The way I taught this year, you’d think I had a chip on my shoulder. I do, and now I own it.
The last two months, I revamped my whole teaching style, not because Charlotte Danielson or any other education expert told me to do it, but because I’m in my ninth year, and damnit, if I can’t do get ‘er done now, what am I doing with my life?
My portfolios come in solid greens and reds. I’ve now done four rounds of bulletin boards. My classrooms walls have drawings of the solar system from the students, scaled from calculations they did using scientific notation. I still do too much talking when it comes to the student dialogues, but I’ve also given them lots of leeway to struggle with their classwork and ask each other questions before they ask me. I wait longer when I ask a hard question and don’t allow the quicker students to blurt out the responses before I’ve given them enough time (and space) to give a solid response. I’m keeping my classroom open for the most part, and slowly people have come to visit.
All in all, I’m kicking butt, at least in the classroom.
Too often, it’s easy to look at all the troubles you’re going through and let all your blessings disintegrate in front of you, much to the pleasure of your doubters. It’s easy to look at yourself as less of a teacher when the visits don’t come, the pats on the back don’t happen, or the kids act out as they are wont to do. In those moments, no matter our income levels, the only things we got are a mirror and a new day. Taking this day-to-day approach (and prioritizing my life) has made teaching simpler. If it directly benefits students, that comes first. Everything else is secondary, if not tertiary.
Our current education system asks us to do too much with too little. I’d rather work towards harder at the smarter stuff, leave out all the rest. Evaluations be damned.