New Beginnings

How are your experiences within this course shaping your instruction and you as a teacher?

Class is back in session and the above question is the basis of my blog journey this semester in my “Content Area Literacy” course.   The question seems to be fairly straight forward, yet very open ended– the best type of question really, but the answer is a loaded one.

You see, I can’t answer that question without writing about the program and my graduate school experience in general.  Graduate school came at a very vital time in my life both personally and professionally, and I needed it far more than I realized.  Somewhere between the first day of class and now I have found my voice, my passion, and my confidence.

Not only do I know more theories of education, research methods, and  teaching practices, I now know how to listen to and how to reach my students.  Rather than asking questions and seeking approval, I trust myself to make the decisions that need to be made and to take action within my classroom in order to provide the best education and learning environment for my students. Gone are the days where I wait to be told it’s okay to read a possibly questionable picture book about a black girl who wants to be Peter Pan.  Gone are the days where I’m afraid to discuss poverty because I have homeless students sitting in front of me that don’t have clean underwear or a bed to sleep in.  Gone are the days where I timidly write original lesson plans that go against outdated, unsuccessful teaching methods and my neighbors across the hall. Here are the days where I know what is best for my students and I am not afraid to get the job done.  

These days have arrived because of this program.

I have no doubt that this class will enhance my new found love for instructing my students.  I am excited to learn how to use graphic novels to reach my students in new ways.  I am excited to learn more about teaching content areas through literature in general, and I am also excited about implementing some aspects of gamefication into my classroom.  I’m mostly just excited to learn.  This semester I know that’s one thing I will absolutely get to do.

If I take the mush factor down a notch and look back at the question through the lens of this course ,I must state where I’m at here in the beginning.  Below is a plus/delta or pro/con list of how I feel about my reading instruction.  I am curious to see how it may differ as the semester moves forward.

Strengths:
building reading stamina with my students
establishing a love for reading within my classroom
understanding of characters/character motivation/etc
literary genres and standards (RL.3.whatever)

Difficulties:
non-fiction genres and “reading to learn” standards
teaching parts of words/decoding (blends, cvc, multisyllabic words, etc)
integrating reading into other content areas such as math/science/social studies

My goal for this class is to work on the latter difficulty.  I love read alouds, and I believe that my students enjoy them as well, so I have been trying to integrate more reading into other areas of our curriculum– specifically math.  I have not been able to do so consistently enough for it to be successful, and I hope to change that this semester.

I also hope to build my library of socially just books that will help my students view the world realistically, with compassion and empathy, and with hearts ready for change.

I have high hopes for this course.  All I can say is: bring it on!

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