Teacher-Writers as Bloggers: Teacher Leadership? – Responsibility on a Moral Level
Throughout the span of my participation in this graduate program, I have made many personal and professional changes regarding my views on teaching reading and writing. I have not been out of school very long, 5 1/2 years, but many things I have learned are different and make so much sense. I am not sure if it is because I attended a teaching college that had a specific way of getting college students ready to be in the classroom, or being a different state (MD), or having been just before the influence of Common Core, but I feel as if I have learned so much more than I had already known. I was ready to teach, but I have opened myself up to grow and learn more to develop into a more ready teacher. Because of this, I believe that is the point that has hit so close to home for me in this program. My students already know so much. When they come to me in kindergarten, I need to be ready to teach them so they are nurtured at their level, but understand that all levels (based on testing and screening) are levels ready for growth and exploration in reading and writing.
I have encountered some difficulty with time and logistics for teaching every student at each level they are ready at, the gaps can be very wide from one student to another. Nevertheless, I have pushed forward. It is my responsibly to meet the needs of all students. As I was reading The Lorax, a couple of weeks ago to my class, I felt a spark inside of me as their teacher. I am there voice, like the Lorax was for the trees. I need to help them, because there may be a time when they will not get the help the need. In the end, I am a teacher to teach students and encourage them to do well with what they can do. It is not my purpose to put them down, focus on what the can not do. or stress about where (based on a test) they are not performing and continue to teach the least appropriate methods, only because that is what may be enforced by the state.
Ways I have taking responsibility in my class to focus on what is the right way to reach children has been to allow students to develop skills naturally. I want to refer to my blog post from February 17, I Think We Can, I Think We Can. In this post, I share the sets that I have been climbing with my students with their storytelling. They have been orally sharing stories and taking part in a process to take ownership of their story and then write it as best as they could. With all of their preparatory work ,as well as the many opportunities they have to share and hear their peers’ stories they are becoming very prepared to write their story on paper. The process has steps, but is different for all students. Some need to stay on one step longer and ending results so a variety of ability. In a part of this post, I spotlight Zachary, a student who if someone sat down with and did not know would not think much of. However, I know this child. I know the hard work he has put in to his kindergarten year and I know how much he has grown. I honestly did not think he was ready at the beginning of the year to be with the rest of my class, but he is. He was already ready to read and to write, the way he knew how. He needed and still needs encouragement for sure, but I have learned that allowing him to work at his pace has been positive and fruitful. He is the happiest student in my class and he is always eager to work. I believe the responsibility I have taken to nurture all of my students and not just push them through the tasks given to me on a pacing guide is responsible for this outcome.