Written by: Tiffany Carter
Passion is both powerful and compelling. My passion for teaching children fuels my intrinsic motivation. It is my intrinsic motivation that drives me to engage more deeply with everything! This deep engagement combined with constant self-reflection gives me confidence to be creative and take risks. It is important to remember that you must nourish your passion if you want to go from novice to expert in any field, especially in education.
That is why I decided to start this blog, to nourish my passion and to motivate others to do the same! Someone whom I respect suggested I start a blog to share my instructional experiences, the tech tools I experiment with, and how it all relates to my content. I currently journal for self-reflection, but I have never considered blogging. After all, why would anyone want to read my blog? So then I thought, why not? I am passionate, excited, and willing to be vulnerable.
While I am only in the beginning stages of becoming the educator I would like to be, I am nourishing my passion which WILL take me from novice to expert. And it can also drive you if you let it. It is never easy to make yourself uncomfortable, to try something new, or to put yourself in a position to fail. In my experience, that is what education is all about. Isn’t education learning after all anyway? It is important to be passionate about being a life-long learner. I hope that through blogging, I can inspire someone to take that risk, to try something new, or to just jump back in another day when they feel burnt out. If sharing my failures, nut job ideas, and fun days in the classroom can help someone stay passionate about being a life-long learner then I’m saying, “Whoop Whoop!” I know reflecting on these experiences and being open to the feedback from everyone is what encourages me as a life-long learner myself.
So let’s get started.
From Novice to Expert: 10 Tips from Tiffany
1. Professional Development
Acquire the skills and knowledge you need for personal and career advancement. Make time so that professional development becomes a routine. Developing a professional learning network is key to staying a life-long learner.
2. Willingness to change, adapt, and grow
Have the mindset to always grow. When you are not open to changing, adapting, and growing you are only stunting your personal and professional growth.
3. Being a reflective practitioner
It is incredibly important to constantly reflect on your teaching practices. While there is plenty of instructional strategies, new ideas, and tech tools to implement in the classroom, it is important to reflect on the effectiveness of your teaching strategies and the implementation of those new ideas. The important thing is to evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.
4. Positive attitude (excitement)
Don’t be a “negaholic” or let “negaholics” kill your excitement and positive attitude toward teaching. Remember why you became a teacher in the first place, the love of kids and the passion to educate! Never forget this, and stay excited about it! How wonderful to have a positive attitude, even in the midst of obstacles.
5. Take risks
Don’t play it safe. Yes, you know what lessons work and what it takes to have your classroom run efficiently. However, how exciting to let go of that control and try new ideas. Be creative and willing to try that something that may not work out. Think outside of the box and don’t lose your creativity!
6. Use the feedback (data and student voice)
When being reflective, it is important to base those reflections on the data from your students as well as their opinions. Listen to what your students are saying works for them in the classroom. Use your assessments as a way to evaluate the effectiveness of your instructional methods.
7. Support (both in victories and failures)
Simply put, to become an expert you need support from others. Co-workers, students, and administration. We all need each other, that is why school culture is so important. Remember to support others in their victories and also their failures. Passion can be killed without nourishment and support.
8. Try the trends
There are constantly new trends in education, especially with technology. Try it out! Say yes, instead of no. I have heard so many times teachers say they were just biding time until the next trend came along. Don’t get stuck in that rut. Try the trend, then see for yourself if it works in your classroom or not.
It is important to have strong leadership in order to become an expert. You need clear direction, someone who will help you reach your professional goals, and someone to provide the feedback you need to become successful.
Of course you need passion! On the days your emotions are getting the best of you, you have to remember emotions are not truth. Emotions change, truth does not. Listen to the truth… your passion. The truth is you love children, challenges, and the joy in seeing others succeed. The truth is you can become an expert and you want to be excellent. The truth is you can do it! The truth is, you ARE doing it! 🙂