I pride myself on being reflective about my profession. I often think about my students and how to best meet their needs. This happens at home, in the car, and often times, before I start teaching a lesson I already planned. (Of course, reflection during a lesson is one of the keys to making it work!)
I think it’s so important to have a lesson plan and your materials prepared prior to teaching a lesson. However, plans rarely go according to themselves, and the ability to adapt on the fly by understaning where your students are coming from distinguishes great teaching.
Yesterday, I found myself reflecting as I erased the dry erase board after a fairly difficult listening passage. I had noticed most of the students were getting it, but I also knew their festering distaste with test prep was beginning to surface again (even though I purposely broke the routine and tried a new angle at the same kind of work).
So, I reasoned that, even though my upcoming reading lesson was prepared in a certain way, it wasn’t going to work as I originally intended. So I switched things up. The kids have been dying to just read books, so, even though I knew we needed to work through sequencing, I said, “Let’s read a couple of passages and then we’ll get out the books.” This energized them and they did solid work. It also gave me time to administer a reading assessment to one of my students, who wound up blowing the roof off the joint with her beautiful intonation.
We have to be flexible and respond to our students’ needs and wants. We have to reflect on what works for them and listen when they tell us something is too boring or too hard. We have to respect reflection because it benefits the kids, and that’s what matters most.