I think it is important that we have heroes, not only overall in life, but specifically in our field. If you had asked me when I started teaching, I would have said my heroes were many, Helen Brcka, my 6th grade teacher who made me realize some of my idiosyncrasies were really my strengths, my clarinet teacher Joyce Wheeler who taught me about being your best and the real meaning of hard work, and Beth Wilson, my drum corps teacher that push me beyond anything I ever thought I could accomplish.
Since starting to interact with the #MTBoS, I found that it isn’t a hero you need, but strong traits of great people. I was actually going to list some here, but then I felt overwhelmed by all of the great people I have met, and I felt bad about leaving anyone out. Finding a great community, whether it is in your direct working location or electronically, can be such a great help. Twitter math camp gave me such a great opportunity to see this people first hand, and find out what I wanted to become in a teacher. I don’t think it’s important that we measure ourselves against others, but striving toward the great traits you see in others can really help everyone grow.
Think about the great teachers in your life, and what you want to emulate in their practice, and it will always push you to be better.
I have learned a lot this year. I work with an instructor in my department who talks about how you need passion, commitment, and hard work to stick in construction engineering, and I think this is true of any field. I find that I do not lack in the commitment, and I am willing to work hard, but often that doesn’t seem required in my current position. But I can tell from my own analysis of myself over the last year that I lack the passion for this. I just don’t buy into everything that academic advising is selling, and I can’t keep trying to make myself. I do always find it a little interesting that his emphasis on passion may be the very thing that pushes me away from staying with his department.
Throughout my working life I have been apart of some great workplaces. I think everyone you talk to will tell you that no matter the field you will have your ups and downs, which I would agree with, but I have found that the best jobs are ones that you can feel good about what you are doing AND get to share those experiences with a great team. Working in Ryle and Missouri Halls at Truman State gave me that feeling, and so did working in 1505 at the Illinois Math and Science Academy. I think I felt it most at Florida State while I was Mapping Coordinator, but also with some great people when I was directing the advising office, and I definitely felt it at Trinity Catholic School. Those students and teachers were great to work with. But I don’t get those same feelings where I am now.
And I think that is what scares me about getting recertified in Iowa. I read about the struggles of a lot of teachers on Twitter, and I also read about their positive moments. I am afraid I won’t end up with a great team again. I worry that the lack of support and the things that I beat myself up about when I left Trinity will come around again, and I will have spent a lot of time and money to get back into the profession to simply not want it when I get there. I know I have the passion. I know I have the commitment. And pretty much anyone who I have worked with will tell you that I will work hard. I just hope that’s really all I need…
For those of you who have read my blog before, these next three blog posts are for an assignment in my online educational technology class. They will definitely still be education related, but may be of a different flavor than the things I have thought might be my next blog post over the last 8 months or so.
If you are here because of the EDU 255 Technology in the Classroom class, welcome to my teaching blog!
The first teaching topic I have been thinking about lately is Robert Gagne. I am currently teaching introductory college level orientation courses for an engineering department at Iowa State University. It has been a very enlightening teaching experience with interesting topics, which are sometimes hard to build great learning activities for. It is also tough to get students motivated for their orientation class once Calculus and Physics classes start getting really tough.
What does that have to do with Gagne? I keep having experiences where I feel that the content is very quickly being forgotten or not sinking in in the first place. Then I was reminded of Gagne’s 9 events while reading the textbook for this class:
- Gain attention
- Inform learners of objectives
- Stimulate recall of prior learning
- Present the content
- Provide “learning guidance”
- Elicit performance (practice)
- Provide feedback
- Assess performance
- Enhance retention and transfer to the job
and it made me realize how much I focus on the “present content” above all of the rest. I do spend quite a bit of time planning how I want to present content, but once I have that figured out, I just don’t focus on the rest. And I think this was true in my teaching in the middle school as well. It’s like I have this idea that if I present the perfect lesson, everyone will just magically understand because of how the concepts was presented. This has caused me to set a goal to develop habits and tools to help me plan all aspects of the learning. I know this is what lesson planning in school was for, but I think I got complacent about the pre-presenting content and the post-presenting content aspects of the teaching, particularly in the classes I am currently teaching. I’m going to try to attend to the other aspects in Gagne’s events, as see if I get better results.