Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Teach Like Yourself, Part 5

I can't believe it's the last week of our summer book study! Although this book is short, I love how it is set up to make the reader stop to reflect then take action.
Chapter 7 was all about teaching bravely. Goldberg references one of my favorite authors, BrenĂ© Brown. Her work is all about being vulnerable and knowing yourself. As teachers, we need to be courageous and make those connections with our students and colleagues. "True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance." (Brown, 2017)
If we don't teach like ourselves, we often feel like imposters and our students know it! When our instructional decisions don't match our students, they can feel the disconnect. With the influence of social media, it is too easy to fall prey to "I'm not good enough." Although I am in awe of some of these teachers & their gorgeous classrooms on Instagram, I have to keep reminding myself to stay true to myself. I don't have to be like anyone else! Listen HERE or click the image below to We Teach So Hard's episode on Lies We Tell Ourselves: You're an Imposter!
Many years ago, I had a student teacher who was very nervous and always second-guessed herself. She would ask the class, "Would you like to take out your books?"  "Do you want to jump rope for PE?" Ummm. . . you guessed it, no, my class did not want to take out their books or jump rope for PE! She was bewildered as to why they did not follow her directions. She gradually became more assertive, telling the students, "Take out your books" or  "Today we are going to jump rope." She was amazed at how willingly they complied without complaint! She was always very conscientious and wanted to do "everything right".  While teaching reading, she held the giant spiral bound Teacher's Guide in her lap and began to read the scripted lesson. The kids were staring at her because she didn't sound natural and she became flustered. Later, as we conferred, she admitted that the lesson bombed because she didn't feel like herself. She felt very stilted, reading the text.  We decided on the goals and objectives she was hoping to convey in the reading lesson, then discussed how she could implement these goals in a way that felt more natural. In her next lesson, rather than read from the Teacher's Guide, she read a picture book to the class and was prepared with discussion stopping points and open-ended questions. Rather than read a script at the kids, she used strategies like Think-Pair-Share and she got them up and moving, and talking.  By the end of the semester, she had the class engaged and her personality came shining through her teaching!
Teaching bravely means knowing your core beliefs and not straying from them, despite how others are teaching. When I came to a new school (with VERY involved parents who had an opinion on everything), I was the third teacher in my grade level. The other two teachers had been teaching together for over 10 years. They were known and well-loved at the school. They were very comfortable with their three reading groups routine, spelling lists, and grammar work. Even though I was the newbie in the grade level, that just didn't feel right to me. They were gracious and encouraging; letting me know that I did not have to follow what they did, although I was welcome to any of their plans. My students read literature  instead of the basal readers, and we studied spelling patterns and grammar within author studies (now called mentor texts). After a couple of years teaching together, my partner teachers were asking how I was teaching or what books I was using because they overheard students' excitement for learning. Soon, the three of us were planning together and cheering each other on, recommending literature and aligning our curriculum.
This was just the uplifting and empowering book I needed this summer! I hope you enjoyed this study as much as I did. I love that this book followed a non-teaching book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, which focused on women acting in a manner that is true to themselves. It is a MUST READ!  You can read about the book HERE.

Thanks for joining me!

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