Thursday, March 20, 2014

Do You Practice What You Preach?

Recently in a Pinnacle meeting we were challenged to think about our top five educational beliefs and whether they are evident in our teaching. At first, I was really dreading this type of reflection, but after a restful, stress free weekend filled with some very special family time, my mind began drift back to the task at hand. What are my beliefs about education? Do I practice what I preach or put my money where my mouth is? Well here is what I have come up with in no particular order...

First of all, I believe that every child that I teach can succeed. It is my duty as a teacher to provide the necessary tools that each of my students will need in order to reach their full potential and I do my best. Providing a learner centered environment where children know that they are loved, safe and free to take risks in learning is my goal. Our classroom is our "home away from home" so every single thing I do from setting up the room, classroom management and organization, lesson planning and implementation, providing encouragement, positive discipline, team building, entertainment and of course creating many happy memories is extremely important to me. One example is our classroom economy. Students earn money throughout the week for completing assignments, classroom jobs, and following our classroom behavior plan. Each Friday is pay day and students may choose to save their money (math manipulative money) for a larger purchase or spend it at our classroom store. After many years of using this type of management system, I have found that students take ownership in their behavior while learning some important life lessons about economics and making successful decisions.

Next, I strive to instill the love of learning in each of my students.  As their teacher I will help to facilitate my student’s pursuit for knowledge and help them gain the communication skills, problem solving skills, and critical thinking skills which will help them to be life-long learners. This is one of the reasons that I wanted to be part of  Gaston County's  Pinnacle Program. Having all of the iPads, lap tops and a Mac Book to use in my classroom is absolutely AWESOME, but using them to effectively integrate technology is the key. Once again, students are able to take ownership in their learning. They are able to discover and use their imaginations to create, collaborate, and share their ideas with the world! That gets them hooked and the possibilities are endless! My hope is that the excitement continues after they leave my classroom.

Number three is that I believe in the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Or at least the parents, teacher, and school staff working as a team. Without this, it is pretty difficult to do anything else. I believe in open communication and I want my parents to feel free to contact me when or if they have questions or concerns. We all know that the parent is their child's first teacher so their thoughts and opinions do matter to me. I have been using the Bucket Filler program in my classroom as well as our school wide Rachel's Challenge Initiative to encourage positive relationships and character building. I want my students to find success academically, but I also want to instill characteristics such as respect, honesty, empathy, and responsibility which will help them become positive members of society. This is something that I cannot do alone.


I believe in Professional Learning Communities! I know that I would not make it without the support of my PLC! We meet several times a week to collaborate and share ideas, plans, data, successes, failures and quite a few laughs! I am very fortunate to work with some pretty wonderful teachers who have become trusted friends. I value their opinions, advice, and the infinite wisdom and support they provide.

 Last but definitely not least, I believe school and learning should be FUN! And here is proof...


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