Reflection on Growth

How I’ve Grown So Far…

Throughout this intensive year, I have been taking on challenges and fully immersed in a teaching experience that has allowed me to experience immense growth both personally and professionally. The following excerpt from my teaching journal shows how I was feeling in the beginning of the year:

Yesterday was…my first time teaching in a real class on my own. I pretty much thought I totally blew it afterwards because both of my lessons went terribly and I could tell that the students knew I was totally flopping. […] One of the biggest things I am beginning to understand is how much planning goes into every detail of a lesson, even ones that seem very relaxed and free flowing. Teachers who seem to “fly by the seat of their pants” are actually making tons of decisions, calculations, and strategic moves based on their experiences and knowledge of their students. This is something I need to work on for sure.

In the beginning of the year, I certainly felt a bit like I was barely treading water in this vast, deep ocean of teaching. I learned the hard way that the more prepared you are for a lesson, the better your lesson will go, but I learned the even harder lesson that sometimes even if you plan for everything, you still might encounter a roadblock or problem that gets in your way. My confidence in myself was low, and I really did not feel too sure of myself as a leader in the classroom. As time went on, and I began to have better and better experiences in the classroom, I began to feel more like a “real teacher.” My journal entry at the end of the Fall semester sums this feeling up:

The biggest difference that I’ve noticed is that I feel SO much more comfortable up in front of the class than I did at the beginning of the school year. I still get nervous before I am about to do a lesson, but I feel more comfortable when I give directions and address the class as a whole. I also feel much more comfortable interacting with the students in general, and I feel as if I have developed many good teacher-student relationships. Lesson planning has gotten easier as well, now that I know more about my students and about scaffolding and planning in general…

Ultimately, I am still making progress on this journey as a brand new teacher, but every day, I feel more and more sure of myself. I know that progress is not linear, and that one day I may feel less confident than the next—or one day I might make incredible progress with one class only to have another class regress completely. I have seen many successes with both the 8th grade and the 10th grade, and I have also had to work incredibly hard to maintain these successes. Even as we are making our way to the end of the year, I am constantly working to keep up with the growth that I have made individually and that my students and I have experienced together. But our journey is not over yet, and I know that I will always keep learning and growing on my path as an English teacher.