California Educator

August / September 2018

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Page 28 of 71

Why I love teaching FARRELL: Teaching can be messy, emotional, exhausting and frustrating. It is also filled with the greatest joys. The fact that teaching is a never-end- ing adventure is why I love my job every day. GARDINER: I love science. I love building stuff and finding out why and how. I love seeing students figure something out — seeing the joy, pride and excitement when a student builds something in our Innovation Labs and it works. OXHORN: I get to be there for firsts! I get to celebrate with students as they learn foundational skills that they will carry for a lifetime. Knowing I have a direct impact on my students and the betterment of our future is a gift I don't take for granted. McDANIEL: I live for the moments where you can see the transfer of knowledge manifest within the glow of a child's eyes. The central motivation of all teachers should be the growth and development of students in our care. If you don't love them, you cannot reach them. If they don't love you, they can- not learn. BROWN: It's the students — seeing them improve over the course of the year, take on a challenge, find their voices. I especially love hearing from former students. Managing class- rooms and students OXHORN: Teaching involves looking at the whole child because students all have varying backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses and interests. When teachers develop relationships with students, they build the foundation for a classroom where students feel successful and teachers can fuel their passion for learning. FARRELL: Mutual respect between a student and a teacher will go a very long way in reframing a challenging student. If that student feels valued, they will move mountains. When work- ing with students on a wide range of levels, fellow students can offer some of the best insight and clues to help their peers. Some of my best "tricks" have been taught to me by a student. BROWN: I recommend Mental Health First Aid training. It provides a protocol for dealing with students in distress, and I found it ver y empowering. Gaining skills, honing expertise GARDINER: Build and maintain strong collaborations with colleagues. Ask questions. Accept support. Offer support. Plan your day, your week, your month. When you have a thor- ough plan (activities, assessments, lesson plans, group management, etc.) that shows you where your students need to be, you are prepared to sup- port student learning despite what emergency may arise. Keep learning. Attend classes and professional development seminars, and create teacher learning groups on-site to up your teaching chops. McDANIEL: Try, try and try. As a professional educator, I have failed more times than I have succeeded. However, once I find a successful strategy, I use it everywhere I can. The secret to being a great teacher is to never stop trying. Go to professional conferences in your field. There is always something to learn and a new colleague to meet. BROWN: Join subject-specific networks like NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) so you have access to articles that help you stay up-to-date with related teaching " Keep learning. Attend classes and professional development seminars, and create teacher learning groups on-site to up your teaching chops." —Gregory Gardiner approaches. Also, my greatest resource is my colleagues, both on campus and those I collaborate with online. Building bonds with colleagues BROWN: Invite colleagues into your classroom so they can give you feed- back and share ideas. An open-door policy shows you want to improve your craft and builds trust — a great foundation for creating meaningful friendships at work. Being able to brainstorm approaches to a challeng- ing situation or reflect on lessons with colleagues has helped me become a better teacher. OXHORN: It is crucial that routine collaboration with colleagues occurs — it reinforces that we are all part of a community that continues to do what is best for kids. The opportunity to discuss new ideas and learn from one another is an important factor in build- ing relationships. 27 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 018

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