Monday, October 20, 2014

What I do as a teacher

The assignment: Create a list of everything that I do as a teacher. Then, from that list, pick what I believe to be the most important things and think of how I can get better at them. For the purposes of this list, I am going to use my experience as a homeschooling parent and as a teacher at a homeschool cooperative. Much of this list will also apply to what I do as a private voice teacher, but my approach when teaching voice is a little different from other subjects.

My list:

  • Identify learning objectives & goals
  • Create lessons to support the objectives.  These lessons might include reading assignments, hands-on activities, experiments, field trips, discussion, etc.
  • Teach those lessons
  • Set learning pace and adjust as necessary
  • Listen - to questions (even the unspoken ones)
  • Take advantage of teachable moments
  • Find resources
  • Set expectations and hold students accountable
  • Keep students engaged and interested
  • Provide a springboard for further exploration (in and out of the classroom)
  • Pay attention to student needs and differences
  • Communicate with parents
  • Assess students - informally and formally
  • Administrative paperwork
  • Be flexible
  • Maintain order in the classroom
  • Give everyone a chance -- to be heard, do the activity, etc.
  • Buy supplies and learning materials
  • Be a resource for other teachers at my co-op
First, let me start by saying that sitting down and thinking about everything that I do is hard! I'm sure I'm missing a ton of stuff. This are what I came up with after 5 - 10 minutes of brainstorming.  

The items in purple are what I believe to be the most important things on this list. The latter five support my ability to be a good teacher. Some days, these bullets are easy. Other days, when I'm in a hurry, or I'm tired (for example), I lose some of my flexibility or my ability to just take a second and listen to what my students or daughter are saying or asking. These are the days that I need to do better -- just because I'm having a bad day doesn't mean they need to have a bad day too.

When I teach voice, I normally don't have a problem with this. I get in "the zone" and work with my students. In the home and co-op classroom settings, I need to learn how to get into the zone.  It's a different dynamic and the subjects are continually changing so to a certain extent the routine does as well. Figuring out what the zone looks like so i can get there more easily is the first step in being more consistent with the above bullets.

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