How are you, or is your approach, different than your favourite teacher? #YourEduStory

My favourite teacher was my Year 5 and 6 teacher Mr D because he was kind, funny and had a genuine interest in me as a person. It is strange, but I forget most of the actual lessons Mr D taught us, but I clearly remember his humour, his smile and the way he would grab the book I was reading to determine its title. It seems true that “at the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

Right from the beginning of the year, Mr D made us feel so comfortable because he was honest and informed us how much he enjoyed teaching and students. He constantly told us jokes and would sing funny songs about our names. We always laughed and had a good time with Mr D.

We never felt rushed with Mr D and no question was ever considered a silly question. Sometimes a session on history would be put on the back burner simply because a student asked a question and Mr D recognised it was a teachable moment that had to be addressed.

Mr D was genuinely interested in each and every one of his students. He would know what I was reading and I remember talking to him about ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. As a student I was shy and Mr D gently provided me with opportunities to be confident. He encouraged me to read excerpts of my novels out loud to the rest of the class during lunch eating times.

Mr D loved to learn. He was taking Japanese lessons and taught us how to sing ‘Heads and shoulders knees and toes’ in Japanese, which I still know how to sing to this day. He loved to read and write and had published his own children’s book.

I aspire to be like Mr D – someone who inspired his students to be life long learners in a fun, safe and caring environment.

How will I make the world a better place? #YourEduStory 2015

I find this question to be pretty tricky. I think everyone has the power to make the world a better place, no matter how big or small the difference. As a teacher, I believe I can try to make the world a better place for instilling a passion for learning and the desire to continuously aim high. Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’

Being in my 4th year of teaching this year, I feel that it is difficult for me to say how exactly I will make the world a better place. It might be a combination of all the small success stories in the classroom that will make the world a better place. I remember a couple of years ago I was teaching a Year 2 boy who absolutely detested reading. During reading groups, he would read a chapter in a few seconds and yell out “finished!” Of course we knew he couldn’t possibly have read a whole chapter in that time. In addition, he dreaded going to the library and with a great deal of persuasion would borrow a book to take home. That year I specifically tried my best to foster a love of reading in all my students – by constantly talking about the books I was currently reading and reading a wide range of books. We read a couple of Roald Dahl’s like The BFG and James and the Giant Peach in addition to the countless picture books and by Term 4, this same boy was the last person to leave the library and I had to pry his fingers off a book to get his attention.

I am also passionate about providing different opportunities for my students to explore their interests and be empathetic. In the past, my students have worked with UNICEF to write a story about refugees and belonging that was made into a book. Many of them informed me that they did not realise how difficult the lives of refugees were before participating in this activity.

I hope I can continue to make the world a better place, no matter how small the change.

Failure is the word! #YourEduStory 2015

So this year I’ve signed myself up for the #YourEduStory Challenge 2015 in an attempt to be more reflective about  my teaching. I feel it can be so easy at times to let each day, week or year pass by without thinking deeply about my successes and failures as a teacher. This challenge encourages me to do exactly that – and I dearly hope I can keep up! I really like the fact there are weekly topics as sometimes I am lost for inspiration on what to write.

What is your “one word” that will inspire you in your classroom or school in 2015?

Failure.

I really love this video on ‘Famous Failures‘ and find it so inspirational to show that success doesn’t come easily or naturally. However, sometimes seeing how successful people are right now makes us forget the hard journey they had to take along the way.

This year I’m going to be teaching a new year level I have never taught before, Year 3/4 and I’m sure there will be many challenges along the way. However, I also know that this new year level presents many opportunities for me and my students to embrace. There are many things I would like to try (and possibly fail at) including coding and gamification. I’m going to use what Sara Blakely‘s father always asked her at the dinner table to inspire me this year, ‘So, what did you fail at today?’

via stockfreeimages © Kianlin

via stockfreeimages © Kianlin