Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Three Years Under My Belt

I cannot believe my third year of teaching is over, and my first year at Orewa College. I have been on a rollercoaster this year, learning so much about the school culture and curriculum. I felt a little lost throughout the year, but also had substantial support surrounding me with my million questions! I had an end of year appraisal meeting with Adam, my HOD, discussing my strengths and areas I need further development in, in relation to the practising teacher criteria (see full report here). This post identifies some of the key points from our discussion.

My strengths are my lifelong learning, my professional relationships (particularly with my students), my classroom culture and the learning opportunities I provide. To strengthen these PTCs even further, next year I would like to make connections and increase my relationships within the community, and increase my understanding and inclusion of the Ako Orewa learning process (as previously blogged about). From student feedback, such as these comments from my Level 2 class, I feel confident with my classroom environments and hope students continue to feel safe and comfortable in my lessons.

Moving forward, the two PTCs which need the most attention/growth are 1 (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and 5 (Design for learning). Next year I would love to learn more Te Reo Maori concepts, customs and terminology. I feel I naturally use some key phrases such as Morena, Haere Mai and Whakarongo Mai within my practice, but have a lot more to learn about cultural practices of Maori and other cultures within our community. One cultural practice we need to be aware of when teaching sexuality education for example, is that Tongan and Samoan students cannot be in the same lessons as their siblings as it is considered inappropriate. I feel though, I need to learn a substantial amount more about the history, culture and beliefs of our non New Zealand European students.

Therefore, my major 2019 goal is to become more confident in the use of Te Reo, read about tikanga Maori and have professional conversations with the Languages department at school. As a result, I would like to further develop the cultural responsiveness within my classes, to ensure I am inclusive of all students, with a specific focus on Maori. 

An additional goal is to analyse student achievement and student progress more regularly throughout the year, not only at the end of the year. After the Seniors left, I spent time breaking down student results, reflecting on the results, and examining where to go next, but feel I needed to have more discussions with students throughout the year to formatively assess their learning, not only summative assessment. (Once the Senior Health exam results are released in January I plan to write a reflective post on student achievement/results). I feel that can be achieved by shaping the structure within my classroom to allow for small group tutorials, as well as discussions with individuals. This structure will require a lot a trust within my classes, which will come back to how I create relationships with the students. I am grateful to be sharing a Level 3 PE class with Adam, and his strength is structuring his classes to have tutorials and check-ins with the kids, so I will learn plenty alongside him!

Now though, it is time to unwind and have a break, ready to tackle some new challenges next year!