As a teacher in higher education, I love working with teachers who are just starting out in the field. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn is so heartening!
I put together this video lecture for them to learn more about the Autism (ASD) evaluation for our state of Oregon. I decided to publish it on my blog so parents/caretakers and others can learn more as well!
when we teach we learn about what works and what doesn’t work by using self-reflection. Teach a lesson, a day, a week and look back and take the time to examine what worked well, and what didn’t work.
Here are some questions to ask:
How did the students respond? Was the lesson too hard, too easy? How would you present the materials or lesson differently next time?
How are you feeling physically and emotionally? Are issues in your personal life creeping into the classroom? Are you able to leave stress from home at home?
Every facet of teaching and education including the teacher’s cognitive, psychological, social/emotional and professional characteristics can be reflected upon. How you show up in your classroom and your school matters! Every facet of you as a person and teacher impacts your students and the whole school is impacted on some level.
When we prepare to review dispositions of our pre-service teachers with self-reflection in mind, we have the following rubric and scale:
Take a look at this scale and see how you would rate yourself right now…
We always want to see ourselves with a growth mindset and as a person who can grow and develop new skills.
Are you a person who is willing to put in the work to self-reflect so you can grow personally or professionally? If so how are you self-reflecting?
One student teacher I had two years ago said he had a long drive home from his student teaching placement. He took this long commute to run through his school day. He would think about the areas of the day that went well and the areas of the day that he would do differently next time. One suggestion I had for him is to have some type of journal or log to eventually (after he is done driving:) record those thoughts. Even though you think you would never forget them, the year is so full and there is no way to remember everything.
I designed this self-reflection worksheet as a way to encapsulate that self-reflection every week.
Take a moment to fill this out each week. Create a file to keep the reflections and by the end of the year you will be so amazed at how much you have grown.
Last night in our weekly guide meeting my wonderful pre-service teachers got into partners and used this self-reflection worksheet to reflect upon their week in the classroom. They enjoyed the chance to share with a partner and we will try this again next week.
The student on the left side of the picture, Hailey also shared her journal which she uses daily to write in. Her collaborating teacher encouraged her to use a daily journal to write notes about the day and questions that come up. I was so impressed to see this level of self-reflection from a student teacher!
Many times, when University practicum students start volunteering in the schools, they are unsure of what their role is in the classroom. Your supervising teacher may give you direction or an idea of what you can do to help in their class. Some teachers will ask you to lead a small group literacy or math activity or do a read-aloud for example. Some teachers however may not give you as much direction. This may happen because teachers are very busy or there is not a built-in meeting time for them to fill you in. You may step in to the classroom when the teacher is teaching and therefore there is no time to chat.
I am offering some tips and ideas of what to do if you are not given much direction in your setting:
Observe and Reflect:
It is ok for the first visit or two to observe the class. Run this by your mentor teacher so they know what your thoughts are about observing the class. If observing the first time or two makes you more comfortable than practicum is an ok time in your pre-service teaching experience to do this. Practicum is a chance to get a feel for what different classroom settings are like. You will be able to volunteer for 25 hours in five unique classroom settings. If you choose to observe, take the time to jot some notes down about what you are seeing in the class. Some guiding questions and things to look for include: Continue reading →
Use your voice as a tool: As teachers, one of the best tools we have is our voice. Ensure that all students can hear you by projecting your voice. You can make your voice louder or softer as needed. Work on developing a ‘stern’ teacher voice to use when you need it, but be careful not to overuse it. If you use a soft-spoken or quiet voice while teaching, students may talk over you and start to take over the lesson. Practice using your voice as a tool in your car on the way to school, at home, and during lessons to see the impact it has on your teaching.
Pre-teach behavioral expectations BEFORE starting the lesson:Be pro-active rather than reactive. Spend a few moments before teaching your lessons being explicit about your behavioral expectations. What do students’ bodies, voices, and eyes need to be doing during the lesson? Be specific: “Eyes on me, hands in your lap, bottoms on the floor.” Use the same language as your motor teacher so students hear the consistency.
Notice or ‘catch’ students who are following through on the behavioral expectations:During the lesson make sure to ‘catch’ or notice the students who are following the behavioral expectations you explained at the start of the lesson. This can be as simple as saying “I notice Johnny has his hands in his lap, thank you Johnny.” Follow through on the same language your mentor teacher uses to praise student behavior for consistency. Do you have a classroom-wide behavior incentive in your classroom? If so, follow through and use the plan throughout the lesson.