Is it February 3rd? Have I finally woken up on a new day?
To borrow from Dr. Crissman’s response to last week’s CR post, “it is the end of the beginning,” and now at the end of the semester I have the opportunity to reflect on this beginning – a long beginning of thinking, consideration, and design that will carry over into my future classrooms. It is time to revisit the FOKI Matrix:
I still haven’t taught, I have a disturbing amount of theory oozing out of my every orifice and pores, and I have infinite room for growth. At the beginning of the semester I described this self as my weakest and least developed identity, and it still is. But I have plenty of potential, and next semester I’ll (finally) have the chance to road-test some of the tremendous amount of theory stuffed inside of me like cream inside of a Twinkie (miss you Hostess… come back). At the midterm FOKI I noted that my pedagogy had become a roughly defined shape and less of a blob, and now post-ALP, a half-dozen CCIs, and The Change Project, I have a roughly defined shape with a rainbow of hues. No bold colors or sharp edges yet, but it is a beginning. I have ideas for activities to use in my own classroom and the experiences of having done many activities (for better or worse) myself. Professional self is still my weakest category, but progress has been made, and I’m armed with a nice glob of rainbow pedagogy for next semester.
The first half of the course helped me make huge gains in my knowledge of Young Adult literature. At the midterm FOKI check-in I mused about whether or not YA lit is meant to be taught, or if it is meant to be an escape for the kids to enjoy on their own, outside of the formalities of school and the (traditional) literature classroom. Having done a bookcast and similar multimedia presentations this semester, I’ve decided that while YA lit in the high school classroom may work best on an individual level, there should still be room for students expressing their reactions, thoughts, and ideas about the books they’ve read (YA or not) in a creative format. Rather than talking about what we want kids to get out of books because the canon says X, let’s listen to the kids, let’s let us teach the class and provide their own insights. Literature belongs to the reader, regardless of age. As I get closer to actually teaching, my literate self has morphed from “just a reader” into a person who reads and helps others find the joy and meaning in their own reading – a literature facilitator, if you will.
If anything has been humbling, it has been the slow realization that the task of staying up-to-date and in-the-know for digital tools and technologies requires constant effort; being a Millenial helps with quick adaptation, but nothing can be taken for granted with technology. I have a laundry list of cool tools and ways to integrate them into the classroom, but I know that the list and methods for implementation will continue to grow. Again, this isn’t an endpoint, but the end of the beginning. I have this knowledge and now I need to work with it and constantly seek out new tools and ideas.
A very productive semester, and an excellent beginning to what will be an awesome and effective teaching career. Groundhog Day ends when Bill Murray’s character opens up, falls in love, and finds somebody to share his life with – something he can only do after he’s lived the same day over and over again thousands of times, and used that endless cycle of repetition to develop himself as a caring, supportive, intellectual being. With development in my professional, literate, and virtual selves, I aspire to open up and share this knowledge and excitement with others. It sounds like it is time to put a toe into the classroom…