This has been a rough week so far. With each week, I am adding on subjects, and although I love having more to teach, it is exhausting to write all of the lesson plans and do all the prep required. The hardest part is that all my plans are being looked at and assessed by someone else, so there isn’t as much freedom to do things the way I would like all the time. It gets easier the more I work at it, but I am definitely tired and looking forward to when I have my own class and planning process. I had a sub again this week for one morning, and again I loved it. I am blessed with the best when it comes to my mentoring teacher, but because of how wonderful she is, I sometimes become intimidated. I get nervous and trip over things that should be a piece of pie now. With subs, it is easier to feel like I am in control of everything and since they aren’t assessing me, I don’t tend to worry as much. I am trying to be better about reminding myself that my mentor was once in the same position as me, and that is helping.
This week, the main important thing I have done so far was give my students a survey about me. This was extremely difficult for me to do. If you know me, you know that I sometimes struggle to open myself up to feedback or criticism. I think that as human beings, we are all somewhat hesitant to allow ourselves to hear what we are doing wrong. I was literally trembling as I passed out the survey to them, because the fear of rejection was so strong. Before letting them start the survey, I made sure to emphasize how important their feedback is to me. Some of my 5th graders think they’re the next Kevin Hart, and try to always be funny, but for something like this, I really needed their thought out and sincere answers.
I was surprised to see how reflective the students were about our time together so far. There was not one survey in which I was marked at the highest level for every single category. Although this might sound bad, for me it shows that they took their time and meant what they were writing. One thing I have been thinking about lately is how there is truly always room to grow, no matter age or how long we have been doing something. Some of the feedback I received was that my students would like it if I projected my voice more during lessons, if I let more of my emotion show when I was having a good or bad time, and if I would use a few more examples during my lessons.
ALL of these are extremely useful feedback for a teacher. It was all easy fixes that would improve my lessons and help my students’ learning process. I also had a spot where they put things that they enjoyed about me/hope I continue doing; and I was very happy to find that my students feel that I am kind and care about their lives outside of school, that they enjoy the emotion I use when I am reading aloud to them, and that they feel I am flexible in whatever ways are necessary to make my lesson the best it can be.
I was so afraid for this type of reflection to happen, and it ended up being one of the most useful things I have come across in teaching. I am now planning on doing another survey before I leave my placement, so that I can hopefully see the areas I grew in and get some last minute feedback about what I can work on before getting my own classroom. I encourage you to take some time to reflect on whatever it is you have been working on. As I mentioned, I am finding there is always room to grow, and it is a great thing to become aware of!