Monday, February 1, 2010

Learning (and Teaching) Styles

When I started teaching in a new district, I knew that there were bound to be big changes. Every school district has their own requirements and expectations which shape the way that teachers and administrators handle their business. The one thing that IS consistent in my experience (and I pray in all teachers' experience) is the consensus that all teachers need to cater to their students' varied learning styles.

Now, I'm more than happy to be in my new district and new position, but there are some changes that I didn't anticipate. In my former district, for example, I wasn't required to turn in lesson plans with the exception of during a formal observation. In my current district, a full weeks lessons are due once a month and our entire lesson plan book (or in my case, binder of lessons) is due at the end of the year.

To be honest, I fully understand the need to determine the caliber of education that is occurring within the schools. But, like in all cases of education, I believe there are multiple ways of accomplishing this.

As a student teacher, I learned something about myself. I am a creative and dynamic teacher...ONLY if I'm attending directly to my students and the direction in which their learning needs to go. I am a talented lesson planner for sure, but if I get a detailed plan in front of me, I will literally follow it to the death with blinders on as to what is actually happening in the classroom. I don't know what it is about that kind of restrictive step-by-step process that renders me incapable, but that's what happens. Instead, if I have a brief outline (and I mean brief!!!) of things that need to be accomplished, I find that I am no longer boxed in by time and exact procedure and the caliber of learning that occurs is exponentially better. I also find that writing out lessons day by day ends up being an insanely large time drain. I feel that it would be more productive to use that time creating things that would actually supplement learning (or resting so that I have the energy to be the most dynamic teacher possible.)

Either way, sometimes I feel like the requirements that we place on ourselves are directly contrary to those that we know happen to be best practice. By that I mean, if teachers are not allowed to plan in the style that best suits them, why are we asked to teach in the way that best reaches our students? I believe that it would truly be best practice to believe in the caliber of teacher hired (and their ability to follow curriculum), assess them sporadically to ensure consistency, and then trust them to do the job that they were hired to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment