Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about innovation and what that looks like in a classroom. Initially, when I was invited to attend the ITLL meetings and realized what this acronym stood for, I thought someone must have made a mistake asking me to participate. Why would a teacher like me, who often assigns students to assist with classroom technology, be a good technology leader? It wasn’t until George Curous made the comment “teachers don’t have to be experts at everything” which made me realize that it’s okay to learn from my students. In fact, when I reflect back on my 15 years of teaching , it has most definitely been the experiences with my students that I have been most insightful and taught me more about teaching. My students have taught me that not everybody learns the same way and I have to give them the opportunities to learn the way that benefits them the most. I’ve also learned that developing relationships with my students better helps me identify and understand their needs.
Another question that has really resonated is whether my children or I would want to be in my class? After thinking about this, I reflected on my school experiences and about the kind of teachers that made a positive impact on me as a learner and a person. There are two teachers that I recall influencing my learning, and it was mainly due to how they took genuine interest in connecting with me and encouraged me to strive to achieve my best, which demonstrated their belief in my abilities. These teachers were also innovative and attempted to connect the classroom objectives to real life. In one of the classrooms, I recall learning about community by creating our own classroom town. This was almost 29 years ago, but it’s one of the few classroom experiences I remember enjoying and learning from.
I believe that throughout my career, I have discovered some innovative ways to connect with and teach my students, however, the last few months of professional development, collaboration and reflection has encouraged me to view things from a different perspective. It has also made me think about what type of classroom experiences I would want for my own children. Overall, I want them to be excited to learn, engaged in their learning and empowered to voice their opinions and ask questions. I look forward to learning and implementing new and innovative ideas to move myself and students forward.
Literacy Support Teacher