Teaching With Intention-Week 2: Defining Beliefs
I’m joining The Kindergarten Smorgasboard and the lovely ladies listed in the picture for week 2 of Debbie Millers’ Teaching with Intention book study. So far I’m loving this book and how it’s encouraging me to really stop and think about my teaching and why I do what I do. If I’m completely honest this is something I really need to give some thought and spend some time narrowing down. I’m lucky enough to be largely left alone in deciding how I want to do things in my room, which is fantastic and I love. But the down side of not having any administrators or team leads at my school with any experience in special education is that no one to really question why I’m doing something the way I am. Which when you have as wide a grade and ability range as you do in special education classrooms it can lead to “Ooh, we’ll try this for now” attitudes. Some things I’ve tried have worked beautifully and they’ve helped to shape how I want things to work in my classroom. Other ideas were junk and I need to focus more energy on identifying why they didn’t work and what to do instead.
The picture I have in my head of what I want for my classroom is for it be the kind of classroom that is structured and organized and helps foster my students independence. I want it be a place where my students feel safe trying new things and are not afraid to fail or make mistakes. I want it organized and accessible for my students so they feel like they are in charge and responsible for the classroom and the materials in it. And I want it be place of transition for them because we are all working towards the goal of successfully transitioning into the regular education classroom.
So I start ESY next week and I feel like I’m going to try and use that time to really think about my beliefs as a teacher and how I make my classroom practices match that. I read the chapter several times and I couldn’t really put into words exactly what the beliefs are that guide my teaching. I know I want my lessons to be hands on, interactive, engaging activities built around my students interest and abilities. But I need to spend some time really defining what that looks like and what I believe the rest of my classroom should look and run like. Debbie talks about taking the last 15 or so minutes of the day and reflecting on what you’ve learned that day. She says to do it for a couple of weeks and then go back and read what you wrote and begin writing your belief statements. I think I’m going to do a little experiment and record my thoughts during ESY and then do it again at the beginning of the year and see what that looks like to help me really define my classroom beliefs.
What’d you take away from Chapter 2?