My greatest growth during student teaching: This would have to be my confidence. Going into student teaching, and especially the months prior, I was extremely nervous. I was fretting about what I would wear, what the students would think of me, how my lessons would go….I had even gotten to the point of stressing about my feet smelling bad. (Yes, I was really anxious). But once I started teaching, let go of my insecurities, and focused on my positives, I realized that I really did know what I was doing and I really could do this.
My greatest professional challenge: This would definitely be learning Standards-Based Grading. Heading into my second placement, I had no idea what SBG meant or even stood for. I had to not only learn the grading system, but also accept it. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the grading system in both the middle school and the community. There were parents who weren’t educated on how it worked; there were parents dead set against it. There were even teachers who didn’t advocate for it, and my greatest challenge has been navigating through that, learning how to assess students, and implementing the grading system for my own assignments and projects.
At first I was hesitant about SBG, and if I’m being honest, I still am. There are aspects I don’t agree with–for example the late work policy, or the re-do opportunities–however, I love how SBG has challenged me, as a teacher, to generate individualized feedback and teach to every single student. I have been more personal with my students in grading. I have learned what they truly know and therefore been able to help them succeed through re-teaching. I could tell you what specific standards my students excel at and what ones they struggle with–and that in itself speaks for SBG and it’s benefits.
Though I am not a 100% advocate, I have learned to accept and implement the grading system. This has challenged me and allowed me to be, in my opinion, a better teacher. And I am thankful for that opportunity.
My future plans/goals: As I complete my final weeks of student teaching, I think the one area that I still struggle with the most is behavior management. I feel that there’s a fine line between being a teacher whose classes students enjoy, and the tough teacher that no one respects. I want to skate on that line between fun and firm without losing out on either of the positives.
To help me with this, I plan on pursuing some classes or professional development in the area of behavior management. I think it’s important for me to learn how to be a successful teacher that demands respect, but still has an engaging, social classroom.
There are hundreds of resources online as well as workshops, classes, and webinars. Even with a busy schedule, this is something that I can do and I’m excited to keep bettering myself and my future students.