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Reflecting - Days 17-21

Teach Thought #REFLECTIVETEACHER 30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE 

So, I got behind, very behind. Trying to catch up from Homecoming week has been like running on a treadmill, backwards, while also succumbing the crud that has been going around. I decided the blog and reflecting on teaching had to take a back seat to actually TEACHING. So here I am at 6pm on Sunday, putting my feet up for the first time all weekend. It is finally me time, so here goes. 

Day 17: The most challenging issue in education today
I think the most challenging issue in education today is trying to please everyone all at once. It is a constant balancing act to make sure to are satisfying parents, administrators, other teachers, the state, and most importantly THE STUDENTS. I feel like I am finally getting a hang at figuring out out to provide comprehensible input to my students so that they can actually understand and use the language in meaningful contexts. Now I have to find a way to justify to everyone else why all we do in Spanish is "watch TV shows (El Internado)," "listen to the teacher read (TPRS novels)," "listen to music (in Spanish)," and "eat food (cultural experiences!)." I think the proof is in the pudding, so if students are leaving my class speaking Spanish, that should please everyone.

Day 18: "Teaching is like walking through quicksand"
You have to walk carefully, yet very quickly to make it through the quicksand. If you pause to long, doing the same old, same old, you will be swallowed whole. There are times when you will find yourself sinking, and if you do not reach out for help, once again you will sink. While teaching, you need to just keep moving forward, even if you can no see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.  Most importantly, you ned to go in with a plan, and execute it without pausing too long, allowing the natives to get restless. In the end when you make it through, there is no better feeling, than knowing you have conquered and succeeded at teaching. 

Day 19: How students reflect on their learning
In all my classes, they fill out a Friday Feedback Google form every couple of weeks. When I first started teaching, it was very helpful to me to have them fill out a Friday feedback form each week, so I could see what kinds of activities they were enjoying and what was helping them learn. At the end of each quarter, all students fill out a more detailed self reflection including what they need to do to enhance their learning, and what they need from me to get there. They also provide suggestions of things they would like to see more or less of in the classroom. These written forms are a great way for me to find out how class is REALLY going for those who will not speak up about it in class, or come talk to me. 

This year I need to come up with a self reflection for students to complete with their assessment projects. It would be nice for them to evaluate what proficiency level they believe they are at by using the rubric and indicators, as well as their effort they feel they exerted. This will hopefully assist them in realizing where they are at proficiency wise and why they received a certain grade. If anyone has anything like this I would love to see it!

Day 20: Curating student work
Students curate their own work through presentational or interpersonal speaking or writing assessments at the end of units. Most units have one speaking and one writing assessment per unit, which may be combined in one big project which included both writing and presenting about it. I guide students to incorporate as much as they can from the unit. I have found that assessments, as opposed to exams allow students to show what they KNOW, as opposed to what blanks they can not fill in on an exam. This year, I need to make sure that my assessments are derived from more real life contexts, as opposed to hypothetical situations which will probably never happen in their lives. I try to give students an extraordinary amount of voice and choice, so they feel ownership in what they are creating. 

Day 21: Hobbies I bring into Teaching
As I have mentioned before I love to dance. Baile viernes sprung from my enjoyment of dance and Zumba, as well as the need for a way for students to expel some of their extra energy and excitement on Fridays. As I mentioned in this post, I also enjoy performing, so any time I can turn the classroom into my stage, I am at home. When you show your passion for something, the students can feel your energy and excitement, and they can not help but become passionate themselves. 

Here's to running across the quicksand and showing passion this week. - Allison

2 comments

  1. Allison, I've been off of blogger for a while but what a great post to come back to! I need to take the time to be a reflective teacher (and be a better blogger). Quicksand is exactly how I feel. We were told last year we are driving a bus and some kids try to jump out.... but a bus is way too easy. It's like dragging a sled of kids through quicksand into a 60 mph wind!!! I love your Baile Viernes!! I've only done it twice in the past but I would like it to become a more regular occurrence.

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    Replies
    1. Make baile viernes a routine, you won't regret it! My students love it and beg for it now!

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