Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Teaching Milestone

Sometime last school year, I had a teacher at my school cover the last half of my 4th period class. She commented on how well my students knew what to do. She was very impressed.

Earlier this week, I received an email from that same teacher. She informed me that some first year teachers would be coming to our school to visit. They asked her to make some recommendations of teachers who had great procedures. She told me that she immediately thought of me because my class "could run itself," and asked if they could come observe me.

I was flattered that she thought of me. I regretted to informed her that I had no students during the period that they'd be at our school. I told her the periods that I do teach in case they could observe one of those.

On Thursday, during my 3B, in walked four teachers. Two of them were first-year teachers, one was their adviser, and I'm not sure who the fourth was. They sat in the seats that are against the wall as that is my smallest class, and that row is entirely empty.

I ran through my regular procedure with my kids. They journal in the first five minutes of the period while I take attendance and make sure they have their planners. After that, they know to record their homework. After that, they typically put their journals in their folders, and pass their folders back. The kids at the back of each row puts all the folders away for their row. They all know the process for turning work in as well, if that is ever necessary. I typically have transitions pretty well planned out so they don't have too much time to converse and get off task.

When they left, they dropped something on my desk. I walked over to find a little baggy of Easter goodies and this card.

The reason I'm writing a blog about this is that it is strange to be on this end of things. I don't consider myself to be an expert or to be the most experienced teacher at all. I do think I improve every year. I hope, anyway.

I taught my first year as an intern in Provo from 2009-10. That was 8th grade English.
I taught my next year at Jefferson from 2010-11 doing 9th grade English and developmental reading.
I taught the next year at Jefferson from 2011-12 doing 7th and 8th grade English.
I taught the next year at Jefferson from 2012-13 doing 7th and 7th honors English.
This year I am at Jefferson doing 8th grade English and am a part-time technology specialist.

So being that this is my fifth year teaching, it's just really cool having teachers observe me. I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from how they run their classrooms as well. But knowing they were watching me, what I do, how I organize, and how I keep order in my class, knowing that they were learning from me and getting ideas, was just a really gratifying experience. I felt pressure to do things well but realized that the reason they were there to begin with was because I was already doing things right.

It's validating to know that my efforts in training my students has been recognized by others. I may not do everything right, but I do a good job at a few things. It felt good.

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