Friday, March 22, 2013
Blog Post #9
Mr. McClung's World: Volume 4
Mr. McClung is a teacher who has posted lessons he learned from the year of teaching for the past four years. After his fourth year, Mr. McClung talks about only two themes: “you gotta dance with who you came to the dance with” and “challenge yourself.” In the first of these lessons, he discusses the effects he felt personally when stressing over what his peers thought of his teaching. By the end of the year, he says he has come to realize that this isn’t what he is about. He never before worried about what his peers thought about how he taught his classroom. Instead, one rule has gotten him this far, are the kids having fun? I think this is an incredible rule. I have said it in previous blog posts, but learning must be fun. If we as educators don’t believe this, the students never will. There have been many many classes that I have been FORCED to sit through and be bored out of my mind. I don’t want this to be my classroom. I want my students to love to be there, and enjoy learning and discovering the many things the world has to offer them.
Challenge yourself. Mr. McClung tells us how he became too familiar with the subject and the lesson plans and the teaching method. Eventually, he began to lose his creativity and he says himself, he wasn’t teaching well. However, by challenging himself and changing subjects in the year to come, he had to do a lot more work, but he can ensure the students are having fun and learning as much as possible. As a teacher, it is extremely important to keep variety throughout the years. This will not only help students learn, it will also help the teacher be best at what they do.
Both of these lessons are not only applicable to the classroom, but also to life. In life we don’t need to stress about what everyone else thinks of us. In addition, we constantly need to challenge ourselves. By challenging ourselves in life, we can work hard to learn new lessons, and we can avoid being lazy and lame. If we don’t challenge ourselves, who will?
At the bottom of this blog post there was a link to an "update". Apparently, after his third year at the same school, Mr. McClung was leaving Woodland to be an assistant principal at a new school! Many congratulations!
Mr. McClung’s World: Volume 2
After this blog post, I chose to read Mr. McClung’s “What I Learned This Year” post from the 09-10 school year. The first lesson he talks about here is adapting. He talks about how he had to teach a completely new subject (that he was uncomfortable with) to a new grade. I really enjoyed reading how through a little research and work he was able to make even history interesting and relevant. History has always been my least favorite subject, and honestly, I dread having to teach it one day. However, this gave me a little hope that through a little hard work, I will be able to make every subject enjoyable for my students. I also found it interesting that the last sentence of this section, “The lesson to learn from here is to never get too comfortable, change is good and ultimately it makes us better teachers,” is mimicked in his most recent post about challenging yourself.
His second lesson is something that I truly take to heart. All my life as a student, I have been taught by multiple teachers that only one answer and one opinion is right, theirs. I hate that! Not everything in life has one answer. I had one teacher in particular who would ask a question of “In your opinion….” and magically, my “opinion” would be wrong if it wasn’t what we had discussed in class. That is precisely the teacher I don’t want to become. Like Mr. McClung said, “I want my students to be independent thinkers and to only lean on me when they feel like they have hit a barrier.”
All of his lessons throughout this blog are extremely helpful in my opinion. I have never thought about having a “school mom” before and hadn’t thought about the possibility of becoming a control freak in my classroom. However, of the remaining lessons, “Don’t Lose Sight of What’s Important” really stuck out to me. His story about the “grown-ups” he worked with really reminded me of my last job. At the daycare where I worked, the other adults simply acted like middle schoolers. They would bicker and argue over petty things and talk about what you were doing behind your back and flat out lie to get you in trouble. Often times, it was extremely hard to focus on the children and ensure they were having fun and discovering new things because you were so infuriated at the teacher next door. So, I learned a lot from this blog post about what kind of teacher I want to be and how to accomplish it.
All in all, I really enjoyed Mr. McClung’s lessons and feel I have learned a lot that I will remember and reread before starting my first teaching job. I also plan on reading the rest of his posts to learn more lessons to help me in my future classroom.