I was challenged by a former co-worker, and still friend, to join him in the “Attitude of Gratitude” reflective teacher blogging challenge.
I always love a challenge, and forcing myself to blog has not been my strong suit. (You may or may not have noticed the date of my last post…just saying.)
I am in the midst of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month- I’m at 17,000 words for the record), so this is going to be a rapid fire, silencing my inner editor, fly by the seat of my pants blog post.
Here we go:
I am proud of my accomplishments in the realm of instructional technology. I recently joined the ranks of high school English teachers, but in my previous life I was a middle school reading teacher and Educational Technology Integration Specialist. I am proud to say that I played a role in developing and launching a 1:1 for a small rural middle school. I’m pretty proud that I earned a nice little award for being Oklahoma’s Technology Leader of the year and a fancy pink jacket from ISTE.
The awards were pretty cool, but I’m even MORE proud to say that the 1:1 program we developed as a team focused LESS on tech tools and MORE on instructional strategies. I can still vividly remember our summer meetings before our launch in August 2010. We collaboratively decided that our focus would be on critical thinking- technology was great but knew we needed to stay grounded in student learning not bells and whistles.
I am proud to say I was part of a team of forward thinking teachers.
I am proud to say that we pushed our students to USE THEIR BRAINS.
As instructors*, we had the courage and faith to know that we could part ways from “traditional” pedagogy. Our faith in and focus on critical thinking, aided by our LoTi rubrics and ongoing discussions and reflections, led to tremendous and deep learning by our students. Students, middle schoolers (!!!), were completing amazing projects and engaged in our classrooms.
Perhaps my proudest teaching moments are when 100% of students are enthusiastic. When 100% of students actually care and are creating and sharing AMAZING, authentic products.
I am proud when I see growth in my students.
I am proud when students actually begin to enjoy reading because I allow them to select what they’d like to read 99% of them time. (S/O Book Whisperer)
I am proud when my students have great state test scores. Wanna know how they do it??? When you design your lessons/activity/projects around higher order thinking amazing things happen- like students actually learning. (Academic Vocabulary is big too, but I’m not particularly proud of that…that’s just part of playing the testing game.)
I’m pretty proud that I refuse to allow myself to fall into the trap of “covering” material or making it through a textbook. I refuse to panic about state tests.
I refuse to teach from a textbook. I’m stubborn and never have…not once.
I am proud that students know that I love them.
I am proud to say that even though I may be quirky and odd, my students learn and grow they create and share. They make ME proud.
I don’t have a fancy way to wrap this up.
BUT it’s NaNoWriMo time so I’m just not going to worry about it.
* I can’t say that 100% of our team was 100% committed, but such is life. We can’t allow our lives professionally or privately to be ruled by the naysayers or negative Nancies.