"What I've Learned This Year" by Mr. McClung.
In this post on Mr. McClung's blog he gives a great insight into how his experiences as a first year teacher helped to form his philosophies on being an effective educator.
The first thing Mr. McClung tells about is "How to read the crowd." He says that shifting the focus off one's self and onto the audience is key. Being willing to read the crowd and modify speech and examples to suit the situation at hand rather than the one envisioned by the speaker is key, in my view, to really reaching the audience.
The second point McClung makes is to "be flexible." I have to agree with him on this one. I believe it relates directly to his first point about reading the crowd. Be willing to change directions with the flow of questions. It may lead away from the lesson planned but as long as it stays on topic the conversations between instructor and student make more impact than speaking at the student. To put it more concisely, speak to them, not at them. Any one who has been spoken at knows that it is only a matter of time before interest wanes.
Another great point Mr. McClung makes it to communicate. This is not as easy as it sounds. How people perceive what is said and what is intended by the speaker are not always one in the same. This means, again, speak to and not at people. This is not limited to students but other teachers and administrators as well. I know from experience that a work environment is like a family. The family that communicates well lives in a peaceful productive home.
Mr. McClung also says it is crucial to "be reasonable." What he means by this is goals set that are not always achieved can be modified. And if not modified then attempted again. Teaching students to try and try again with a positive attitude cannot be achieved with scolding. Encouragement and positive reinforcement are the key to responsive students.
He also says: "Don't be afraid of technology." The students in class rooms are almost all frequent and fluent users of technology. Denying them the use of tech in schools is like refusing to tap into a wealth of educational resources. If it is intimidating then go ahead and make some mistakes. After all, isn't trial and error a great teacher?
Mr. McClung's final word of advice is to "listen to students." He says that students know when they matter because they know when they are heard. Feeling that they matter to their teacher can encourage them in their endeavors in the class room.
Mr. McClung is doing something that all teachers need to remember to do. He is learning. He is learning to be a better teacher. He is open to new ideas and in tune with his students in order to fulfill the needs they have of their teacher. Teacher, friend, mentor, these are a few of the things this post shows Mr. McClung to be. What a blessing to his students today and tomorrow.