Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Connected Educators #EdblogNZ challenge: Week 1

Think about your teaching practice. How has it evolved over time?

This is when I feel old yet inexperienced when it comes to teaching. Although I have been teaching for over 15 years I still feel I am a newbie at a lot of things. To be honest I have two years of NZ teaching experience and all of it has been classroom, Twitter and blog based. I sometimes feel like a fraud as I lead a team where most probably know the NZ education system a lot better than I do.

Having a trainee teacher this term, one thing I have realised is I have classroom experience. I can read a class adapt in two seconds flat and completely change a lesson plan (which I personally do not write up a week in advanced).

So how has it evolved over time? It's changed a lot I'm not sure I can list everything. I am constantly reflecting and changing my teaching practice mainly because if it's not working for the students then I need to be the one to make a change. 

 The one thing that still sticks with me was my first teacher mentor. She always encouraged me to think outside the box and I still do.

I never started off with allocated seats, I loved students mingling working together, hearing their voices. I guess the only time this didn't happen was when I taught in schools that didn't allow this.

I'm not a chalk and talk teacher any more ( and yes my first year of teaching I did use a chalkboard!).
I don't use copious amounts of worksheets or textbooks.
I don't plan homework

I deviate, chop and change, mix it up and don't dot my i's and cross my t's for every single lesson plan.
My standards are high.
I see the potential in everyone and what everyone to succeed

A lot of my teaching has changed just as a lot of the curriculum has changed as well. While teaching in the UK, I got to experience a lot of changes some good, some bad. Dictated by what OFSTED wanted to see us do. Sometimes it felt like I was teaching to a check list but other times I could see the benefits.

Effective marking and critical feedback
Next step marking/challenges
No hands up/ making sure every students has the opportunity to share.
Differentiated work
Cross curriculum panning
Planning for 'real life'

One thing that hasn't changed is putting relationships first - knowing my students. I'm a rule breaker. I teach what I know is best for my students and meets their needs. Not for the school up the road or in another city. This is how my teaching has evolved the most.

What are you currently working on developing in your practice? What tools have you used during this inquiry time?

 This year has been a complete learning curve for me. As you will see from my previous blogs, I have left my comfort zone of older students and am now working with younger ones!

The most obvious one for me is I will be team teaching literacy next term. I will work alongside another colleague and about 40 students (still in a single cell classroom). I'm working with someone who plans and prepares very different to me. I'm a in my head, plan it as I go while they are the writing it down, everything is written out sort of person.

It's going to be a challenge but I know we can both learn off each other. Although I have always collaborated with teachers before, I have never taught in the same classroom for a long period of time. It 's definitely going to a good challenge.

I envisage a room where small group teaching is taking place, everyone is doing their 'own' thing and learning is just happening. Something I have been doing in my own room by myself but now I need to try this with another teacher.

Tools? We have just started Google Doc so it is something I want to try and continue with and get the students more involved with.

Hands on? I teach some students who really struggle with school and have found myself reverting back to a lot of 'hands on' mini lessons. This is especially something I have been doing in Maths. Who knew that Countdown dominoes would come in so handy!

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