California Educator

August 2016

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Page 25 of 59

How to take stock of what's working — and what's not By SHERRY POSNICK- GOODWIN Photos by SCOTT BUSCHMAN Dan Fruzzetti teaches while the cellphone in his shirt pocket records the lesson. What kind of teacher are you? One who engages students with interesting lessons that encourage critical thinking? One who does the same old thing because it has worked well in the past? One who does both, depending upon the circumstances? T aking stock of your teaching performance through self-reflection is critical for improving your craft and professional growth. It lets you break from your daily routine to ponder what is working well and what isn't. Ref lection is a huge component of National Board Certification, with participants continuously examining what they are doing and why so they can better meet students' needs. "Kids are so different now, and lessons that engaged them five years ago are not going to engage them today," says Linda Guthrie, an English teacher at omas Starr King Middle School who earned certification. "Every- thing is more technologically advanced, and students expect everything to be instantaneous." But you don't need board certification to be a reflective teacher, says Guthrie. All it takes is time, effort, and the willingness to set ego aside. Ideally, reflection is time spent figuring out what you can do better next time. It's the same thing we tell stu- dents about learning from their experiences. Time is certainly an issue, says Dan Fruzzetti, a math teacher at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon. "Most of us are so maxed out, it's hard to do our regular work, so it's a challenge to fit in the growth work that keeps us evolving," Fruzzetti observes. "But if you don't make time for reflection, you end up using the exact same lesson as last year without revisions." Here, CTA members offer tips on ways to reflect on your pedagogy, teaching style and classroom manage- ment skills during the upcoming school year. 24 F E A T U R E

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