Friday, February 27, 2015

EDUC 509: Self-Assessment

I wrote this reflection for my Master's course, having been asked to identify which stage of teacher development I am currently in and what growth options appeal to me:

“When teachers in Track II reach some form of closure with their professional development plan, they and their supervisor build a new plan and establish a new time line" (Danielson). And there you have it—the essence of growth as a teacher is continuous growth as a learner. Being enrolled in this Master’s program has been a tremendous professional renaissance for me. In my 4th full year of teaching in 2012-2013, I was struggling with what I can only assume was some kind of “senior-itis”, burned out on my work and feeling that it was time for some kind of a change (the curse of growing up in an educational system that treats every 4th year as a milestone of sorts). And change came in large quantities in 2013 as I got engaged, then married, and also started my graduate work. What I now realize is that I need to be proactive in my continual growth—complacency is the enemy of good teaching, as it will eventually rot into stagnation. As the end of my Master’s program draws nearer, I have begun to wonder what will come next. On the one hand, I will be happy with what I accomplished; on the other hand, I will be sorry to not have the next course to look forward to. I’m already feeling this, a year before I’ll finish up. On this count, chapter 9 encouraged me, as it affirmed that I am indeed now a “track II” teacher, and that ongoing learning is not merely a possibility, but a necessity.

Time flies. In my mind, I’m still a newbie. My first years of teaching do not feel all that distant, and they are not, really. Yet, I’m clearly in a different stage now than I was when I started, and even than I was two years ago. I’m thinking about aspects of my career and my school context that I wouldn’t have considered two years ago, and I’m thinking about these things on a much deeper level than I would have back then. This is because I’m no longer an inexperienced teacher. This is my 6th full year of teaching; my 5th teaching my current course-load and my 7th in the CAJ community. At graduation in June, when the teachers file into the gym according to years of service, I’ll be somewhere in the middle. I’m a track II teacher. It was my entrance into the Master’s program that initiated this rite of passage. The moment I took initiative for my ongoing growth and development was the moment when my professional identity came of age.

With this new stage of professional life comes new responsibilities, not the least of which is ensuring that I continue to grow in my ability to effectively teach my students. One day, I will pursue a doctorate in education—the question is not ‘if’, but ‘when’. I may pursue another Master’s course to enhance my knowledge of my subject areas, provided I can find a good distance learning program that will allow me to continue to teach at the same time. Then, of course, the options listed in chapter 9 provided a rich trove for me to choose from. Through PLCs, I’ve had the opportunity to engage in curriculum development, work that I relish in. I’ve participated in several book-studies, which is always enjoyable. Yet the rest of these options are ones that I have not yet explored formally: action research, instructional strategies implementation, peer consultation/coaching, professional growth portfolios. I’m not sure what I will choose to pursue after I finish my Master’s—perhaps some combination of action research and peer consultation/coaching, as this would be a structured way for me to keep actively learning and would provide me with others to learn alongside.

Two years ago, the future of my professional career seemed uncertain. I had no idea what lay ahead of me or if I even wanted to continue teaching. Today, I still cannot say for sure what my future holds, but I am secure in the knowledge that teaching will be a part of that future, and with it, ongoing learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment