Since I recently made the switch from teaching middle school (for over 10 years!), back to elementary (which I had previously taught for 6 years), I have found myself feeling like a rookie teacher again. Yep – a rookie with 22 years of experience!
Since joining the Teachers Pay Teachers community, I have truly broadened my horizons. I am constantly amazed and challenged by other teachers and bloggers in the TPT Community. When I say challenged, I mean challenged in the most positive way possible! There are so many wonderful teachers with so many wonderful ideas!
Here are just a couple of blog articles that have me inspired, challenged, and in deep-thought for the second part of my school year:
This post is from Kelly at Teaching Fourth and Upper Elementary Snapshots. I really like this post because it reminded me that I need to get back to using my Math Notebooks (Interactive Student Notebooks), and using foldables and flipbooks to engage my students. I used them at the beginning of the year, then got away from using them as I jumped in head first using our reading and math series. This article gave me food for thought, because I’m not really happy with our pace and progress so far. . . I need to get back to doing the activities that I know in my heart are the right fit for my students and stop trying to follow the scripted, packaged lessons from a series. ‘Nuff said.
The second post that made me go Hmmmm is from Two Boys and a Dad – Teacher. This actually isn’t just one post, but more of a 3 part series of posts that really had me thinking about my math. It first grabbed me because he uses Go Math! and my school is also using Go Math! this year, so his comments really hit home, especially when he said that he was frustrated with the Go Math series. I found myself nodding in agreement and talking to my computer, “So am I!”
Start with his Part 1 post about branching away from the Go Math “script” and using the Bansho (Japanese method) that is quite a switch from the traditional US method. I will be very curious to try the Bansho method with my class. My class is comprised of struggling students, so I must be prepared to give them “tips” without giving away too much. Struggling a bit will be very hard for them, but I’ve really been trying to teach them the idea of Perseverance, and I’m really feeling confident that I can make this work in my classroom!
That’s where the “challenge” part comes in. This teacher is challenging me to make this work in my class. And I’m up for the challenge!
This led me to the realization that I’ve digressed from my own style of teaching and kind of morphed into a teach-the-series teacher. It isn’t working for me or my students. These prepackaged lessons put out by big companies are NOT better than what I did previously. I need to find my way back to my own style and what works best for my students. I think it’s healthy to constantly be evaluating what you are doing – and make changes when changes need to be made! I’m so glad that the teaching community is made up of so many caring people who share so much of themselves, what works, and what doesn’t!
A HUGE shout out goes to these bloggers who are challenging, encouraging, and inspiring me to up my teaching skills! Hopefully you will also find some inspiration, or maybe something that makes you go “Hmmm…..” also!