Reflection is a part of teaching. As the new calendar year begins, I find myself rethinking, reworking, and reorganizing for my students. In response to Margaret Regan’s Edutopia posting Six Steps to Master Teaching: Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, I am dedicating the next several blog entries to these six steps.
Step #1 Understand Your Reasons for Teaching
Regan mentions that many teachers are inspired at a young age as students by some of their own teachers. However, my reason for teaching is much more intricate than solely the influence of a another teacher. I have had a calling to teach, to educate, to lead since I was in the first grade. Neither of my parents were involved in education, nor were my grandparents. Teaching has always been the forefront of my existence. It is not just what I do, teaching is who I am.
There are a few teachers who inspired me during my years as a student. Mostly, I was influenced by teachers who were excited and passionate about teaching. The most influential teacher was my sophomore English teacher. She taught me how to think independently, and that skill made a world of difference in my life.
English language arts and reading were obvious choices for me as subject areas because I enjoyed literature in school. My best grades were in English. Ironically, I was not a good reader, but I loved books; therefore, I wanted to know why I had problems reading, which led to my minor at Stephen F. Austin State University. The confidence in good grades and the passion for literature led to my avenue for teaching English/language arts. However, I take greater pride in teaching students than teaching my subject area.
I challenge each teacher to reflect to the early years and name that teacher who inspired and/or influenced the teacher in the mirror. What are the qualities that this teacher portrayed that made all the difference?