A Winter Wonder Break

So this past week was Mid-Winter recess and instead of the tremendous amount of work I thought I was going to get done, I got some work done and spent the rest of it well, resting. I’m in a good place with the 56.5 million things that seem to need doing, but I think my old nemesis is creeping up on me a bit: realizing the gravity of a situation a bit later than I should. I dunno, maybe that’s healthy and I’m not blowing things out of proportion in my mind, but brain… a little bit more urgency would be nice.

During topics this week we got a chance to talk to a couple of charter school reps, which was interesting and once again brought the job search back to the front burner for me. I’ve continued to figure out what type of teacher I am, but now comes the time to really think about what kind of environment I would thrive in the most as a first year teacher. Considering I was the guy who chose his undergraduate education solely because “it gave me the most financial aid,” this is new territory. More research is necessary and a tiny bit more soul-searching. I know what I value as a teacher and as a individual in the professional world, but of the things I value, what do I value the most and the least (and, y’know, everything in between. The plan is to rank them here, just wanted to make that clear).

This week we read Chapter 4 of Wiggins and McTighe’s “Understanding by Design.” The chapter was about how to understand… understanding. By unpacking a word we use so interchangeably with almost every sort of knowledge acquisition by students, it made sense to really pry at the different types of understanding and how they are different to and play along with each other. A big part of understanding (and what most separates it from knowledge) is the ability to take what you know and use it in the right situations and to defend your viewpoint. The biggest and most difficult part of understanding was self-knowledge, which is understanding how we understand (quite meta). Understanding how you understand means that as a student, you know what habits and behaviors work best for you and as a teacher, knowing how your students make meaning lout of facts means that your curriculum drives them in that positive direction.

With that, I bring you yet another delightfully relevant image from “Surviving the World.” Check out his stuff, it’s quite good.

Students obviously create their understand differently depending on their experiences and their comfort levels. It’s something we’ve talked about ever since last summer and in having this week to look over my various requirements, something did click: all the theory and readings I’ve done align with the practices I’ve strived for. The only difference now is that the names of the things I am doing are becoming much clearer. So when I make a certain decision in planning or execution of planning, it now has a clearer name to which I attribute it to rather than saying, “I dunno, it seems like the right way to do it.”

Now, on to the next five weeks and everything that will come with it. The one cool thing is that all the stuff we have been doing in the summer and fall make the portfolio and EdTPA  not as daunting because it turns out, some of it has been done and I just need to add on to it through my analysis and reflection, which I now have quite a bit of experience in. So while it is daunting, some of it has been done, and the stuff that needs doing is clearer than the guidelines make it out to be.

Best of luck to my laptop, my immune system, and my left hamstring (two years post-injury and still giving me trouble).

Bye for now and good luck with everything!

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