Mr. McClung's Reflection Posts
Mr. Joe McClung is a fairly new teacher who has only been teaching for four years. After his first year of teaching in Noel, Missouri, he decided that he would write a blog post reflecting on his adventures, accomplishments, and learnings.
At The Teacher's Desk - What I've Learned This Year (2008-09)
The first post I read was from Mr. McClung's very first year of teaching in Noel, Missouri. He shared all that he learned from his first year. He explained how we should read our crowd, and that we shouldn't have the mindset that it is all about the teacher. If we are so worried about what our administrators will think, we will lose touch with the audience that we are trying to relay our lesson to. We should lead a student-centered classroom where the most important aspect of teaching shines through: checking for student comprehension. He says that "in order to be effective, you have to be willing to let your audience drive your instruction."
We have to learn to be flexible. Teachers like to have 'perfect' lessons planned, but only seldom does perfection result because the lesson we teach and the one we plan are always going to be different. We can't control what is going to happen in our classroom to alter our lesson plans, but we can control how we handle the changes. We have to learn to not let the lack of perfection bother us and to just go with the flow, no matter how hard that may be.
Mr. McClung tells us that we need to be reasonable. Our students are not going to reach every goal that we have made for them, but we can't beat them up for it. We need to always be encouraging and to give them support so that they won't be afraid to answer questions or come to us for guidance.
We don't need to be afraid of technology, but rather embrace it. Mr. McClung says that technology is essential to living in our "microwave" society of today. We shouldn't become overwhelmed with it and want to give up all at once. It takes time to master, but once we do, it will be well worth the headache that we went through. The last advice that he gave us was to never stop learning. We should always want to get better and grow as professional educators.
I really learned a lot from Mr. McClung's first blog post. I only hope that I can come away with that much knowledge and understanding after only my first year of teaching. I know that the first couple of years are going to be challenging and I am going to want to give up numerous times, but Mr. McClung has helped remind me that I will not be in this alone and that the price will be well worth it when my students leave my class well prepared for what lies ahead of them in the future.
At The Teacher's Desk - What I've Learned This Year (2010-2011)
The second post I read was a reflection of Mr. McClung's third year of teaching. There were a lot of firsts for him this year. It was his first year to teach at the same school for more than a year, he experienced being a head coach, coached cross-country, and taught computer applications. All of these firsts led to many valuable experiences that he was able to learn from.
He says that we should know who our boss is. We shouldn't worry too much about trying to please everyone on a daily basis because it becomes very easy to get wrapped up in what people think of us. This one is hard for me because I have always been a people pleaser; I hate for anyone to be upset with me. If we try to please everyone, the people that matter the most will get left out, our students. Mr. McClung also states that we need to leave behind what is going on in our professional and personal lives in order to give our students our complete attention and the education experience that they deserve.
We shouldn't expect others to be as excited about change as we are, and we can't be afraid to be an outsider. Sometimes being optimistic can create barriers in the teaching profession because some teachers don't like change and therefore, are not willing to give new ideas a chance. Mr. McClung tells us that we cannot let others down our excitement and joy that we get from teaching or anything else in life. You can't let others steer you away from what you enjoy about teaching; never let your light burn out. He also says that in order to stay true to ourselves and to not fall in line with the rest of the crowd, we cannot be afraid of being called an outsider. It's better, and more beneficial to be an outsider and to focus on our students rather than seeking approval from other teachers.
The last thing that Mr. McClung left us with is to not get comfortable. He says that our biggest fear as teachers should be becoming comfortable. In order to not become too comfortable as the years pass by and we gain teaching experience, we need to alter our lesson plans and how we teach. We should add new things into our agenda that we've never done or taught before. We should always want to keep moving our professional careers forward and to be active in education, willing to be 'movers and shakers' and ready for the changes needed in our schools.
Not only does Mr. McClung offer great advice about teaching, he also gives advice about life in general. We have to be willing to put everything else in our lives aside when we are in our classrooms teaching our students because they should always be our number one priority. Mr. McClung has made me even more eager to start teaching so that I can start sharing advice with future educators after me, and to begin to have an impact in students' lives.