Monday, 28 July 2014

Tomorrow I'll Be A Better Teacher

As a relatively new teacher still (just about to start my third year), I make mistakes every single day... and lots of them! Yet one of the things you'll often hear me say is "Tomorrow I will be a better teacher".

Each day you walk into your classroom you are opening up yourself to the possibility of learning something new.  In the past two years of teaching, I have grown as a teacher ten fold and pushed myself beyond what I knew I was capable of as a teacher. I am constantly being a risk-taker in my classroom and it is something I hope I instil in my students as well. In my classroom, it is okay to fail and make mistakes providing you take away valuable learning from it and apply it to future experiences.

My first year of teaching I taught Grade 1 in a PYP candidate school in Beijing, which was also my first international placement. I had a wonderful Head of Primary who encouraged me to try new things in my classroom and see how they went. Sometimes they worked, other times they didn't - but always I took away valuable insight that could be directly put back into my daily practice. Knowing that I had that freedom and support really pushed me to not be afraid of the unknown in my classroom.

This past year, I was lucky enough to work at a school in Singapore that has grown very dear to my heart. Though some might think that moving to Singapore would be an easy transition, I found the learning curve steep, especially with the high expectations I often placed on myself. I was jumping up to Year 5 (Grade 4) with a 1-to-1 laptop programme in my class in a fully accredited PYP school. Coming from a school in Beijing with limited access to technology, my school in Singapore provided me with unlimited possibilities. Again, I was supported by individuals who knew a tremendous amount about the world of education technology but yet still let me explore,  find my own way and ask questions. I had to really try to find my feet and figure out who I wanted to be as an educator and within our school community.

Now that I am continuing in my second year at the same school and grade, I have the opportunity to improve upon what I executed last year and tweak, change, modify all of the many things I would have done differently. Not having to worry about moving and establishing myself in a new city and country, learning the curriculum, technology equipment and school culture will all me to focus more on just simply teaching and improving at a job that I am very passionate about.

It seems to be the case always that the stumbles in life are where the most meaningful learning occurs and I know this year will be nothing different. I already am excited for the possibilities that lie ahead and the new mistakes I will learn from.

This year I have decided to document some of those good days, mistakes, growth and experiences in and surrounding my classroom in the form of this blog. Reflection is one of the best methods I find for improving my own teaching practice and hope this documented form of reflection will help me continue to better myself for the betterment of my students.  I hope you will learn with me through this blog, share your own thoughts and 'tomorrow be a better teacher'.