Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Say Yes!

This is the first year of my teaching career (including my student teaching) that I have not coached a sport.  This is the first of 10 years that I get to focus solely on my classroom.  I was so excited that I could finally get to all the things I never had time to do.

You know what??  I still don't have any time.

I've had this post planned since August.  It is now November.  I created a previous post about what two things teachers can do to improve their teaching and have a better classroom experience.

1. Reflect

2. Say YES!

I talked about reflection here, and said that the second part of this "Say YES" was coming soon.

Well, "soon" is just going to have to be a few months later than planned.

In my interview for the current job I have, I was asked the typical question "what are some of your weaknesses?"

And I answered with the typical response, "I have a hard time saying no.  I want to do everything and then get overwhelmed with all my irons in the fire."  (Starting to understand why this post took months to finish...)

So, why do I believe that saying YES will help improve your teaching experience?

Because as teachers need to be saying YES to the right things.

Do you want to participate in this conference made up of middle school social studies teachers?  YES

Are you willing to videotape some of your best lessons to create a database to help give other teachers ideas?  Scary, but YES

Will you share that test you created using primary source documents, analysis questions, and writing?  YES

Teachers HAVE to be willing to collaborate with other educators.  And not just any educators.  Work with other teachers who....

  1. Teach the same subject and age you do:  This is so important.  I can collaborate with the high school social studies teachers some, but it is mostly to make sure I am instructing the things students should know before coming to high school.  I can't really use those teachers ideas, nor do I want them using mine.  I want to work with teachers who teach the SAME THING I do so I can beg, borrow, and steal their ideas!  (Giving due credit of course...)  On the other side of that I am always willing to share what I do in the classroom with any other teacher.  
  2. Collaborate with the GOOD ones!  Don't hitch your wagon to a team of drunk horses...or something like that.  Find a teacher who is doing it right.  Who has good ideas and is willing to share.  Hanging out with good teachers will make you a better teacher!
How about this one...

Are you willing to take on a student teacher?  YES!!!

Wait one minute, Mrs. Weber, are you telling me that I should take on a student teacher during a time when state assessment scores are so important and I am being judged on how my students preform?  


I should let some newbie take over my classroom, let go of the reigns and just watch him or her flounder for 8-16 weeks?  

YES!  Help them, guide them, let the flounder some, but not drown.  Teach them. 

Here's my reasoning.  

We don't just need teachers...  

We need GOOD teachers.

The best way to get good teachers is to have the "newbies" trained by GOOD teachers.  

So good teachers need to be willing to share their talents with other people besides their students.  Take a few weeks out of your year and teach someone else to be a good teacher.  This will help create a better classroom experience for more teachers and students.  Creating a ripple effect of greatness!  

I still struggle with taking on too much, and saying "yes" to more than I can handle, but I am working on trying to say "yes" to the right things.  Things that will continue to help make me a better teacher and improve my classroom experience.