To improve as a teacher, one must reflect upon their progress, plan for future instruction, and adapt standards that are uniform across classes while allowing for the diverse needs of each student (P1). I have and will continue to do this in my teaching practice (E1).
It is interesting to think about teaching as a practice. It is never something that is perfected – it is practiced. Like medicine or an instrument it must be a continual activity where the practitioner improves and changes over time.
At the beginning of the summer, I made very general comments about lesson plans as I reflected on my past experience in the classroom. I stated, “At a basic level, lesson plans are a guide for the class. Lesson plans help to prepare for and to teach a class. A clear plan will help students understand the purpose, learning goals, and content.” I still stand by what I said.
However, over the past several weeks I have rethought my perspective on lesson plans. They are much more than a basic plan. They are a source for organization. I have been a pile-maker and not a file-maker. My organization has been sufficient.
I want to make my organization efficient. Using standards, I can do that. I am in the process of moving all my work to an excel database that tracks standards across lessons and student achievement.
This emerging competence in a standards based approach will bring more organization and actualized student achievement to my classroom.
In summary, my teacher should become more organized and efficient. For example, I will be able to track progress over time and use the same learning standard with a variety of lessons over multiple years. This will make me both a more dynamic teacher and a more reliable teacher. In researching the standards I found that they are both malleable and specific in Theatre Arts.
This will allow creativity and reliability in my teaching. Students will also see the difference. They will see an appropriate, level based challenge in each lesson (O2). Their student voice should also increase. I formerly had few published or aligned standards in my lessons. They were vague and impersonal, e.g. “we are working on creating a character today.” Now, they will be formatted in a way that reaches out to the student and allows them to track their progress. I will also be able to update a student electronically; by pointing them to my website, which will have posted lessons, students will be able to both catch up on missed material, reference old lessons, and pre-view upcoming lessons.
Including the excel database in my organization is an essential cornerstone to this change in my approach to teaching (P4). The database will serve as an internal source of student progress (P3) as well as a potential output of data that students can reflect on. The data will directly reference their progress on standards and students will have the opportunity to combine the quantitative assessment of the data with a personal meta-cognition qualitative assessment of their progress. Both aspects will benefit the effectiveness of my teaching and the experience of every student.