all students with weekly and daily outlines posted in DX;
  • Creating discussion posts on DX for students to engage with each other;
  • Creating lesson Loom videos where appropriate.

In Math 7’s first module (Module 0), we will focus on:

  • Math ice-breakers to engage and activate students in their collaborative thinking;
  • Engaging in a Week of Inspirational Math activities, videos, and student-as-learner reflections
  • Implementing rich tasks through Zoom sessions, break out rooms, and in-class groupings.

Students will have time to complete the work by:

  • Having asynchronous lessons where students can work at their own pace;
  • Using Zooms as a platform for collaboration and open Q&A sessions.

Welcome!

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 7Cs)
    • 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!

© 2021 Brandon Ballara

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