Although I have very few regrets about my internship, there are things that I think I missed. When you are interning, there is only so many hours in a day to do what you need to do and somethings get put on the back burner. This is a list of things that I want to accomplish more of as my career continues.
1. Multi Grade Science. One of the things I am passionate about in education is finding solutions to the disconnect between science 10 and the more specific areas in grade 11 (biology, chemistry, physics). Talking to my students in grade 10, I realized that many of them, even when proficient in science 10, couldn’t tell me the differences between chemistry, physics and biology. Many students had difficult times picking classes because they are unaware of what those classes are about and what they have to offer. I think it would be very beneficial if senior science students were able to do physics, chemistry and biology demonstrations for junior science students, to help give them a taste of what we do in each of the areas.
2. Metacognition. Looking back, I wish I would of simply done more of this. This was one area that my principal asked me to work on as a developing teacher. The times that I specifically worked on this, as a professional target, I saw it help my students understanding of the big ideas. I want to ask my students more questions about their learning, and I want to become more proficient at what questions I can ask, to have them reflect on what they learned. I want to explore more strategies for doing this as the only ones I really used where questioning, pair share and exit slips.
3. Twitter. As a future professional in the education world, I use twitter as a platform to learn about new education ideas, that I might not learn about in my university classes. It is great to connect to other educators who are passionate about what I am passionate about. Twitter can do this same thing for students. Twitter can give students an amazing communication tool to learn about things outside and inside the classroom. Another thing that I would like to do is live tweeting during lessons. I wouldn’t mind seeing students pick out the important points of the lesson and documenting them using a class hashtag.
4. Current Science. On the same lines of using twitter in the classroom, in the future I want to have my students use technology to study more current events in science. My ideal setting would be an online space where students were able to post links to articles and journals that they have read online, and give them the opportunity to comment and discuss these things on an online platform. As great as traditional science skills are, I believe that knowing how to stay current in the world of science and technology will help any student in their future, regardless of what path they take in life.
5. Sporting Events. I would like to use the excuse that I was too busy to go to my students sporting events, but it would be just that, just an excuse, and not a very good one. When students know that you care about them, you have an immediate upper hand in the classroom. They then come willing to learn and participate because they trust you.
6. Special Days. I felt a real pressure during my internship to move along in the content, so I went at a pace that was a balance between covering as much content as I could, while ensuring that my students could handle it. One thing that I had heard about, was teachers who would cover an outcome or a part of the curriculum on a specific day of the week. I have heard of a science 10 teacher doing “Weather Wednesdays” and a math teacher who did “Game Fridays” to cover the content in the math curriculum that asks students to study the logic and strategies in different games. I saw first hand, when I was using other strategies how important a brain break is for your students. It refreshes them and gives them some energy to keep moving forward. What I also like about these days is that you can take a break from what you are doing at that time and still cover curriculum that has to be covered eventually.
7. Creating. One of my favorite things about the accessibility of learning due to the nature of technology is that our students are able to create more. One of my favorite projects I did with my classes is the POE fair. Doing this gave my students the opportunity to explore some simple experiments with difficult concepts. They then had to be able to turn around and explain that concept to a science student in grade 9 or ten that did not have the same background knowledge. For me, creating does not mean that they need to be able to come up with a brand new experiment (I couldn’t even do that), it means that they need to be able to creatively present the information, expand on the experiment or make a scientific connection. This fair opened my eyes to the learning that can happen when students are given the responsibility to create something. This is an approach that I want to take advantage of more.
These are big ideas, and most of them will take some considerable planning and a lot more thought. But they are things that I am really passionate about doing in my life as a teacher.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any ideas to help me with these things that I think I missed!