Mr. McClung writes about his first year as an educator in his blog post What I've Learned This Year 08-09. This post is a must read for any future educator. Mr. McClung explains many important aspects of teaching. While teaching in Noel, Missouri as an elementary school teacher, he expains that he has "grown and matured" in many ways. He learned to read the crowd, be flexible, communicate, be reasonable, not be afraid of technology, listen to students, and never stop learning.
First, he explains that, as a teacher, one should be sure that the students are comprehending the information that is being taught. An educator should not focus on what his or her superiors see how the students are being taught, but if the students are getting it and learning the information. Second, Mr. McClung explains that one's plan will change and that it will not be perfect and instead of dwelling on that he or she should accept it and "work with it." This is a great point to make. I will have to work on this when I begin teaching and even now. I am a perfectionist when it comes to presenting something. When I mess up or go off track I tend to reprimand myself and get lost.
Mr. McClung also explains that being reasonable in the classroom is important. He uses goals to describe this classroom aspect. He points out that teachers should not become "upset" if a student does not meet a goal that has been set for them. I believe that there should be expectations in the classroom, but I also believe that those expectations should not be to high. We should set a bar for students, but not push them to acheive it. We should lead them and hope they will excell with our help. He continues to explain that technology is everywhere and that educators should not be afraid of it, but accept it and learn to use it without getting discouraged. This EDM310 class is providing me with numerous new tools that will help me with this particular aspect of the 21st century classroom. I intend to use technology in my classroom and I expect that my students will know even more than me and they will teach me new things.
I find his discussion on listening to students very important. As I said above, I want the relationship between me and my students to be a good one. I want to be a part of their lives, because I will spend most of my time during the day with them and vice versa. Finally, Mr. McClung reflects on the fact that a person should never stop learning. This is a great topic to discuss because this world is changing every second and new learning materials are becoming available. As an educator we have to learn. Since the technology is changing, we will have to learn all about that. So why not just keep the mind open and pour every ounce of information in?
What I've Learned This Year 2011-2012
Mr. McClung has continued his What I've Learned This Year blogs every year since the 2008 school year. The most recent post, I've Learned This Year Volume 4, by Mr. McClung focuses on only two lessons that he says he learned at his current job in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He first explains how he began to focus on how he was viewed by his peers. He continues to point out that he has done well as an educator, not because of the views of his peers, but because he has cared so much about his students. He says that his number one rule is to focus on his students. I applaud him for this stance, because it makes tha most sense. An educator should focus on how they are teaching their students in a way that his or her students are having fun and actually retaining the information. Eduators are there, not to be at the whim of their peers, but they are solely responsible for their students learning path and education.
His second lesson he learned was that one needs to be challenged. He explains that he was losing his normal ferver in the classroom because he was becoming comfortable using old lesson plans. He points out that he was not being challenged and that would therefore mean that his students were not being challenged. I believe that students need to be challenged in the classroom, because this will further there cognitive development and their education. They need to push themselves to succeed, but their teachers need to be right there with them and lead them. I hope that my classroom will have an atmosphere that will allow my students to enjoy where they are and what they are doing.