Friday, July 20, 2012

Setting Goals

As I am teaching summer school, I've tried to reflect on my current practices as a teacher and what goals I want to accomplish next year.  Here's where I'm at:

  • Yes, I know I want to try "flipping" grammar lessons and putting more life into that aspect of English/language arts.  
  • I have many technology goals including using QR codes to present students with learning targets, link them to more information about a text or subject, and to help them link into valuable resources.  
  • I want to continue blogging with them more and try to use the apps Google provides to enhance their learning and my teaching.  
  • After a year on Twitter, I want to continue to expand my PLN and use/share/collaborate with other passionate teachers. 
  • I am always trying to update my curriculum, bring in nonfiction readings, and make connections to news/popular culture. I've got a grammar lesson using "Call Me, Maybe?" and a few other sensational news stories (like the bus monitor who was bullied by middle school students) to discuss with students already lined up.  
  • I am writing a senior level speech course that starts in a little over a month, which I could not be more excited about.  I am using excerpts from the following books: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun and Um: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders by Micheal Erard, and I could not be more excited to challenge and empower students to be better communicators!
  • This fall, I'll also be finishing up my ESL endorsement and continuing an e-learning certification. Like many teachers I know, I don't really care much for sleep. 

With all of these goals in mind and being the head coach of a large speech team, I know I will have my hands full.  While I am excited to tackle these important goals, I know that at the end of the day I will always ask myself this question: Did I do everything within my power today to show students that they are valued? 

Teaching a full class of second-lap freshman English students has really made me ask myself what I want all of my students to know and more importantly feel when they leave my class.  Through many discussions with students as to why they are "here" taking freshman English for the second (and sometimes third time), I have come to discover that yes these students need extra writing and reading help, but their needs run much deeper. These students need to know that even though they have failed (and who hasn't experienced failure to some degree), they have strengths, are creative, and can learn to accomplish great things.  I have also come to realize that even the smallest compliment to student or the smallest recognition of their strengths is incredibly empowering.  

While I have a huge list of goals to accomplish this semester, if I only accomplish one thing, it is this: I want my students to leave my class knowing the someone believes in them; I want them to feel supported.  By accomplishing this seemingly simple idea, students can begin on a path to discover their passions, find their voice, and accomplish great feats.

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