Here it is the awkward first post…the one you’re writing for public viewing, but really no one even knows that it exists…but here goes!
The most valuable thing I learned (although I didn’t realize it till much later) in my teacher training was to always be reflective. At first, the activities or “games” we did to help us reflect seemed silly and time wasteful. I remember moulding clay into what our facial expression had been, on the first day, in front of our class. This mind you was done with our eyes closed, and for those of us less artistically inclined, you can imagine what those sculptures looked like. Another one was blowing through a straw at a pile of ink and trying to shape your teaching mission statement with the ink on paper. I was happy that we were allowed opening our eyes for that one!
From games and art we then moved on too reflecting on our unit plans and lessons as well as articles. I saw the point here and valued it, but after a stressful practicum the idea of reflecting on our reflections made me want to scream.
At the time reflecting seemed pointless if I didn’t even know how to be a teacher. I paid money for this! Where were the discussions/lectures on classroom management, grading and lesson planning? Weren’t those the things that would mould me into a super teacher? Our module was called the “Superdupers” and yet, I didn’t feel like I was on my way to being a “super” teacher. Yes, it would take some time for me to see the value in reflecting and reflecting often.
Now that I have completed my first year as a full time teacher, I have come to see the importance of reflecting on, well, just about everything. I may not mould it into clay or blow ink pictures of it, but I do go over it in my own unique way. It is what has sustained me this first year. If a lesson didn’t go the way I wanted it to I would reflect sometimes on my own and sometimes with colleagues (who were a great help to me). Now, I find myself spending a lot of time on Twitter and reflecting on what other educators are saying and doing in the classroom.
Sometimes, every now and then, I even reflect on my reflections 😉