In my efforts to become a more reflective educator, I’ve been trying to figure out how I succeeded, how I have failed, and more importantly, why. I intended to write one of these blog posts at the end of the school year, but that’s something I failed to do (is that irony?!). I’d actually meant to share this a month ago, but.. <insert excuses here>.
Although the school year is off to a busy start, I’m making a point of reflecting, so below are my summer successes & failures:
- teaching as an adjunct: I have been wanting to teach in higher education for a little while now since I knew it would ensure I am up-to-date on the best practices in my field, and it would give me an opportunity to reach more students, albeit indirectly. I got the chance to teach a graduate level “School-Based Speech Language Pathology” course this summer, and I would say it was a success because I survived (and so did they!). My overall sense from students during the course was that I assigned “too much work,” and while I empathize with this sentiment, it’s a lot of work to be a school-based speech language pathologist, and this was a summer intensive course, so I can live with any negative feedback about the workload. Why I see this opportunity as a success is because I could clearly see how much knowledge each of my students demonstrated and gained throughout their varied projects and assessments. I was so proud & impressed with each one of them (so it sounds to me like that much work paid off)!
- taking an online course: It was interesting and humbling to be on the student side of things once again. I took a course in Word Finding with Dr. Diane German, who literally wrote the book on word retrieval. She taught me a lot about the subject matter (about which I will get to provide an in-service or two at my school), but she taught me just as much about how to be an effective instructor: she gave thoughtful comments, was reasonable without being a pushover, and she gave diverse resources (e.g. readings and videos).
- Google Level 2 Certification: I applied to take this back in February, but due to some glitch, I never got my confirmation. After a few unanswered complaint emails, I finally heard back and had a week to complete it…and I succeeded! As an instructor, I was impressed by the range of questions and applications of skills the exam required. I thought it was fair, and dare I say fun?
- writing guest blogs: Success! Read them here.
- writing a technology curriculum: Success! I had the privilege of writing the middle school technology curriculum for my school. It was an interesting balance of content knowledge (e.g. What are the parts of a computer?) and skills knowledge (e.g. update a terrible Google Slides presentation to make it more effective), along with a sizeable Digital Citizenship component.
In typical Growth Mindset form, I consider all of these failures to be learning opportunities. While it was important for me to understand why I didn’t succeed at the tasks outlined below, I’m using these as motivators to keep trying…
- writing a book proposal: I failed…and I have no excuses, except for all fo the activities listed below. I have a very clear idea of what I would like my next book to be about, but without clear deadlines, I have not finished writing up my proposal. Therefore, I have now set myself several deadlines in order to complete this task in a more timely fashion.
- Google Certified Trainer application: I probably could have gotten my materials in on time, but then I noticed that they would be changing the application criteria for the next quarter, and all I would need was my Level 2 Certification. Although I had passed each subject area exam back when that was the route to becoming a Google Educator, I thought it would make more sense to wait another quarter and apply thereafter. Now, I’m excited to apply for the new Google Certified Trainer program. Stay tuned!
- going to the gym regularly: Complete fail! I should have known– the less regular my schedule, the more difficult it is for me to stick to a reliable workout schedule. In the summer, I tend to walk and bike a lot, but given the heat, I kind of failed at that, too. Can I blame climate change? Maybe. Regardless, my solution to this problem is similar to the book proposal one– now that the school year has started, I both have a more regular schedule, and have my gym times in my calendar, so I’m more likely to actually go!
- planning for the school year: Complete failure! I will use the excuse of, “Well, there will be some new students, so I don’t quite know what to plan for,” but in all honesty, after the busy summer I had, I knew I would be able to use the two week professional development and preparation time that we get at my school before the students arrive. Plus, I have a new speech language pathologist to work alongside, and our planning sessions have been so fruitful. Two brains are definitely better than one!
I hope to reflect on my school year in December when my goals include: successfully teaching an undergraduate course, using a SMARTBoard effectively in the language therapy classroom, and continuing to present in dynamic ways at national conferences.