"What I've Learned this Year"- by Mr. McClung
I really enjoyed reading Mr. McClung's reflective post on his first year of teaching. He states for us the lessons he learned, the changes he made for the sake of his own personal growth, and the issues he realized being a teacher entails. While reflecting on his first year of teaching he leaves behind some very good advice for teachers of the present and future alike.
Mr. McClung tells about his own experience of trying to perfect his lesson plans and the stress that brought him. No matter how much time you put into planning a lesson, the final result will always be different and can never be perfect. This ties in with his important point of audience driven instruction. While attempting to perfect lessons, teachers will overlook the main goal which is student interest and comprehension. McClung learned in his first year of teaching that he could not let mistakes get him down and must remain positive instead. At the top of his reflection he has the words, "An important decision I learned this year is stay positive." I believe positivity is an important aspect of a teacher's duty. There is already enough negativity in many students and it has been mathematically proven that two negatives don't make a positive.
Another major lesson McClung learned is that of communication. He stresses that it is the hardest skill to develop and I would have to agree with him on that matter. Despite the difficulty of communicating effectively, it is a necessity to build relationships with co-workers and students. I feel communication with other teachers will leave you in the open for much needed advice, support, and important discussions. It is also apparent that we must be able to communicate with our students, as we may be the only person they can truly talk to. Mr. McClung says we must be interested in their lives and listen to what they say. Communication is definitely a skill I need to work on building.
The other two important points McClung brings to the table are not fearing technology and continuing to learn. McClung says that as teachers living in the microwave society we can not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed if we fail to master computer skills on the first try. He encourages diving head first into technology. I think technology is just as important as continual learning. We can not truly continue to learn if we don't know anything about technology because it is at the center of our lives today. It is not even a question to me as to whether or not teachers need to be life long learners. We are the ones producing learners, so we must be in the same boat as our students.
I feel Mr. McClung gave some very helpful tips and lessons learned that I will use in my journey of teaching. I am pretty sure many others who read this article feel the same.