Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Reflective Teacher is...

What does a #reflectiveteacher look like? 

Think about a tree's beginnings. It starts out as a little sapling and over the years given a lot of care attention, warm sun and water, and nutrients in the form of advise, mentoring, helpful hints, guidance, and training by other accomplished teachers and colleagues. Of course, the young tree experiences some storms along the way that buffer it about and test its strength, resolve and durability but these difficult moments help the tree to grow stronger for the future. Over time the tree develops a good base, is well rooted and successfully weathers those same storms which before were difficult and potentially harmful. It is now branched out, and has developing into a beautifully full tree, reaching up towards the sky but all fully extending its branches outward, providing share and comfort for many.

As #reflectiveteachers, we need to be more like this tree. We need to both get AND give those strengthening foundations to both new and re-entering teachers of the profession with mentoring, guiding and supportive PLNs. To me, it is both in the receiving and giving of support to each other as educators that we develop those deep roots that keep us weathering the changes over time and keep up teaching. We also need to keep reaching outwards and upwards as educators, reaching for the sky and strengthening our teaching. This is done through both opportunities in school and others outside of the building. And there are many! Teacher can attend or present at workshops, participate in state and local organizations that can affect the future of education, find or start a PLN or website that deals with an area of interest to connect with other teachers, start a professional reading group at get the idea. Find a way to be a leader or get involved outside of your classroom.

Moving upwards and outwards opens new doors and new connections for us all. These moments and opportunities help us to deepen our involvement in the profession, allow us to help others and gain new insights into our teaching, helping us to strengthen and deepen our belief and commitment to education and students. 

How will you reach outward and outward as we close out the school year and enter the summer? There are lots of opportunities out there for the taking!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A reflective teacher is...

What is a #reflectiveteacher? I think about this question often. And with my foray into amateur photography I decided that I would put the two together. So enjoy a random thought here of what a reflectiveteacher looks like coupled with a pic of a recent walk in the woods of northern Illinois.

So many times this question comes up in life. I hear it around me and even from myself. And the semantics of the comment can be spun in a positive or negative way. There are negative ways of looking at the question such as: "Why am I doing this? I have so many other things to do. I don't have time. It's such a waste of time. I am not getting anything out of it." and on and on and on.  Here, the negative focus overrides and conveys that the output will not equal the input. 

A reflective teacher views the comment in a positive way. He or she tends to think in an inquiring and investigative way, looking at it from a different point of view. He or she thinks: "Why am I doing this? How is it benefiting me? How is this helping me to grow personally or professionally?" They search to find the reason why they are doing what they do, and look internally to do so, instead of finding external reasons to stop moving forward.

Are you are #reflectiveteacher ?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ready or not, here I come!

It's almost here! Next weekend I participate in an Ignite Session about the benefits of blogging. The official title of my 5 minute session is "Firing Up the Reflection Process through Blogging Challenges". This past week I have been very busy finishing up my PowerPoint slides and working on what I need to say as each slide is timed at either 15 or 30 seconds. You would not believe how hard it is to fit in everything that I need to say about blogging challenges into 5 minutes! 

Nevertheless, it has been a great synthesizing activity for me to sift through all my thoughts. Some questions I ask myself are:

  • What is the most important thing I want to tell people about blog challenges? 
  • How can I convey my excitement about blogging challenges to the audience?
  • What graphic best captures my ideas on how to set up a blogging challenge?
  • Have I said enough to fill the time on the slide?

So, it's off I go to Wisconsin next Saturday. Doing this Ignite Session is something new for me, and although talking in front of large groups of people does start my heart racing, I will be carrying around all of the good vibes from the wonderful teachers I have met in the #reflectiveteacher community <3 I am grateful for this new challenge and I know that I will grow lots from the experience and connect with some pretty exciting educators!

More practice this week and wish me luck!