06 September 2014

September 30 Day Challenge

I came across this 30 day challenge and I decided that being new to blogging, it would be a good idea to help me.   I know that I am a few days late so I decided that I would try to answer Days 1-6 in my first post in as concise a way as possible.  So, here goes:

The first two questions for me are intertwined. One of my goals this year is the undertaking of writing a blog in the hopes of connecting with other educators to share thoughts, ideas, lessons - really anything that could help me be a better teacher.  As far as other areas of technology that I plan to work on this year is integrating the use of Twitter.  I started using it towards the end of last year with my students and I have found some great ways to implement extra credit or to post links to Google Docs or Forms that I have created. A colleague of mine is also working on using Instagram. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!  Maybe I'll get her to start blogging and to take this challenge and she'll share with all of us!

Day 4's question What do you love the most about teaching? is a really difficult one!  There are so many things that I love about teaching itself and so many advantages to the profession in general- namely having time with my family- but if I had to really pinpoint ONE thing, I would say that it is that I get to share something that I am passionate about.  I love everything Italian- the language, the culture, the history, the FOOD, the architecture, the beautiful sights.  I could go on and on. Being a teacher, I have the advantage of having a captive audience! They HAVE to be there and they HAVE to listen! If I just stood on the street and tried to tell as many people as I could how wonderful Italy was, I'm sure I wouldn't have the effect I have on my students.  Actually, people might think I was nuts! Some of my students think I am as well but that's ok- it's a great way to hold their attention! In any case, everyday I am able to share so many aspects about Italy and Italian culture through first-hand accounts, through music, and even cooking.  My students could never accuse me of a lack of passion for what I share with them.  One of the best perks I have is that every other year, I am able to take many of my students on the experience of a lifetime- a trip to Italy! It is on these trips that I get to hear true attempts at communication (and some full length conversations) with locals.  It is on these trips that I get to see my students fall in love with Italy the way I did when I first traveled there.

Day 5's question about my classroom is a difficult one for me this year because I am sharing my room with another teacher and what is lacking is my personal touch and design.  Last year, I was spoiled. I did not share my room at all and I thought I had a great-looking room.  This year, I am working on putting some personal touches but it is difficult, especially since our styles clash.  It is tough when your space is shared but I do think it is important for me to feel "at home" in my room while I'm there so that my students will feel the same, instead of just being in any old room.  I wonder what other teachers who share rooms do and how they feel about it? Ideas?

What does a good mentor "do"?  is Day 6's question.  In my district, we do have a mentor program in place, and while I am currently not a mentor, I do have some ideas of what a good mentor is.  First of all, I believe that it is everyone's job, appointed mentor or not, to help our colleagues.  A good mentor is able to offer constructive criticism and advice.  A good mentor also knows how to listen.  Sometimes, we don't need advice per se but more of a sounding board.  A good mentor shares their knowledge with you - whether it be what forms to fill out for a field trip, which secretary handles what, what school policies are or lessons. For me, the relationship mentor-mentee does not have to be the traditional  veteran teacher-new teacher. Some of my colleagues have been teaching less years than I have been and have offered some very valuable advice and help.  At different times, different teachers have been mentors to me as I hope to have been for others.

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