Mr. McClung's World
I chose to review Mr. McClungs first year teaching as well as his fourth year. Even though his perspective changes between the two teaching years he withholds one common lesson for his readers. Keep your teaching student centered. Make sure they are actually retaining the information you are spouting at them, rather than just fumble through your lecture and go home. This is in my opinion the biggest pitfall of being a teacher. Especially when you are being reviewed by a superior, we tend to focus on the stand in versus paying attention to the students. I also know a lot of teachers who don't care about their students, because frankly they get paid regardless.
With his first year McClung talks about flexibility and how we all have our certain way of conveying our lessons. In our heads, we create perfect scenarios and have every part of the conversation planned out in advance. I've seen it occur in a classroom that if a student makes a point that isn't on the professor's agenda for the day, it gets overlooked. Many times I hear, "That isn't what we are talking about today", when it a serious topic related to the class. We cannot be this narrow-minded in our teaching. As educators we must open ourselves to new topics, and if we can roll with the punches it will better us in the long run. Education in this century needs diversity, and thus it needs diverse thinkers.
In his fourth year of teaching he discusses how we get complacent with our curriculum, and therefore we begin to lose our sense of creativity. Our Child-like wonder fades and we forget how to have fun with the subject, as Dr. Randy Pausch would say. As a Color Guard instructor, I can definitely relate to this. In fact, i have now been teaching for four years now. As an instructor my job is to create the routines in which the kids perform. After four years, I have begun to notice that I have my own signature style of spinning the flag, rifle or sabre. There are certain maneuvers that if I am writing routines on the fly, I will, "copy and paste", them and move on. While this makes my life easier, it severely limits my own talents as well as my students. Especially in our sport, creativity is a huge part of the teaching process and a lack thereof results in serious deduction in your score. In a classroom, if the professor lacks that creative luster, the entire semester is a waste of time for everyone involved. If our students aren't learning from us, then they are not growing. And if they are not growing then neither are we. Stagnation is the worst form or laziness; if we strive to progress rather than stagnate we will provide a better education for the future. We can breed broader minds and logic!