As the new school year begins, my mind is flooded with all of the things I want to explore. All teachers spend time thinking about the what of the school year - projects, provocations, activities. I have begun to think about what can only be described as School Year's Resolutions (which I have written about before). After taking a year off from classroom teaching, my approach this time around is to be slower and more intentional. What can I do to improve my teaching practice?
I am interested in taking small steps every day, documenting them, and thinking about how those moments add up together. I have some small, manageable daily goals:
Engage With Families.
I am ashamed to admit that there have been times when I did not know a parent's name. I would like to know parents and their other main caregivers and understand family dynamics as well as possible. The family engagement aspect of early childhood has always been challenging for me; in the past I have felt that the explaining is exhausting. Turn it on its head, though, and I have listening to do.
Reflect on my Teaching Practice.
I am a reflective person by nature, and although this has not been a challenge for me, it has been difficult to keep organized. As time goes by, I also see the value in a reflective practice. I'll likely be using Evernote to organize those reflections. I hope to be prepared to record my thoughts anytime they pop into my head (i.e. on the bike ride home, in the middle of the night) so I'll probably use a notebook/digital system.
Take it Easy.
When we see the wonderful possibilities of early childhood, the dark clouds also fly in more often. I am definitely guilty of being overly (and silently) critical of choices that other educators make that I would not have made myself. I'm a bit cynical by nature, and I hope that can take a back seat in the coming months. I hope to be more open-minded about best practices in early childhood, using the moments that are difficult as opportunities to reflect on those instincts.