The gift of teaching: Reflections


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This was a PK from a presentation at Abbotsleigh for a TeachMeet in Nov 2011.

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  • The gift of a New Teacher – fresh perspective. Teaching is a gift that needs to be unwrapped – but what is inside?Everyone’s experience looks different.
  • This presentation is very much looking forward AND looking backThe elephant in the room that it is impossible to effectively capture and represent all new teachers experiences.
  • When was the last time that you felt like an imposter?This is a common feeling on a new teacher – not because you personally are inadequate, but you sit in the staffroom and listen to these amazing stories of what these teachers are doing and you can’t help but feel like an imposter. It’s also about using the wisdom that more experienced teachers have to offer.
  • Teaching (as a profession) has changed a lot, and will continue to do so. Therefore, while you may have had to battle and had a baptism of fire…sharing war stories with new teachers about how easy they have it does not help anyone.Must be sensitive to the teacher and their needs – “Don’t smile till Easter” is not going to work for everyone!!!!!
  • Teaching is a present (slide 1). But how fast you unwrap the paper is everything. It must be seen as a Yearly marathon run rather than a termly race, otherwise as I experienced, burn out is evident. You can see the finish line but its going to be one massive race …. BUT if you eventually continue to pace yourself, you will catch up with your own schedule
  • Year 7 English class – E4 Sign Language (students must take ownership)C – enter class – boys then girls1/2 fingers for questions and commentsEmu for silence
  • Teaching is a profession that you can always do more.@edusum – “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”
  • Teachers have over 2,0000 interactions a day (Beadle, 2011). So much of teaching is about giving of yourself, but how do you find a way to protect that little bit of yourself that the students can’t get to? Ongoing struggle to find strategies to look out for you, have down time and not feel guilty.
  • What is very obvious to you as an experienced educator, is amazing to a new teacher who is just starting out. That resource which you think is nothing, just saved that new teacher hours of planning (and stressing).
  • The best gift a new teacher could have – the gift of a PLN. For it is in giving that we receive. You will have a hard day, but your PLN will pick you up. You’re all in this together, fighting the good fight so you naturally look out for each other. They say that Faceboook is the staff you work with, Twitter is the staff that you wish you worked with – and it’s so true!
  • A sense of humour. This has been something that I have continually come back to day after day after day. We cannot take ourselves too seriously. The kids laugh at us, and so we should too at ourselves (where appropriate of course). Whether it is you spelling a word incorrectly (they love correcting you, it irritates me to no end) or the words you mix up, or the stories you tell or the things they say – finding the humour in situations is essential to survival (or at least I have found).
  • The gift of feedback, support and mentorship. Best if it is out of Faculty as you have an impartial body. Mentoring is about investing in new staff – don’t wait for someone to invite you to mentor, can often happen organically (online, formally, informally). Lesson observations as a way of support, great two way relationship of giving and support.
  • Enthusiasm goes a long way – I know its hard (they still walk over me) but enthusiasm goes a long way with students as often you may be the only bit of enthusiasm they have!Year 10 English example of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
  • Down talking students and their abilities has been one of the most crippling things. Teachers write off students and at times (whole classes) is not helpful for someone starting out. We should be thinking that these, yes, at times highly challenging students do require a lot of support and attention, but they will be working in jobs that do no exist yet, working with our own sons and daughters, and so thus, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are doing all we can to not treat our students poorly.
  • Ok. So lets take stock. More experienced educators often say “I wish I had your enthusiasm” etc – BUT you can – its about finding joy in unwrapping the gift wrapping. This means re-discovering the joy and delight in the gift of teaching. Well, how do we do this, what does this look like? It means looking at things from a different perspective and angle.
  • Pencil: I'msorryEraser: For what? You didn't do anything wrong.Pencil: I'm sorry because you get hurt because of me. Whenever I made a mistake, you're always there to erase it. But as you make my mistakes vanish, you lose a part of yourself. You get smaller and smaller each time. Eraser: That's true. But I don't really mind. You see, I was made to do this. I was made to help you whenever you do something wrong. Even though one day, I know I'll be gone and you'll replace me with a new one, I'm actually happy with my job. So please, stop worrying. I hate seeing you sad.
  • Conclusion – thank you for listening.
  • The gift of teaching: Reflections

    1. 1. The gift of teaching Reflections from an early career teacherAlex Wharton @whartonagWilliam Clarke College
    2. 2. @karlao_dtn @pipcleaves@edusum @MalynMawby @clarindabrown @7MrsJames @townesy77 @wanstad73
    3. 3. Thank you for listening Have a great end of Term and aMerry Christmas!Thanks to @townesy77 +@malynmawbyImages sourced from piccsy andprivate collectionAnd apparently the second yearis much easier? Let’s wait andsee ;)Continue the conversation…