Becoming a Reflective Teacher

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As a young teacher starting out, I thought it was normal for teachers to think about ways activities and lessons could be improved. This has to be what they taught in Education courses…right? Having sought the alternate licensing route, I had no idea about what it was to be a reflective teacher and neither did my colleagues with Education degrees.

What began for me as just a means to reach my students, became a very systematic process I gradually went through at the end of each semester, then at the end of each unit, and eventually at the end of each lesson. As I type this blog, so many ideas and changes I want to make for the upcoming school year are already running through my mind!

So what does it mean to be a reflective teacher?

Being a reflective teacher is actually look at data and instructional practices to make the necessary changes. You may think about what went well and what could be improved upon as far as instruction goes. You may ponder what parts caused misunderstandings for the students. You may also need to hone in on why students are misbehaving during a particular lesson.

Happy Reflecting!

Kristen

 

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind

I recently attended a professional development session with Eric Jensen, the author of Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind and other books about brain-based learning and teaching. Although I had skimmed the book Teaching with Poverty in Mind, I was prepared for a long day! When I walked in and saw the tables filled, I immediately sent my husband a text saying that I did not know if I was staying after lunch. I was already and exhausted…I preferred to stay in bed and allow my body time to heal. During the first five minutes of the presentation, my mind was changed completely. I immediately got a cup of coffee and water when I got the first chance and prepared to stay for the long haul. And boy am I glad I did!

Not only was the information that Mr. Jensen presented was relevant for my current setting, it also made me think of my personal experience growing up in poverty. I sat there and thought “Now I  understand why I was so angry”, and “Man, am I glad I had great teachers”.  While I know my teachers contributed to my success, the presentation made it even more evident that I was very fortunate to have teachers that taught the students in the class instead of their circumstances.

Mr. Jensen’s extensive research is centered around how the brain learns and students in poverty. He presented several success stories from the schools he researched for his books. He also shared strategies to overcome many of the obstacles that teachers face with students in high poverty schools. If you haven’t had a chance to see him speak, you are missing out! I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and pondered on whether or not I should return to the classroom.

I will post more details about the workshop at a later date. To learn more about Eric Jensen, visit http://www.jensenlearning.com.