If I Went Back to Teaching

10 Mar

I used to think of myself as a pretty good teacher. I still think I did ok, especially with the knowledge I had. Regardless, there are things I would definitely do differently if I were to ever go back. My mindset would be different. I’m not sure I’d be a very popular teacher with other teachers or my administrator, and I’m not sure how long I could get away with teaching this way. It would be fine in some states, but not others. However, these are some things I think I would change about what I did and the way I would abandon things I previously felt very strongly about.

-I would use the framework more than released-test questions
-I would write tests differently
-I would plan more project-based learning
-I would seek ways to authentically include the culture and backgrounds of my students into my classroom
-I would use social media for professional development even more than I did
-I wouldn’t say “that’s too hard for my kids”
-I wouldn’t be afraid to just drop standards from my pacing guide

-I would continue to use and embrace standards-based grading. This, among a few other things along the way, I think I got right.

If I were to do these things, I’m not sure how long I would last. I would be working A LOT harder than I did before, and I would probably no longer hold to the opinion I have always held that I was well-paid for my work…but that’s a whole other blog post.

This is also a pretty short list. The more I learn in grad school, the more I’m sure I’ll re-shape my ideas about teaching and education. I’m processing so much these days. There’s just not enough time in the day for it all.


4 responses to “If I Went Back to Teaching

  1. ken libby

    March 10, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I think everyone in the cohort should do this, at least those who have worked in the classroom before.

    • jalzen

      March 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

      It’s really been good for me to reflect on this. If I spent more time, I’m sure I would add to this list, or at least be more detailed. I don’t expect to go back to the classroom, but if I do, I’ll be happy to have started this thinking process. Your idea is a good one. I think it’s helpful to remember what it was like as a practitioner as we’re learning all of this stuff. Thanks, Ken!

  2. Heather Nellett

    March 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Good for you! I think if you ever did decide to go back you would just need to find the right school. I am trying my best to implement all the items you mentioned, and am encouraged to do so, at my new school. I love this way of thinking and sometimes need reminders so I don’t fall into old habits (which as you mentioned weren’t necessarily awful).

    • jalzen

      March 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Thanks, Heather! Good reminder that schools court teachers sometimes just as much as teachers court jobs at schools.


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