Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Back to Reality

When I graduated college... As my girlfriend would put it... I "flopped". For those of you who are unaware of my girlfriends lovely vernacular, "flopping" is a verb, and it is the state of doing absolutely nothing and basically being as useful as a fish out of water. Hence the "flopping" around.

It wasn't a planned out course of action. I had to flop. Just to recuperate from the toughest semester of my college carreer, the semester of Student Teaching. I learned so much and worked so hard that I had to take time off. But in my last blog post I think I explained that I started to sub after I graduated, and that was the first step I took towards not "flopping" around.

But subbing is tough! Going into a class where you don't know any of the students and being expected to maintain order and teach a lesson (on possibly a subject you know nothing about). Not fun. But I think subbing was helpful in making me not so "flopfull".

So I started to look around for long term sub jobs. It would be beneficial in multiple ways: have a paid teaching job on my resume, teach to the same students everyday, and teach a subject I know! But finding a job is tough. Employers want employees with more experience than someone who is fresh out of college. It wasn't until my fourth interview that I got a job!

The job is at Kent Innovation High, and so far I am loving it! It is technology rich and all project-based learning. I have learned so much about different ways to teach already in the short amount of time I have been here and I can't wait to learn more.

I will share later this week in another post what I discovered that may FOREVER change how I teach a classroom.

... And how I am no longer "flopping".

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Finally All Gradumacated

I created this blog in order to chronicle my life as I pursue the ever lasting task of improving my teaching. I have just graduated from Grand Valley State University with a major in mathematics, minor in physics, both with an emphasis in secondary education. This now presents me with my first task of post-graduate struggles... Finding a job.

I already was interviewed at a great high school for a long term substitute teaching job, but as someone who just graduated I am lacking in the area of "experience". However I had a great student teaching experience. Don't get me wrong though, it was a very tough semester of teaching, maybe the hoardest semester I had in college... It was a different kind of difficulty than what I as used to though. When you are the student you spend your time trying to figure out what it is your teacher expects from you, but now I'm trying to get my students to understand what I want. That was one of the first things I learned when student teaching, I had to be absolutely clear with what my expectations were or else the whole lesson will be lost. Being clear with your expectations also takes a lot of stress of your students because now they aren't worrying about what is going on and can focus on the learning objectives. 

I learned a lot from college. It definitely made me a  better person and made me appreciate my education and my subject areas more than I knew was possible. But looking back nothing was more helpful in making me prepared for my career than my student teaching. I was out on my own to make mistakes and learn from them but, just in case, I had my cooperating teacher in the classrooms if I desperately needed help. Having this set up taught me so much more about the teaching profession than I learned in college. You have to be prepared for anything as a teacher, if you aren't prepared then your lessons will find a way to undo themselves. Once they do that then you will lose your students attention. I've also learned a lot about trying to earn respect. As a teacher, if you want your students to respect you then you need to show them respect as well. Who cares if you've been to college and they haven't? We have all been in the same place before when we are learning something for the first time, it's tough! Be patient with your students as they are trying their hardest to understand. I've found that when you are patient and you constantly give your students a chance, they will never cease to amaze you with their ingenuity and intelligence.

So there is no hard feelings for not getting that long term sub job. I definitely understand what a huge role experience plays in the effectiveness of teaching. It's a life long learning job, I undaerstand that I will always be learning on the job. That's why I'm so happy with my career choice, I want to continue to learn and continue to better help students learn that math doesn't have to be boring. I just wish that in interviews, I can portray this better and show that even though I don't have the experience, I know what to do once I have it. And I feel that understanding that is so much more valuable than having experience and not doing anything with it.

This is one of the reasons I'm starting this blog. I think it will help me reflect on my experiences and I can get feedback from all the veteran teachers who read this, helping me to constantly improve. Also, as I post my struggles and talk about how I handle them, I hope to help any other starting out teachers  as they begin this incredible journey as well. 

I hope you enjoyed the read of my first post, and stay tooned because there will be many more posts to come :)