A Scholastic Year

28 May

This is a reflection I wrote about what I learned in my first year at my new job.  I had to write it in lickety-split, but I liked how it turned out.  The lingo stems from the field of education, so I hope it isn’t too academic.  Please note that names have been changed!

1. Good[1] (gd) adj. Having the qualities that are desirable or distinguishing in a particular thing. When I arrived to Rock Mountain High School, I thought I was a good teacher.  My title in other schools was “Professional Teacher” and I even had some “Master Teacher” ratings.  In Rock Mountain School District, there are many different adjectives available to describe their teachers.  The adjective good is not among the district’s terms.  After researching and reflecting, good is a more laudable term than I realized.  Good is also defined as “well advanced[2].”  Am I a good teacher?  Have I grown to become a good teacher?  I have reflected on specifically defining who I am as a teacher, and I will present several adjectives to color my learning experience at Rock Mountain School District.

2. Falta[3] A Spanish word meaning shortage, lacking. After being at Rock Mountain for a year, I realize that I was a teacher with much to learn, and I still have a healthy shortage of skill.  Although I have always been a lifelong learner, I never realized how much was buried under the tip of the colossal iceberg of the craft of teaching.  I am so pleased that Rock Mountain has revealed the amount of things yet to learn.  While the sheer amount of things to perfect sometimes seems overwhelming, I also look at it as an exciting and challenging journey that awaits me.  The following is for sure: I have grown as a teacher and in my relationships with students and colleagues.

3. Growth[4] (grth) n. Development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution. Any studied person knows that things change over time.  My scientific colleagues agree that organisms can survive and thrive with lower functioning systems, but it is an evolutionary advantage to develop more complex structures.  While I was a satisfactory teacher for years, I am confident that I evolved after being at Rock Mountain.  One area of major growth happened inside the classroom.  While I always had high expectations as a teacher for my students, I thought that 90% student participation and on-task behavior was acceptable.  However, through my evolutionary process, I know that I was able to increase that percentage (and my own expectations for myself) through several venues.

3. Understand[5] (ndr-stnd)  v. To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of; grasp. The first route that I traveled was  path of increasing my understanding of the topic “checks for understanding.”  I knew that checking for understanding was necessary in a lesson, but I did not check all students’ understanding.  Not only did I fail to realize this was crucial to include constantly, I did not comprehend how to implement checks for understanding.  Through help from colleagues and administrators, I now grasp the concept.  I learned more about checks for understanding, I used a variety of styles, I expected student participation, and I embedded the checks in my lessons.

4. Plan (pln) n. A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; strategic. Throughout my years as a teacher, I was envied by others for how organized and advanced I could plan in the school year.  I planned for myself.  My planning has now shifted to be student centered.  I plan for my students now.  My objective is clear and purposeful for each day and each transition within the day.  I ponder over the ways that my students will demonstrate their understanding of every building block along the way of my lessons.  Like a soldier trying to strategically realize his or her plan, I make sure every question and activity is strategically placed in my lesson for my students to follow me with confidence.

5. Finish[6] (fnsh) v. To arrive at or attain the end of. I am finished with the school year.  I am finished with this essay.  I do not have ample space to include all of my reflections about my growth, but there is even more to my story.  However, after defining only a few words, I have a greater awareness about where I started as a teacher, where my path has led me, and where my target is as I continue on in my path of teaching.  Am I a good teacher?  I leave one thought: A person can never arrive at an end if they do not define the path upon which he or she is traveling.  I think I have an advantageous understanding.


[1] Good. (2000). Houghton Mifflin Company. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Company

[2] good. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved May 15, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/good

[3] No reference needed

[4] Growth. (2000). Houghton Mifflin Company. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Company

[5] Understand. Ibid.

[6] Finish. Ibid.

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