When I began the Bachelor of Education in September, I was nervous but ready to begin the journey to becoming an educator. As I’ve worked through first and second semester of the program, I can see the valuable experiences and lessons that I have had in practicum, and in class and I feel proud to be at the very beginning of such an important career. Through the many valuable experiences that I have had in practicum to a complete shift to online emergency learning, I’ve come to realize the importance of a few key skills that relate to standards of practice outlined by the OCT as well as key pieces in Timperleys adaptive Expert model. These skills and practices have become integral building blocks that I am using to build the foundation of who I am working towards becoming as an educator.
Being prepared and knowledgeable is crucial to becoming a professional educator. Let us not forget they are also expectations. Being prepared means I know what my students need to learn. It also means that I know who my students are. They will most likely all have varying needs and Knowing this means I can learn where I need to improve my skills and knowledge to best support my students in their learning. This information will also help me decide on how best to assess them and support their collective and individual success. Having a solid plan is key. Although preparing lesson plans may not the most enjoyable activity, it is an integral part of being a professional educator and being prepared for anything further demonstrates my commitment to maintaining professional standards of practice as they relate to promoting student learning.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Now being prepared doesn’t always mean that things will go as planned. Being prepared also means that flexibility and adaptability really come into play at some point during a regular school day. I think that as the year has gone by, I have started to understand that education really is a messy practice and things are not always going to go the way I want them to. All the work that it takes to prepare lessons and unit plans can all be undone in an instant, so having a plan to meet my students needs must be routed in flexibility. It also means I will probably need a plan B, or even C and possibly D too. This is a skill I admire in teachers and its also something that hopefully one day I will be able to master as well.
I always knew that teachers balanced a lot of responsibilities but now, I am starting to understand how much relationships and collaboration are necessary to facilitate communities of ongoing inquiry and dialogue with students as well as with colleagues. I can now see and appreciate that schools are their own little ecosystems where everything is connected, and every piece has value and contributes to the greater success of each individual pieces. I used to think that as a teacher it was how much I knew that would make me successful, but I am starting to let that go a little bit, because as much as I will continue to learn as much as I can Ill never know it all. It is the relationships that I will create that will ultimately make the biggest difference in my classrooms and school community. Creating and preserving relationships should never fall by the wayside as this is what supports safe communities of learning and as we see today those relationships are the glue that holds everything together.
A Final Thought
As we know, with the current pandemic and forced school closures educators have been forced to adapt quite quickly to emergency online learning. Although the pandemic has happened at the tail end of my first year the whole situation has forced me to reflect further on the skills that I mentioned above. Everything is changing in education and when I come back next year, I think its fair to say that there may be a shift that may alter education in this province forever. Although so much is uncertain, there is something I do know and that is that the teacher I wanted to become at the beginning of this year may not end up being the teacher I want to become in the future and I think that’s OK. I’m always going to be working towards being better by doing my hardest to maintain strong standards of practice as well as trying to become an adaptive expert. When the ground beneath my foundation eventually shifts I know that I will do my best to be prepared, I will try to adapt and be flexible and I am committed to working hard on building strong relationships with my students, peers, colleagues and mentors so that the delicate balance of whatever ecosystem still remains, will thrive.