Friday, June 11, 2010

Teaching Post-Mortem- Planning

Well, after a crazy two weeks of getting ready for the summer session of college where, after pleading with a department head, I managed to get a screw-up on the university's part fixed, enabling me to get my Alternate Certification program completed this summer as I had planned, as opposed to the worst-case scenario where I would have to spend another year to complete just two classes. Now that I am in the class, I am doing the logical thing when presented with the case of being in a class where the content is literally what I did every day for a year: blog!

As I stated in my last post, I wanted to look back at the school year like any responsive professional and reflect on what I did with the purpose of taking those lessons learned and apply them to my conceptual fram... Er sorry, got a little too eduspeak-ey there for a second. In normal language, by talking about what I did this past year, I could figure out what went wrong (and right!) and fix those problems in preparation for next year.

Simply put, this year was horrible for me planning-wise because I was only five days before school started to teach in a subject area that I'm simply not qualified to teach, much less have a clue how to teach reading to students who are up to five grades behind where they should be as readers. The day I was hired I sat at home looking at all of the material that was given to me and felt totally lost. Thankfully for me my school board created a 180-day calendar for teachers to follow, so at least I could use that to get going. The next four days I spent, not planning, but simply getting my classroom ready for the impending school year. As a result, I was flying by the seat of my pants for the first two months of the school year just trying to figure out what I was doing teaching Reading. Of course, once I figured out what I needed to do, things began to go a lot smoother, but the issue remains that I'm teaching something I haven't the foggiest as to how to do what I'm supposed to do.

I think that this is going to plague me as long as I teach this subject. I am a Social Studies/Science, and even to an extent Math teacher. I look at the subject materials in those subject and know what and how to teach without too much effort. Reading? Not a chance. Even though I had the assistance of our consultant getting me up to speed, I was still spending eight to ten hours a weekend working on lesson plans, only to spend over an hour a night looking at my lessons trying to change them since everything went wrong. By the end of the year, I was in a rhythm of lesson planning.

Looking to next year, if i can continue to plan deliberately once I got going in the school year, I'll feel a lot better about the planning aspect of the job. However, I still feel like I'm still behind the 8-ball because I don't feel as though I'm adequately prepared to teach students who, frankly, need someone who specializes in teaching struggling readers. I wish I could say that I can turn it around this next year and really become an effective reading teacher, but I know better and am tempering my expectations... and hoping I can get an assignment at my school where I have a better chance of utilizing the teaching talents that I have.

Until next time.

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