As I reflect on my first semester teaching a new class called Instructional Services and Support for high school students in grades 9-12 I feel like the students are achieving beyond my expectations for this class and the goals I had in mind. It is no longer about the goals I thought would be needed, but driven by my students and their learning goals. I love that it is about “we” as we move forward in the classroom. As we begin to move towards second semester, I thought I needed to reflect on the class, changes I would make and how this class can grow and improve in the future.
I know that this semester has been a little scattered, and we are always moving in a different direction every class period and that is what technology careers are like. Preparing the students to be able to problem solve, figure out issues for themselves and think at a high level are the important soft skills that we know they need to be able to be College and Career ready for the future. Even with the chaos of laptop rollouts, learning how to blog, creating screencasts, trying to juggle a Google 20% project and learn new tools for iPads and Macbooks our class has achieved some great goals.
When you read the student blogs you hear that they have developed a real “family” atmosphere in the class and support the goals and uniqueness of each student in the classroom. As one of our new students told us of his experience in our class and how he was nervous about joining the class, I was moved to tears when he said how amazed he was to walk in to see everyone happy and smiling to come to class, the support and collaboration happening among teachers and students and the ability to drive their own learning. I had a tear in my eye when my whole class stood up and applauded his presentation. I saw the power in how our class is a family who embraces each individual in the class for who they are and sees the positive impact they are creating.
I guess after being in education for over 15 years, this experience allowed me to reflect on why I became an educator. It is not about the accomplishments of how great I taught the lesson, but the impact I can have on student success. Allowing my students to believe in themselves, strive toward their own goals, and learn the content through projects that are self-directed by the needs of our school and the students own learning. I believe that the social and emotional learning is preparing the students to be successful with the content. This reminded me that even when I think my lessons are not perfectly on track my students are excited to come to class, enjoy working together, are driven to do the work and want to be successful. They are in charge of their own learning in the classroom, and when you give students a goal and support them on their journey you see them soar and become successful.
I want to thank my students for their patience and support as we move our classroom to the next level!! We are ready for the second semester.