November 18, 2018
Blog post 8
3 things I learned:
First: Teacher leadership is important within and beyond the classroom. Teachers need to be aware of how their classrooms function in relation to the school as a whole and strive to continuously improve their approaches and methods. Awareness of the bigger picture fosters teambuilding and respect among teachers and creates an environment where people are encouraged to learn from each other and avoid the danger of complacency. In order to be leaders, teachers need to be open-minded and respectful of their colleagues and appreciate that if the school is to work effectively everyone needs to play their part to the best of their ability. They also need to accept that their teaching is not perfect and is always in a state of development. In the assigned reading, entitled “Educational Leadership,” there is an example of the benefits of developing effective working relationships with one’s colleagues. Here a teacher named William could not figure out why his female students were underperforming compared to his male students. After observing his class, one of his colleagues established that William was associating himself more with his male students than his female ones. With this knowledge, William became aware of the need to be proactive in striving for greater balance in his teaching.
Second: The reading “Creating a Supportive Environment” covers the often difficult transition from student to teacher. The expectation to sound and look professional can contribute to the initial struggles of a new teacher. Also, novice teachers can experience nerve-racking initial worries such as dealing with parents and not being too severe with their students. Also, the expectation of what it is like to be a teacher might not line up neatly with the reality. It is not unusual for a teacher to feel isolated because of the difficulty of adjusting to a school or the challenges of dealing with difficult students. The reading points out that there are so many “unwritten rules” to teaching that it can sometimes be challenging to cope with the steep learning curve of the first few months or even years.
Third: The reading “Teachers, Administrators, and the School System” mentions that the hiring process varies across school districts. However, typically the process is centered upon recent teaching college graduates completing applications that document their qualifications and experience. These applications are then reviewed by school administrators or hiring committees, with some being discarded in order to create a shortlist of possible candidates. Typically the principal then reviews the shortlisted applicants and interviews them. He then advocates for his top choices. The school board then makes the final decision. Sometimes teachers and parents take part in the interviewing process.
First: I remember my first time volunteering at a school in ECS 100 and being surprised at how different the experience was from what I had envisioned. As was mentioned in the reading “Creating a Supportive Environment,” I felt somewhat isolated and uncomfortable in the classroom. Luckily the teacher that I was working with was very kind and accepting; however, I still felt that I lacked many of the skills and experience necessary to be at my best in the classroom. When answering students’ questions I felt very nervous and constantly second-guessed myself. The experience was eye-opening to say the least!
Second: The reading “Educational Leadership” mentions the importance of teamwork and cooperation within a school. I really agree with this statement because I remember frequent occasions when my classmates made a big difference to my learning. I remember once when colouring a painting one of my friends said “why don’t you keep your strokes going in one direction. It will look a lot better.” I think I was about 12 at the time and had probably coloured more than 100 pictures during my lifetime, but for some reason the concept of a consistent pattern of colour had never occurred to me. I have never looked back from that day.
Why is there so little support available for new teachers?