The school year is fast approaching, I am getting really excited to try out the different things I have learned over the summer. I have been reading books by a number of teacher authors and plan to read more and incorporate their ideas into my lessons. To work their teachings in my day. Looking at 180 Days by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle, A Novel Approach by Kate Roberts, Sparks in the Dark by Travis Crowder and Todd Nesloney, all books full of strategies and ideas to improve my teaching. I am excited to try everything and see what works, what I can use, what I can combine and what I can transform to best fit my teaching style.
I have loved growing as a teacher through my interactions on Twitter but more and more lately I feel like the message I see on Twitter is that teaching and being a great teacher is not enough, that we need to do more. That teaching needs to be fun and entertaining and gamified and dress up and Pintrested and Instagrammed and the more I see that thinking embraced I worry that we are forgetting about the need to have strong pedagogy. I saw a tweet the other day in response to the sea of tweets about how teachers shouldn’t start the year with rules, and expectations but with relationship building and fun. I struggle with the idea that we can’t do both. I have moments where I question if I am just not doing enough, I won’t be dressing up to greet my students, heck I don’t even dress up for Halloween, but my kids love my class (or at least that is what their parents tell me) I won’t be making a game of our full class novels but my students are going to gasp when Johnny dies in Outsiders or when they realize the twists in Refugee. I won’t be transforming my class into an experience beyond one where we read and write and talk as a community.
The other day I asked myself what the message is when teachers are always talking about teaching like… a million different things and then I saw a hashtag by Gravity Goldberg #teachlikeyourself and I decided that is what I need most and that authenticity is what my students need as well.
This year I am going to focus on teaching like me, it has worked pretty well so far.