So far I have had a pretty standard science class. In terms of physical space and structure of my classes. Just this past year I got rid of the lecture portion of my class. Kind of a semi-flipped classroom. Basically most days spent on direct instruction through guided worksheets or lab activities. Sometimes I would throw in a 7-10 minute video clip to spice it up. Kind of boring.
Going 1:1 has helped me a lot. We went 1:1 two years ago and I have really become an expert at our LMS platform so that I can work harder not smarter and also engage students more. I think I am definitely moving in the right direction but I’m not there yet.
Right now everything I do is digital. So no physical papers for the most part. Learning the mechanics of this and of teaching the students to work this way efficiently took time. I feel very comfortable with it now and when I start feeling comfortable is when I know it is time to add something new.
Here is what I want for next year: more choice (maybe all choice??), more inquiry, more non-fiction reading, student portfolios/blogs, more exposure to diversity, and flexible seating (probably not until the following school year)
The inquiry and choice are my main focus. As a result of this and the fact that teacher pay sucks I started a TPT store to sell the things that I create. It isn’t going well so far LOL but I have to learn how to promote better. If you are curious check it out here.
Something my team and I have noticed is that students are not prepared for the critical thinking and analysis that is needed for science work. In the state where I teach (Indiana) Biology is a stated tested subject. Our school has been teaching Biology to freshman and our scores are not great and we are having a lot of trouble improving the scores. So my team decided to propose to our administration that we switch the sequence of the science course and teach ICP (integrated chemistry and physics) to all freshman and Biology to all sophomores. This would give us a whole year to teach the necessary science skills. We are implementing this in August and I am pretty much spear heading the whole thing.
Wish me luck and watch how my journey progresses in future blog posts! Thanks for reading 🙂
I just wrapped up my 7th year teaching. I have been through pretty much everything in my content area. My first few years were very chaotic but things have stabilized. My first year was in a low-income suburb teaching 7th grade Earth science. The kids were great or at least would have been if there was any recourse for discipline. But there wasn’t. Unless children were physically fighting they were to remain in the classroom no exceptions. There was no detention or referrals or any kind of administrative discipline. For a first year teacher this made life very difficult. Luckily I had 2 very good teachers that took me under their wing and helped me get through. At the end of that year myself, along with anyone with under 5 years at that school was let go (reduction in force). This was both a curse and a blessing.
Years 2-4 were at an inner city low-income charter school. In those 3 years I taught 6th grade Earth science, 10th grade Chemistry, 9th grade Biology, AP Biology and AP Environmental Science. Along with other non-science courses. At least this school had some discipline. This position had other issues. I could go on and on but I will just say that the amount of extra work required of us was so unreasonable that they would fully admit that there is no human way possible to get everything done but we need to figure it out. Again the students were pretty great for the most part. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them but I felt like they did not really enjoy their time with me.
Those 4 years taught me so much about classroom management and cultural diversity. It truly changed the way that I looked at the world. I am so much more open-minded (and I thought I was pretty open-minded before this). It gave me a real opportunity to look at the world through the eyes of people that are different than I am.
After 3 years at that school and a 3 hour round trip commute every day I felt like I needed to get out. I was beyond burnt out. I was so lucky to land my current job. It was in a ruralish/suburban community about 20 minutes from my house. I was excited but these children were very different from the children I was used to and I was now teaching high school Physics. Something I thought I would never teach! But I needed out of that other school in the worst way.
It was kind of funny because I was teaching students that looked like me but I found that it was difficult for me to relate to them at all. I was far tougher on them than they were used to. But my classroom management was the best it has ever been! I got through that first year and I felt like I was actually able to teach. I was able to reach these students in a way I couldn’t before. But I wouldn’t have been able to without the experiences I have had. The other amazing thing is that I have been teaching the same subjects and grade levels for 3 years in a row. This allowed me to really find myself as a teacher and I love what I have found!
This brings me to all of the changes I want to make next year! I didn’t expect my origin story to take that long so until next time! Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment and let me know how I am doing 🙂