My first reaction to today’s goal at the 30 Goals Challenge was; ” there are SO many aspects and ways to look at learning, where do I begin”?
Tweeting with Lisa Dabbs today gave me the “handle” I needed – mentoring! She has a lovely post on it. I’d like to highlight a different aspect which is what the MENTOR learns from mentoring.
I had the experience of mentoring a brand new teacher, straight out of college, who at the same time also became my colleague, teaching the same pupils I do (we teach in the format of a learning center. I teach full time and she teaches part time in addition to my hours).
I’ve been teaching for 25 years yet I found I was learning a great deal from the experience. First of all, because she repeatedly asked “WHY?”. I had set into motion all kinds of ways of doing things, some of which I had been doing so long that I no longer remembered why I had decided to do them in this particular way. Suddenly I had to reexamine everything! Sometimes it was tiring, but it was always useful. Some strategies or practices I realized that I felt good about them because now I remembered why they were planned just so. Others turned out to be “dusty” and were tweaked or even replaced.
Of course, as a talented young teacher, she came with suggestions of her own which have enriched my teaching!
But the thing I thank her most for is helping me to continue THINKING about what I am doing and why!
Goal 2 of the #30 Goals project was an easy one because I had just done something before reading the challenge! I believe the following qualifies for this goal!
As I have mentioned before, we’re working on the poem “The Road Not Taken”. Besides all kinds of written tasks the pupils have to do, they are supposed to be assessed on something creative related to the poem. In the past most of the pupils chose to create a PowerPoint slideshow. It’s a comfortable medium for many of the pupils, and of course. very visual.
This year I’ve been fortunate enough (I siezed an opportunity!) to work with a teacher of Sign Language. This teacher also knows American Sign Language. So, this year was the first time that the opportunity to present the poem in ASL was made available. Two pupils that came from mainstreamed classrooms and don’t sign are learning to present it in Israeli Sign Language.
However, that’s not the latest development. I have one hard of hearing pupil who isn’t interested in Sign Language and communicates very well without it (utilizes his cochlear implant well!) He has a problematic home life and hardly gets any academic work done at home and would never get a PowerPoint Presentation done. Fortunately, he works with a retired volunteer once a week whom he adores. The volunteer is an enthusiastic American who’s been showing him “the rythm” of the poem. So, this pupil’s presentation will be to recite the poem in spoken English with some intonation and attention to rhyming! I’ve never ever done that with a pupil in my class!
Only downside is that now another pupil wants to do that and she doesn’t spend time with the volunteer…
Just joined the #30 Goals Challenge! What a refreshing idea!
As a special ed. teacher, by definition all my students study English in my self-contained class (as opposed to a regular class) because they have problems, either academically, emotionally, or have more than one handicap (in addition to the hearing loss). English as a foreign language is a very hard subject for them as a “default” situation.
So, since basically all of my students can be defined as ” struggling” , I decided to give some extra TLC to “A GOOD GIRL”! Every now and then I catch myself and realize that the few pupils who come in, work nicely on their own (I teach in the format of a learning center) organize everything, hand in their work on time without being reminded, don’t always get enough attention! I’m often too busy with the pupil who won’t start working until I sit next to him for a few minutes to get him started or with the girl who deals badly with any frustration and needs frequent reasuurance. The volunteer will be asked to sit with the hyperactive boy. And so the list of “blow-ups to be prevented” goes on…
Today I made an extra special effort to spend time with a girl from 10th grade who really is on those “good girls!” I also told other teachers about how she learned the poem “The Road Not Taken” in American Sign Language for her lit. project so that they could compliment her when they meet her.
Wonder what tomorrow’s goal will be!