Monday, 7 March 2016

Being a Life-long Learner, this year.

A bit of context to start: having committed to writing a post every time I ask my hub students to, this morning we looked at SMART goals and set at least one academic and one dispositional or habits goal. My students then had to commit to their goals by enshrining them in their blogs. I showed them my list of possible blog topics, and let them choose what I should write about next; they decided that my own goals for the year, in my learning, would be best.

So, in short form, these are they:
- LOs on display
- empathy for difficult students
- being a full-time working mum
- being a social scientist and historian
- project learning

In a slightly longer form...

Part of being a good teacher is making sure that each lesson I teach is purposeful. I know that if I have a clear Learning Objective for each lesson, that is a pretty clear check that what I am doing is meeting a need or has a purpose in my students' learning. Last year, I was pretty bad at doing this, and especially in making it clear to students. I like to think what I did was purposeful anyway, but there is no way to tell really. 

My aim this year then, is to make sure I write an LO into my planbook for each lesson I plan, and that way I will be sure that not only do I know what I am meant to be doing, but I can tell my students too.

My next goal comes from the fact that one of my greatest difficulties is being tolerant or empathetic of difficult behaviour from students, and looking for understanding of its causes rather than simply reacting to the behaviour itself. I think I tend to judge people generally quite quickly, and I know I am quite black and white in my worldview - this is not necessarily a very productive way into student relationships.  (A caveat - I don't always do this, and have developed some excellent relationships with students which have been helpful for both of us. Just so I don't sound totally hard-hearted or down on myself...)  

I have decided that I need to aim for greater compassion with my students, by listening harder to those who don't necessarily want to talk to me. I feel this quite strongly as a weakness on my part, and so I have decided to make this the focus for my teaching inquiry. I will be relying on my colleagues Sally and Cindy a lot in this, both in helping me frame my inquiry, and because they are both really excellent role models in this area. (Actually, there are a lot of staff at HPSS who I think I will be calling on the expertise of.)  

It's funny, sortof, that empathy is something that actually is vital in a teacher of teenagers, but is not something that previously in my career has been shown to be necessary or valued. It's something that - like the dispositional curriculum that is taught at HPSS and not many other schools - is valued in staff here but not given any professional learning time anywhere else. I like also that what we teach the students is also valued and thus role-modelled by teachers; as in, I need to learn to do these things just as much as they do, and I am encouraged in my learning, not viewed as having a weakness.

Right, I will come back to my other goals next time, as this has already been in draft for a week, waiting for time to be finished. 

1 comment:

  1. Great to see you articulating your goals my critical friend. I wonder whether the extended challenge would be to co-construct the LOs with students?