What I've Learned
The first post I read was Mr. McClung's What I've Learned This Year (2009-2010). In this blog post Mr. MeClung describes his transition from middle school teaching to jr. high school teaching. He talks about how he could not use the same methods or style he had used before. Mr. McClung labeled this as him having to "Adapt". One of his harder aspects is that he had to teach not only science but also history and social studies. He then describes how often with social studies current events are discussed/debated, and that often the students would tell him what he wanted to hear rather than their own opinion. This means a lot coming from him to say that the teacher's opinion is not always the right opinion. I have had many teachers that no matter how well the student supported his or her own beliefs, the teacher believed that they were right. The second reason it means a lot to me is because as a future educator I must be able to play the neutral side and accept my student's opinions no matter what they are.
Also, Mr. McClung makes a point to state that we must not lose sight of what's important. He describes that during the school year he had many problems with some of the other faculty members. Mr. McClung says that some of the "grown-ups" had not acted so grown up. Although this was going on, he still had to set his students first. He also tells of a time where he and another teacher were talking and she told him to "shut it down". He knew this would be the best way to stick it to them, but would it really be in the best interest of the students?
The last point he makes is that he is still a work in progress. No matter what we may think we know, we are always learning. Mr. McClung really feels that he has progressed in the past two and a half years of teaching, but he still has a long way to go. I like how he states that after his first full year of teaching he got a big head, but that this second year has been a humble reminder that he does not know as much as he once thought he did.
The second post I read was Mr. McClung’s What I’ve Learned This Year (2010-2011). In this post he talks about all the changes he encountered in that school year such as, it being the first year that he taught at the same school two years in a row, the first year being a head coach, the first year being a cross country coach, and the first year being a computer applications teacher. He said that with so many changes, it was easy to learn and reflect, and in turn share this reflection with us.
The first thing he discusses is “Know Who Your Boss Is” and how in the line of teaching, it’s easy to get caught up in people pleasing. While he was being “consumed,” he realizes that he was neglecting his students’ needs for his full attention. I really respect the fact that he is so concerned with his students despite so many teachers failing to uphold this attitude. I hope that when I become a teacher, I can remain in this mindset as well.
A word of advice he gives is “Don’t Expect Others to be as Excited About Change as You Are”. He then tells us about how much of an optimist he is, even when it comes to things other teachers tend to not be interested in such as professional development sessions. Everyone is aware of these people, and the teachers that have this attitude are easy to pick out. I like his optimism and how he said he “geeks out” in sessions, which is of course tied into his dedication to his students.
Another word of advice is “Don’t Be Afraid to be an Outsider”. With this, he states that staying true to yourself is key to teaching. He tells us that in his teaching career, there have been rare moments where he felt like he felt like he fit in. I feel like this is a noble statement because how many people do you know that will admit that they don’t fit in with people their own age? The fact that he feels like he doesn’t have to pretend around his students or his fellow teachers is something all teachers should strive for.
He then tells us that despite him being an outsider, there is one teacher he talks to on a daily basis. Mrs. Barron, or as he refers to her as “his classroom mom,” is actually the one giving advice in this section. Her advice to him as a teacher is “Don’t Touch the Keyboard.” What she is saying by this is that as teachers, it’s so easy to see a student struggling and wanting to help them by showing them how to do it rather than guiding them while they do it themselves. I find this advice really helpful because having all younger siblings, I know how it feels to want to do it for them rather than step by step showing them the way.
The final word of advice Mr. McClung gives us is “Don’t Get Comfortable.” When I first read this heading I wasn’t sure what to think but as he described how routines can make a day more effective, it can also become apathy. Whenever he realized he was becoming the teacher he feared he wouldn’t, he started to sign up for things he normally would not think to do. He makes a good point that while teaching is a stable job and it’s easy to become comfortable, it’s not an industry that is unmoving. As a future teacher, I hope that I can be as enthusiastic about teaching as Mr. McClung is and that I can have an attitude as optimistic as he does.