Mostly on here I tell stories about successes or moments with kids. They’re more fun to write about and, I assume, more fun to read. (Though maybe not? No idea.) And some moments with students are either so ridiculous or so heartbreaking that I can’t not write about them.
But I don’t do a lot of reflection about ways in which I could improve – actually, scratch that. I reflect on that all.the.freaking.time, I just don’t write about it here much. I think it would probably be good for me, though. Put it out there, own it publicly, admit my mistakes, try to figure out how to get better. So I’m going to try to do that. I’m scared about this, because it’s outside of my comfort zone, but I ask kids to push past their comfort zones all the time so probably I better do it too.
Instructionally, I am not good enough at teaching grammar and conventions. I know they should be done in context, I know they’re super important, but it’s not what I’m as comfortable with or as interested in so it hasn’t happened thoroughly. I don’t do portfolios well – I kinda tried to start them this year but I didn’t have a clear vision and hadn’t thought it through. I haven’t figured out how to grade work (like essays) in a timely but also thoroughly completed fashion (god, this one kills me). Writing workshop I’m willing to believe is a rockin’ way to go but I’m not sure how to incorporate it.
So what am I doing about those? Well, my PLC-mate this year (the other 8th grade Language Arts teacher) is a grammar rock star so I’m hopeful I’ll learn a lot from her. I’m also considering a couple of books I’ve heard good things about: Mechanically Inclined and Everyday Editing, both by Jeff Anderson – AND they tie to writing workshop, which would also be good! Portfolios, I’m reading about them online and may also purchase Power and Portfolios (recommended by a few people I respect). The grading one….yeah, that one messes with me. I’m kind of hoping it’ll become less of an issue (maybe?) after I figure out how to really do writing workshop – I’ve got Nancie Atwell’s In the Middle which I’ve skimmed, but I’m more excited about Katie Wood Ray’s Study Driven. I’ve started it and I love it so far, so I look forward to getting further into it.
Are there other areas in which I could get better instructionally? Heck yeah. But I feel like four goals is enough for the moment.
Anyone have any other suggestions for how I can improve in those particular areas? Thoughts, suggestions, anything would be helpful!
(Photo credit to idomusic2)