Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blog Post #9

What I Learned this Year

Mr. McClung began his first year of teaching in 2008 in Noel, Missouri. In his post What I've Learned this Year, Mr. McClung shares how he has grown and matured through his first year of teaching. The first thing he learned was how to read the crowd. Too often teacher interns get so focused on the assignment and delivery that they forget the most important aspect which is student comprehension. In any situation of teaching, we must make student comprehension and learning our priority. If the students aren't learning, we are wasting our time and theirs. McClung's second lesson learned goes right along with his first. He learned to be flexible. As a teacher, you try your best to create "perfect" lessons, but sometimes you have to make mistakes to learn how to best teach your students.

In his first year, McClung also learned the importance of communication. He learned that communication is not only vital with his students, but with his fellow teachers as well. Next was to be reasonable and listen to your students. Set goals for your students, but don't be disappointed if they do not surpass every one of them. Do not scold your students, instead encourage them to try again.  Also, listen. I really enjoyed when McClung said, "Listen to your students. You may be the only person that does." You never know what a student may be facing at home or the lack of interest their parents may show. The more interest you show in your students, the more interest they will show in you.

Another important lesson McClung discusses is don't be afraid of technology. He states, " Technology is our friend and is essential to living in the microwave society of today." Adults are often scared of technology, but this day and time we must embrace it. Lastly, he learned to never stop learning. I believe these two go together. Technology is continually changing so we must be continually learning. If we are going to constantly urge our students to learn, we must be willing to learn ourselves.


Three years later Mr. McClung is still writing his reflections and has experienced even more change this year. The first thing he writes of this time is to know who your boss is. It is very important when teaching to make sure your focus is where it needs to be. It is easy to get caught up in people pleasing or administration pleasing, but we must stay focused. The people we should be aiming to please are our students. They are the reason we are there, and we must concentrate on the task at hand. He states that he also learned to not expect others to be as excited about change as you are. Somewhere along the way some teachers loose their excitement for teaching and are no longer willing to even try new things. Do not let them get you down. In your life you will always be surrounded by negative people. Don't allow them to steal your excitement. Along with this, McClung also learned not to be afraid to be an outsider. Sadly, it is not always the popular route to be the positive one excited about change, but again we must focus on who we are aiming to please.

Mr. McClung also learned not to touch the keyboard. This was a lesson he learned from a fellow teacher. I really enjoyed what he had to say about this. He discusses how easy it is for teachers to take over when a student needs help with something. If we work through something for them, then they will not learn the task at hand. It is important to help them figure it out rather than just giving them the answer or doing it for them. Again, we must remember the task at hand is for them to learn, not simply get the answer.

Finally, Mr. McClung touches on what I feel may be some of the best advice he gives. Do not get comfortable. It is easy in any profession to get a bit lazy as we get more comfortable with what we are doing. When something is new, we strive to do our best; however, as time passes we learn what we can do to just get by. As teachers, it is so important that we do whatever we can to keep that drive and challenge ourselves.

The things that Mr. McClung has learned in his first few years of teaching are extremely valuable lessons. Not only is each specific lesson important, but the whole idea of his reflections are something we can learn from. Experience is the best teacher, and these reflections will always remind Mr. McClung of his experiences and the lessons learned.


  1. Courtney,

    Great job on your blog post! I agree, "If the student is not learning we are wasting our time and theirs". I also thought one of the best pieces of advice was not to get comfortable and also to keep learning as a teacher.
    I enjoyed reading your post and learning your opinions. Keep up the good work!

  2. Good job, Courtney! Very thorough post :)
    You are right that "Sadly, it is not always the popular route to be the positive one excited about change, but again we must focus on who we are aiming to please" and that "As teachers, it is so important that we do whatever we can to keep that drive and challenge ourselves". Sometimes we lose sight of what's important or why we wanted to teach in the first place when faced with opposition from teachers, colleagues, or administration. When it becomes harder to do what you know you're supposed to, it is easier to lose our drive and just coast on doing what's "easy" or "popular" to please others. Mr. McClung is a great example of a teacher who strives to challenge himself.
    Keep up the good work!