New Year, New Adventure


I just completed my second week of our new school year! This is my sixth year of teaching, and this year is a little different from previous years. At this point last year, I had already chased a student at a full sprint around our large school building, gotten punched in the head for putting a Toy Story toy in a locker, and back-stepped a student multiple times to ‘remind’ him that we don’t leave the bathroom with our pants undone in high school. Public places are much more strict than students’ homes, and the transition can be confusing! Although the class has fewer behavioral ‘crises’ and high speed chases, it is still apparent that this year will be another adventure. 

This is an evaluation year and I am embarking on a journey to improve my performance in the elusive 4th Domain. If you are familiar with Charlotte Danielson’s framework for teaching, you know of the formidability I am referring to. Domain 4 has been responsible for keeping many a teacher in the proficient category rather than excellent. Domain 4 has caused educators to coach, volunteer, chaperone, present, attend, supervise, mentor, counsel, direct, assist, manage, sponsor, chair, build, support, compose, guide, produce, rinse, repeat. Domain 4 incorporates the professional responsibilities of an educator, including reflecting on teaching, maintaining accurate records, communicating with families, participating in the professional community, growing and developing professionally, and showing professionalism. 

Anyone who teaches special education knows that maintaining accurate records, growing and developing professionally, and communicating with parents are key to staying afloat as a special educator. Showing professionalism is occasionally a struggle, since we have to manage behaviors and fluids that other professionals in our building do not have to manage. It can be difficult to get motivated to get dressed up to spend half of the morning cleaning up fluids that are wet, warm, and do not belong to you. Nevertheless, dressing as a professional seems like a no-brainer to me in order to maintain the respect of my coworkers. 

A major part of Domain 4 that I know I must improve upon is the reflection on teaching portion.  In previous years, I have been busy forming a human wall to prevent a student from injuring herself. In previous years, I have been called repeatedly to less structured classes (lunch in the cafeteria, physical education, etc.) to calm students in mid-meltdown or pluck them out of the pool. In previous years, I have spent an incredible amount of time creating a classroom environment and structuring activities to maximize student engagement and minimize student misbehavior. I have been BUSY and formal self-reflection has fallen through the cracks. In my first few years of teaching, I spent heaps of time focusing on the planning and teaching part of teaching.

Now, with the benefit of experience and sodden with wisdom, I am ready to tackle my reflection.

{I tried to find a picture of a football player getting ready to tackle while looking in the mirror, but Google images doesn’t have everything. It would have been so perfect!}

That came out wrong…

I’m ready to blog!


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