Our assignment this week is to answer the following question: What have you learned and how will you use it?
I hope this post doesn't sound too pompous, but as I play it through in my head, I'm afraid it is going to be that way.
Honestly, as far as classroom management goes, I'm not really learning anything (new). That doesn't mean this class isn't useful to me, because it is. I am getting a huge amount of reinforcement for what I am already implementing in my classroom. I am also getting a gentle reminder of the reasons I started teaching in the first place. Its a calling. It's an opportunity to reach out to human beings who might be hurting or needful of a stable person in their lives. It's a chance to be someone who is there for students when many, if not all, others in their life might NOT be there. It's the ability to help students make decisions that will affect the direction of the rest of their life. Without trying to sound cliche', it really is a mission field. All of these are thoughts I have had since the beginning of this class. None of those are new thoughts, but its a helpful reminder, especially in this 3rd year of teaching when I have been feeling a little jaded.
This year, my honeymoon with teaching ended. I've had a different view on students. Part of this is because I've been pulled in so many different directions, usually because I've volunteered for some committee or decided to present at a conference or possibly because I've started a master's program! Bottom line, things have been different this year and its been good to be in contact with other teachers who are interested in honing their skills and becoming better at their chosen profession. This positive peer-to-peer relationship I've built with the teachers in this program have really influenced me positively. All of that to say that my learning in this class has been a great experience.
In general, I'm just being reminded of what's going on in class. I am able to share things we have talked about in classroom management with my students and that (hopefully) lets them know I am interested in being a better teacher. It sets a good example for them to continue their education beyond what is expected of them by their parents. I hope this shows them that they are at an age at which they should be thinking about taking responsibility for their education and their life. Mom and Dad have an idea of what they should be doing, but in the end, the student is the one who has to live with the decisions they are making right now.
I'll just chalk my lack of new learning in this class up to my advanced age upon entering the classroom and the fact that my wife is the best teacher I know. She always has something helpful to say or do whenever we talk about what's going in Room 301.