Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the new generation of teachers

Our school, ever the learning lab, hosts Professional Development School interns from George Mason University who spend a school year with us as they complete a graduate year of Ed. School practicums and work toward elementary certification. It is full time work while one is a full time student. Not easy. It is an authentic experience that helps one prepare for the real thing.

These resident interns presented their reflections of their first placements in an end of semester seminar share for our staff last week. Despite the fact we had our first snow and afternoon school events were cancelled in our county, we had a record turnout of teachers and administrators in attendance. Glad I went. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. Our interns range in experience from fresh out of undergrad programs to second career (maybe third career) folks. They are a wonderful mix of personalities, preferences, and styles. There were five presentations and this mix was reflected in the presentations. Technology, dancing, singing, speaking, and a general good time were shared. Some thoughts I heard that remind us all about what teaching is on a daily basis follow:
  • teachers create learning environments everyday
  • teachers are learning everyday along with the students
  • effective classroom management is ongoing by the day, by the hour, by the minute, by the lesson
  • lessons often hold unexpected outcomes (see next item)
  • Alan Greenspan has nothin' on 4th graders determined to create an effective economic (i.e. black market) system that applies the essential skills taught in class
  • Teaching responsively means you are adjusting to the learner (see previous bullet) and creating positive teachable moments when there is an unexpected outcome
  • responsive classroom techniques work
  • responsive classroom techniques school wide are awesome
  • responsive classroom techniques make so much sense
  • kids need the same respect adults need
  • teachers have to model that respect with students
  • social interaction is important learning for teachers and students
  • getting to know individual student's needs helps with everything
  • kids taking risks is exciting
  • flexibility is helpful... maybe crucial
  • administrative duties are very time consuming... even with systems in place
  • reflecting and sharing is necessary if we are going to grow as teachers

If you were there... please feel free to add what you heard that afternoon! I can't wait to attend next semester's share after their month long independent teaching experience. I'm hoping for more dancing.


Jenny said...

The joy in working at our school was so clear during this seminar share. It was energizing and validating. Reading your thoughts about it refreshed that feeling.

JM said...

As a contributor to the presentations, I have to agree with Jenny. The joy in working at this school is indescribable - the atmosphere and support provided to interns is undeniable. For these same reasons, we are provided with an opportunity to flourish as teachers, professionals, and colleagues. Providing us with an opportunity to articulate our mental reflections in such an open, friendly, and fun manner shows the caliber in which we have been allowed to excel in such an enriching environment.

And dancing there will be...