Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blog Assignment #9

Mr. Joe McClung
What I've Learned This Year (2008-2009)
After his first year of teaching in Noel, Missouri, Mr. McClung reflects on the seven main subjects he learned throughout the year. These subjects are:
  • How to read the crowd;
  • Be flexible;
  • Communicate;
  • Be reasonable;
  • Don't be afraid of technology;
  • Listen to your students; and
  • Never stop learning.
There are many teachers I had in high school who should really read this blog.

How to Read the Crowd
Mr. McClung discusses how he became so focused on his superior's views of his lesson plan, he lost touch with his students and their comprehension of his lesson. My past teachers played out this issue in their classrooms. They had become so out-of-tune with there students and focus more on their superiors' views of their lesson and it's content, than on the students' view. We would sit in class, completely lostin the lesson, and the teacher either: 1) never noticed we were confused, or 2) they eventually noticed but could not figure out where we had gotten lost. As Mr. McClung states, they become less student-centered and "miss the most important spect of teaching, and that is checking for student comprehension." As a future teacher, I need to make my students the center of my lesson plans. I want my students to walk into class and never have to experience the feeling of helpless confusion.

Be Flexible
Mr. McClung felt like he was being too controling and would let imperfections, that occured when "performing" his lesson plans, bother him immensly. Students AND teachers are not perfect. As a future teacher, I must be flexible. Every day is different. Every student is different. A cookie-cutter, "perfect" lesson plan will not be plausible. Mishaps will happen and I must be able to roll with it.

Mr. McClung covers the most obvious, yet most difficult topic. Communication is necessary in the work place. It can resolve drama and build teacher rapport. I will keep in touch with my fellow teachers because they can be a great source of ideas and problem solvers.

Be Reasonable
Teachers tend to have expectations for their students. Sometimes these expectations are so high, it is difficult for a student to meet them. When the student fails to meet the expectation, we become upset instead of encouraging. I believe having certain expectations for my students is good. It encourages them to succeed. However, I must pay attention to how high or low my expectations are. If majority of my students meet my expectations, I know it is a good level and I can possible increase it much later. For those who struggle, I will not give up, I will encourage them to keep striving to meet the expectation.

Don't Be Afraid of Technology
"Technology is our friend and is essential to living in our microwave society of today." Current teachers are afraid of the advances in technology. Future teachers need to embrace it now and being more open to learning new software, new technology, new anything. As a future teacher, I need to be open to technology.

Listen To Your Students
Students tend to feel like no one is listening to them. They feel like their teachers, parents, older adults, and sometimes their peers ignore what they say or deem their opinions as inadequate. I must listen to my students. If I listen to them, they are more likely to listen to me.

Never Stop Learning
"It's never too late to change your way of thinking, learning, or style." This statement should be absorbed and followed by everyone, future educator or not. As a future teacher, I must keep learning, keep adapting, and keep changing. My students year after year will change. This will be due to the changes in society, social interactions, and technology.

I believe once I start teaching, I will most likely confront similar problems Mr. McClung faced. However, I have the ability to keep learning from other teacher's experiences to help adjust to my first-year students.

What I've Learned This Year- Volume 4(2011-2012)
After his fourth year of teaching-third year in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Mr. Joe McClung reflected on two parts of his teaching. These are: You Gotta Dance With Who You Came To The Dance With and Challenge Yourself.

You Gotta Dance With Who You Came To The Dance With
Surprisingly, the first topic he covers in this post is kind of similar to the first topic he covered in his first year of teaching. Instead of worrying about what his superiors thought of him, he worried about what his peers thought of him as an educator. He stated, "It took me most of the school year before I was ever able to cope with need that I felt to please my peers." He allowed this to bother him most of the year. At the end of the year, he stated, "Upon further reflection I have decided that I can’t try to change who I am as a teacher based on the perception of my peers and that I need to stay true to what has gotten me this far." What had gotten him this far was his focus on "making sure that [his] students are taken care of and enjoying class".
I believe my (future) students should be my primary focus. They should be the focus in my lesson plans and in my lecture.

Challenge Yourself
Mr. McClung reflected on his past year and realized he was starting to get into a routine. "I began to depend on old lesson plans and my creativity started to slowly vanish." He learned, when a teacher gets comfortable with their lesson, they "get lazy and ultimately [their] lessons will start to suck", and their students stop enjoying class. Thankfully, he will be teaching a new subject area the upcoming year. As for other teachers, and myself as a future teacher, we must constantly challenge ourselves. We must keep ourselves from getting into a rut, a routine. We must keep our students' interest.
Lessons Learned


  1. Thorough, Thoughtful, Well Done! Nominated for post of the week.

  2. Hi Jessica,
    I couldn't agree more that we must keep our students interested. They will mimic our behavior. We must be passionate about what we are teaching in order for them to be passionate about what they are learning. Great Post!