I began my Master's course hoping to find my niche as a teacher in this complex and ever-evolving world of education. Though I had the priviledge of teaching in schools that allowed me the space and freedom to pursue what I felt was the right path, I often felt alone and unsure of myself. Not having a teaching certification compounded my anxiety. Starting the course at Walden has given me the confidence and reason to continue on this carreer path. I realize that I have the passion for teaching. I am not concerned about my pay package as much as I am about being intellectually stimulated. Being in the field of education exposes me to interesting people who enjoy analyzing and evaluating knowledge. What can be more exciting?
I have learnt to appreciate the fact that the power I weild over the students in my classroom, may make or break them. I am deeply conscious of the background they come from and their varying needs. I am aware that I am there not just to teach them, but to consciously prepare them for the 21 st century. It is my duty to keep abreast of what is happening in the broader educational system in order to to be part of the professional world of educators. This will enable me to incorporate modern and up-to-date practice in my classroom. Sharing teaching strategies with other teachers is good practice. I have always shared resources and websites with my colleagues in the past. I will continue to do so inthe future. I am now aware that the resources I share will be more up-to-date and revolve around thelatest trends in education.
Lately, I have also re-established connections with the various on-line collaborative groups such as Assessment For Learning, The Ning Threads (teachers who teach the IB program) and Flatroom Classes; I had joined these groups last year. I have also joined a blog site, Inquiry Within, where we write about encouraging students to ask meaningful questions.
I have some burning questions of my own. Though I have seen highly effective teachers at practice, it would be interesting to see how they plan their lessons. I have come across many different kinds on planners that help teachers organize themselves. What really works? Why is it necessary to plan in detail? Don’t things change during the course of a lesson? Another question I ask is, how do we bring those parents who have no clue about our school’s vision and mission, on board? In order for the child to be successful, teachers cannot do it on their own. Parent participation is crucial. I feel tackling over-enthusuatic parents is far easier than dealing with parents who just do not care.
I have new goals that are quite achievable and practical. I have started buying and ordering educational books pertaining to 21 st century pedagogy. I plan to make some time for reading everyday. I will also make it a point to regularly blog and connect with other professionals at least once a month. I will share any good resources I come across with my colleagues. I will take time to listen to my students patiently. During stressful times, I will glance at my mission statement, which sits with me by my desk, to keep me grounded and focused.
My professional discussions with colleagues sound somewhat like this: What do you think is the best strategy or tool to use for this topic? What educational book or journal have you recently read? Could I borrow it? Is it okay if I come to your class and observe the inquiry lesson? Can you come to my class and observe how I teach the math lesson? Do you mind if I talk to you? I feel rather troubled.
I feel a sense of renewed vigor because I now know that during the times I feel stressed, defeated and unsure of myself, there are other, very experienced teachers, who go through the same myriad of emotions. This is indeed a revelation. It has made me realize that the nature of my job can be overwhelming at times. I now know that I can tackle stress by going for yoga and meditation classes.I have a sense of control over my life. The very act of writing this reflection strengthens my conviction of the inner reserves I possess.
There will always be challenges in our profession. Every child that comes to us is different. The challenge for me would be to try and get to know the child as well as possible. This is not an easy task; I have to constanly find different strategies to peel the layers of enigma and complexity that surround each child.
Time is precious and fleeting. There is never enough time nowadays to do the things you want to do. I need to learn how to be more organized and make time for myself. Without looking after my body and soul, I am aware that I cannot operate efficiently.
The thought that I, Naini Singh, can make a difference in my students lives, keeps me going. If I am successful at creating ethical leaders of the future who will make a difference in other people’s lives, what can be more humbling than being a part of these chain of events?
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