What has been your biggest surprise about teaching?
I've always had
high expectations for my students, and I probably always will. However,
in some cases there are students with whom I have used many different
strategies to teach skills and/ or concepts, with little success. Even
though the child would be learning, the rate of learning would sometimes
be below expectation or different than like age students. While I understand
that learning styles vary, I wasn't quite ready for the reality that
a student still may not be learning on grade level by the end of the
year. That was my biggest surprise. If a child had not mastered the
skills, I would blame myself. However I have been finding out little
by little that some students may always be slow learners or have gaps,
because of a variety of reasons. Even though I have that reality to
face I will continue to have high expectations for my students and put
100% into their development toward the future.
How do you know when it's time to change your approach?
I know it's time
to change my approach in a hands-on Science/Math lesson by the way the
students behave. When they are not engaged anymore, discipline problems
begin to escalate and the students are more focused on each other than
the activity—that's usually my cue. When the students are engaged
and excited, asking and answering questions, predicting, talking to
each other and challenging themselves to find out more in a steady flow,
then I feel I should continue in that direction. Sometimes I'm not so
sure what my next move should be. Many times the students are the ones
who come up with the ideas spontaneously, or I collaborate with fellow
educators. Nevertheless I usually get my indicators from the students
regarding changes of approach.