What a year… As the academic year winds down I have time to reflect on how much I failed this year.  But I have learned some interesting things about education and myself through these failures.

The first lesson:  Teaching is really about the relationships we build.  By teaching from an office over a codec system 100 percent of the time has reinforced how important personal interaction is.  For the students and the teachers.  And it is not just the connections we develop during the class; it is the daily vibe of school.  The interactions between class, lunchroom banter, and the questions before and after school.

I was unprepared for the drastic change in the environment of my classroom.  Trying to remember names, understanding strengths and weakness, and interacting with students to understand their personality.  I failed.  I have a few ideas for next year that I will try to use to create a better personal connection with the students.  Because, at the heart of learning, is the relationship between student, teacher, and the subject matter.

The second lesson: Technology is not a separate component to learning.  It is not a bonus feature to bring into the classroom and use because it is cool.  I failed in the use of technology this year.  Part of my teaching responsibilities is the TECHS course that ESU 10 has developed over the last seven years.  Since the class is centered on teaching all aspects of technology I thought I had to use technology everyday.  Which isn’t my personality (lesson three).  So, I saturated the class with technology instead of using the best tool for the lesson.

The third lesson: Teaching is an art.  I know that there are strategies that support an effective classroom, but I think those strategies work because they support a teacher’s personality. For the TECHS class, I used everything that was in place from last year (I did add some lessons but I used the timeline, test, and other assignments that were already set up unchanged). And I failed.  It was like trying to dance with another person’s shoes on.  Hard to find your groove.

Ironically, Mr. Stritt told me how each year the class changed, lessons were moved, new ideas added.  But I tried not to change it, to follow the great lessons that ESU 10 had built.  But it wasn’t mine.  It didn’t fit my personality.  Which connects back to lesson one; learning is a relationship between students, teachers, and the subject matter.

The fourth lesson: Failure can be a good thing.  I have learned a lot this past year.  Would I do it again? Maybe not, there were some hard times for me.  But to have the opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of education was worth it.  I am excited to see what I do with my failures next year.  I hope I can write a success blog next year.

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