Saturday, June 15, 2013

Monitoring Back in the Classroom

I think that monitoring has taught me a lot this semester. Scratch that, I know it has. Joining the student success department involved a fairly steep learning curve. I have learned a lot about what a monitor does, how it can impact students, how the process of getting a student identified might go, how the ILC works...the list goes on. But I am ready to get back into the classroom.

On one hand, I learned a lot of valuable things that I can take back to my classroom as part of my overall perspective of student. On the other hand, I got into high school teaching because I loved teaching and still wanted to be intellectually stimulated. Funny that we don't generally associate emotion with intelligence (let me tell you, it was impossible not to at least feel emotionally attached to the stories I heard).

Here are some of the things that I think will be a lasting impression on me as a classroom teacher:

1. There is almost always more to the story behind a student's absences and/or lateness and/or late/missing assignments. It can range from school engagement to issues at home and beyond - but there is often something there and as a classroom teacher we have to remember this and be willing to investigate further (or at least seek out the resources that can do this and inform teachers).

2. It is possible to monitor a student and support them academically without removing them from their "less important classes" (I refused to pull a student some tech or gym - I do not see a benefit to making engagement more difficult).

3. I had the chance to be working and taking an AQ and diving into professional ideas that I want to bring to my classroom in September (a definite bonus).

4. We need to spend more time in high schools providing learning opportunities for learning skills, test-taking skills, etc if we want our students to become more successful. The sole resource of an academic monitoring teacher cannot do this alone!

5. Our failures are NOT personal. We cannot help everyone, no matter how much we would like to. We can keep them from falling through our cracks, but if the student and/or the guardian are not on board with the plan, it may fail. All we can do is keep trying. Keep supporting. Keep hoping.

I am really looking forward to being able to put my new perspective into the classroom and looking forward to trying new assessment and teaching styles. My most recent inspiration to work toward my flipped classroom comes from the "confession" from Eric Mazur, a Harvard Physics professor. It is an 80 minute video, but if you have an interest in this kind of idea it is worth watching. He started using this Peer Instruction style classroom in 1991!