This quarter I learned and completed a lot of work. While I knew logically, starting at the beginning of this quarter, that I would be completing a lot of work, but I didn’t realize I’d be churning out as much work as I did. I just turned in 98 pages worth of work yesterday. I spent so much time and effort working on completing the unit plan, and it kind of ended up surprising me. I’m not a particularly motivated person (I am passionate and motivated about teaching but schoolwork has become tedious to me) so whenever I manage to pull through and complete something that required that much work AND I’m proud of myself for the finished product I feel surprised and happy. The other thing the unit plan taught me is how to create a comprehensive, completed unit plan. I don’t think I would ever create a unit plan like this necessarily in practice, as I help my mentor teacher plan units, and she does not put them together that extensively. I know she considers all of the factors that went into putting the unit plan together, but the amount of work involved writing it down is labor and time intensive. However, I think I will actually create a unit plan similar to this one for an art class, as a way to show administrators what a unit would look like in my classroom.
I also appreciated the book talks. I have read many, many different young adult novels in my life. This project makes me think that I should create a document of all of the books that I think would be potentially viable as a classroom material. I’ll create two lists, one for just book suggestions for students, and ones that would be great to teach. I realized that this would be a great resource to have for my classroom, especially if I kept adding on to it as time passed.
Of the theories that I spent time learning this quarter, I think that the most valuable one was probable learning about standards based grading. That form of grading is the best way to share that students have actually met the standards. I also believe it supports creating flexible curriculum that supports the learner the most. It provides the best system for differentiation for each student.
When I started this course I was unsure about my place as an ELA teacher. I didn’t feel very confident with my relationship with the content, and I certainly didn’t feel very passionate about teaching the subject, something I felt made me a poor choice for a teacher of the English Language Arts. After working on the course material I feel more confident about being certified as an ELA teacher. I realized while working on the unit plan how excited it made me. I loved the idea of teaching that unit, and thought it would be so much fun to teach and learn. It showed me I could be just as enthusiastic about teaching ELA as I am for art. When doing the book talks (and the literature readings for class!) I also remembered just how much I love reading. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the time to just read for fun and I forgot how much I missed it. Although the book talks made my readings technically not just for fun, the freedom to choose what I read and it being a YA novel made it feel like it was and I loved that.